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Maximizing your Amazon Strategy

From 1P to 3P: What’s Best for Small & Medium Sized Manufacturers?


In March, Amazon gave us a preview of their corporate initiative to consolidate vendors and to enrich the consumer experience. Unfortunately, they shut off orders for many “1P” (Direct) suppliers without as much as a goodbye letter. Since then, Amazon has walked back this decision for many suppliers, however rumors are rife that Phase II is coming.  The old saying “the best defense is a good offense” could not be more appropriate in your relationship with Amazon. Building a strong eCommerce strategy within your entire multi-channel business is vitally important in order to support sustainable growth for years to come. Allowing Amazon to direct your business is not wise or sustainable and probably does not support your corporate goals.

If you are a small to mid-size customer currently selling on Amazon, chances are you will be forced to create a “3P” account (third party account) and start selling as a direct seller within the foreseeable future. This is NOT A BAD thing, in fact just the opposite. Taking control of the supply chain, limiting the customers allowed to sell your products, and protecting your coveted margin is a sound strategy!

Developing a long-term eCommerce strategy takes commitment and ongoing planning, especially if you have been active in the channel for a couple of years. The ability to limit the number of customers within the channel and support channel rules can be difficult when we have been accustomed to “the more customers the better” paradigm. I urge you to stand strong and your patience will be rewarded.  

Highlands eCommerce is a channel advisor that focuses on building a strong multi-channel strategy and understands how to build a profitable and sustainable Amazon marketplace presence.  Sound agreements and channel rules will be the key to your long-term success - not only with Amazon but throughout your entire eCommerce platform.

If you are interested in discussing your eCommerce needs, please feel free to email me at [email protected].

Read how Highlands eCommerce helped one mid-sized manufacturer increase exposure, impressions and sales here


Kristin Stevens 

Vice President, eCommerce


DeAnna Pfeifer Joins Highlands As Territory Sales Manager

April 1, 2019

Highlands announces that DeAnna Pfeifer has joined the Highlands team as Territory Sales Manager. She will be covering the Illinois and Wisconsin markets. Previously, Deanna worked with RB Professional as a Business Development Specialist and Priority Accounts Manager.


“DeAnna brings valuable, high level sales experience in the Business Products and Jan/San industries,” said Mike Douglas, Vice President of Field Sales, Central and West Regions. “Her previous experience, along with a well-earned reputation as one of the top professionals in the marketplace makes her a great addition to the Highlands team.”

Jeff Ballard

Jeff Ballard Joins Highlands As Director, Strategic Accounts

March 11, 2019

Highlands announces that Jeff Ballard has joined the Highlands team as Director, Strategic Accounts. He will be responsible for managing our relationship with Staples. Most recently, Jeff worked with TOPS Office Products.  Previously, Jeff was a merchant at Staples.

Jeff's extensive experience and relationships at Staples will be an excellent addition to the Highlands team,” said Bob O’Gara, CEO. “He already has a clear perspective of both the account and the supplier’s points of view. This will make him a valuable partner to our clients when working with Staples.”

Thelma Ferrara cropped

Thelma Ferrara Joins Highlands As Territory Sales Manager

February 12, 2019

Highlands is happy to announce Thelma Ferrara as the new Territory Sales Manager in the South Florida market. Thelma comes to us with an extensive background in distribution and manufacturing, with a proven track record of high performance and success. 

“We are thrilled to have Thelma on our team,” said June Schmidt, Vice President Field Sales, Northeast and South Regions. “Her experience and background are perfect for the role. Plus, having worked with a Highlands client in the past will allow for a seamless integration into the team, and very quickly she will play a key role in supporting our clients and partners.”   

TonL Blog 1

Change is the Consistent

A metaphysical sit down with VP of Sales for Canada, Tony Laprocina


 “The only constant in life is change.” You’ve probably heard this saying before. Did you know it originated with the philosopher, Heraclitus? In our industry, it’s just as true today as it was in 500 BC.

Vice President of Sales, Tony Laprocina, knows this at his core. He’s worked in the office products industry in Canada for over 20 years. For Highlands, he oversees the field sales team across all of Canada.

What is the major landscape of the Canadian market? “Things are changing,” says Tony. That includes: where product is available in the marketplace, how customers make purchasing decisions, and everything in between. There is a lot of dynamic change.

Staying on top of these changes is critical to his team’s success. “If we do the same things we’ve done in the past and hope that we generate new business, it won’t happen. If we keep evolving, then we succeed.”

Back to Heraclitus. The philosopher, in so many words, hypothesizes: 


Tony encourages his team to be fearless in their approach by staying away from “traditional” sales tactics. He is a lead-by-example kind of guy. He shares best practices with his team from his perspective and insights from his vast experience. He’s a good listener and he subscribes to an open door policy.

Tony brings his listening skills to his accounts. Building relationships with them and engaging in conversations regularly means that he hears where they’re struggling and actively listens for opportunities to be a solution provider.

 “We don’t just set up trainings with free doughnuts and coffee and then forget the follow up. We generate actual business results.” 

Highlands helps clients crack the Canadian marketplace by pioneering for them.

They act as a true partner by providing national coverage and communication across Canada, through one voice, with the right assets, at the right time.

One more philosophic reference: 


Tony says accounts can have 30K+ SKUs and can’t possibly understand the intricacies of each product. The Highlands field sales team are subject matter experts and offer solutions for specific verticals or customer bases. This means the accounts can easily see how the products apply in each environment for their customers.

While Canada is not immune to the changing markets, with people like Tony leading the Canadian sales team, Highlands helps clients by successfully navigating through this dynamic environment.


Read more about our thinking on vertical market positioning here.


Highlands Announces a Partnership with Spangler Candy Company

February 1, 2019

Highlands is now representing Spangler Candy Company in the office, hospitality and multi-family channels. Spangler is a fourth-generation, family-owned, private company founded in 1906. Located in Bryan, Ohio, Spangler is one of the largest lollipop producers in the world and the only major candy cane producer in the United States. Spangler is best known for its Dum-Dums® lollipop brand, which have been used by generations of businesses and institutions to welcome and delight customers.

“Highlands is a great fit for Spangler,” said Jeff Scolnick, Spangler Channel Director, Special Markets.  “Their high-calibre national sales team will drive end-user engagement for Dum-Dums through our existing distribution and reseller network.  Dum-Dums is America’s number one lollipop brand and is proven to increase loyalty in retail environments.”   

 “We’re excited to work with Spangler,” said Shannon Blake, Highlands Senior VP, Strategic Accounts. “Dum-Dums, in particular is a fantastic brand and can help companies provide exceptional in-store customer experiences. Our sales team will have great fun generating significant opportunities for Spangler.” 

For more information on Spangler, please visit
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