Major launch for Canada Post’s online marketing platform

Canada Post is beginning one of its largest ever product launches today, with the start of a major publicity campaign for its new online direct marketing platform, known as CentrSource. Developed with Swiss firm CentrSource, the website offers Canadian residents access to localised retail incentives and offers on items ranging from music, movies and electronics to clothing, accessories and health products.

Consumers that browse among the 44,000 coupons, discounts, free trials and other offers currently on the network, tailored to their neighbourhood according to their post code. They can also register their deals to receive email alerts to offers of interest.

Users of the website are also rewarded with loyalty points known as “SourcePoint$” for performing certain actions, such as registering for offers or sharing offers with friends.

The CentrSource site has been operating below the radar since December 24, but now a 14-week multi-channel advertising campaign will open it up to consumers, followed by more sustained marketing process for the rest of the year.

Tim Skelly, director of product development at Canada Post, told Post&Parcel yesterday that the site has already received “phenomenal” response from advertisers, from small businesses up to national brands.

More than 200 advertisers have now signed up to the platform, the company said.

“The one thing we keep hearing back from businesses is that they want to be able to focus on pay-for-performance models, so this fits the bill for that,” Skelly explained.

“And also the targeting component – they want to give their message to whomever they want to be exposed to it, whether they’re trying to limit their exposure to a geographic area, like some small businesses would, or the larger business side it gives you the ability to hive off the country into territories, so you can still target based on where your franchise is.”

With the consumer-facing campaign, Skelly added that he was expecting to attract a lot more interest from advertisers as well, particularly small businesses.

Social buying

The new online direct marketing platform follows on from Canada Post’s previous successful forays into the digital side of communications that have included the Comparison Shopper retail website and the “epost” online bill presentment service.

CentrSource is seen in a similar light to “social buying” websites like Groupon – which now has 35 million users receiving daily coupons – and LivingSource, which now has 10 million users receiving daily marketing emails.

For Canada Post, the new CentrSource service fits into a current focus on diversifying revenues, but the original motivation behind the digital innovation was to respond to the wishes of advertising clients.

Skelly said: “This product sprung from product development from the unaddressed admail service, we had a lot of requests from our customers to give them an online marketing channel that would complement the physical. The timing coincided with Canada Post’s deeper focus on revenue diversification, but the project fits into those categories nicely.”

Part of the evolution of the site in future could see it opening up access to allow organizations like charities and government agencies to make use of the site.

“I just heard this morning that we do have our first not-for-profit coming on board, so the system can certain accommodate any type of information,” Skelly said, adding that the future direction of the site would depend on user feedback.

He said: “We planned for government-type information really to be in the second year of operation, but the first phase really is getting the direct marketing capacity up and running – and then we’ll evolve it from there.”

  • The way in which the postal and express industry is responding to new forms of electronic communications technology is one of the themes under discussion at next month’s major conference in Dubai, PosTech. For more details, click here »

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