By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: Retail catalogue deliverers may soon be paid to collect specific intelligence about households on their delivery route such as the number of pets or a particular property’s need of a paint job, after PMP Limited today introduced technology that will allow retailers and suppliers to target their catalogue promotions more precisely.

The company’s 15,000 ‘walkers’ Australia-wide will soon be equipped with a GPS tracking device connected to a handheld data entry unit, which will allow them to retrieve more information than ever before about catalogue recipients.

Apart from opening the possibility of retail catalogues being targeted at particular households based on information collected by deliverers, PMP could also record the number of ‘no junk mail’ letterboxes on every route to reduce over-printing – a significant cost for retailers.

PMP handles around 50 per cent of the $295 million Australian catalogue distribution market and counts electrical retailers Harvey Norman and Harris Scarfe as clients.

The revamped business model announced today also features automated catalogue collation and GPS tracking of its walkers, which will allow PMP’s distribution centre to know exactly when a delivery route has been completed.

“In short, the new system offers retailers a highly reliable catalogue delivery service, and transparency for retailers in measuring sales outcomes from their direct marketing spend,” said PMP chief executive, Brian Evans.

“Initial support for our model is highly encouraging and bodes well for our strategy to assume leadership for the catalogue and direct marketing delivery market.”

PMP’s new system has attracted the interest of some of the country’s major retailers including Coles Myer, which recently moved its entire catalogue distribution business over to PMP. With its raft of retail brands including Coles, Target, K-Mart, Officeworks and Bi-Lo, Coles Myer alone accounts for 22 per cent of catalogue circulation in Australia.
Harris Scarfe has also signed on with PMP to trial the new model on a small scale in Victoria.

The subject of intelligence collection was broached with Harris Scarfe, but according to Harris Scarfe marketing manager, Brent Hill, there are other major benefits of the system including delivery confirmation from GPS tracking.

“Any extra data would be great, but obviously there’s things like privacy that we have to take into account,” he said.
“I think it (PMP’s new system) is a great leap forward because the problem for us has always been that you want a degree of certainty that our customers are getting the catalogues that we put a lot of time and effort into. Anything that the distributor can do to help us in that respect we are going to be on board with,” said Hill.

PMP claims its database of information will enable retailers to reduce the cost of catalogue printing by being more strategic in when and where they deliver.

The introduction of automatic collation, whereby catalogues from different retailers are sorted into ready-to-deliver packages by a machine rather than the walker, is also expected to reduce the amount of time it takes to get catalogues to market.

The new system is expected to be rolled out in Sydney this September and to the rest of Australia in early 2007.