SINGAPORE - An effective market place that enables buyers and sellers to find each other easily - this is what SPH's Classified ads section aims to be as it re-invents itself.
With effect from May 17, it will no longer call itself Cats Classified. Instead, it will adopt its host newspaper's identity and be simply known as The Straits Times Classified, The New Paper Classified, Lianhe Zaobao Classified or Berita Harian Klassified. Each will carry listings and features that appeal most to readers of that particular newspaper.
To serve readers better, special ad features will be introduced thematically so they can find what they want or need more efficiently. For instance, there will be a Home Improvement section where would-be home buyers can find attractive offers on related products and services from furnishing and renovation loans to household appliances and fire insurance. Similarly, a Car Care section will help vehicle owners and buyers to shop for accessories and a Travel Planner to help families plan their holidays.
Mr Tan Ooi Boon, Head of SPH's Print Classified department, said: "Our readers who are looking to buy a flat or a house will also be interested in attractive loans, insurance packages, interior designing services and so on. Our aim is to bring related products and services together so that readers can find what they want in a breeze. In short, we hope to become a one-stop complete market place."
There will also be regular columns and features offering readers new shopping ideas and tips on various subjects ranging from lifestyle choices to hobbies and services. For job seekers, the new Recruit section will feature tips on how to do better at work as well as success stories of Top Guns in the corporate world to inspire readers to move up in their career.
To round it all up, a new Classified Concierge Service will also be launched later this month to help readers who cannot find what they want in the Classified section.
"We in SPH have a huge database of advertisers. Readers who can't seem to locate what they want can always ring or email us and we will do our best to connect them to the right seller," said Mr Tan.
Media buyers and advertisers have seen some of these new initiatives taking shape in stages in the past couple of months which culminated in its launch. They say the changes reflect SPH's commitment to reviewing and improving its products to meet consumer demands.
Mr Sony Wong, Chief Executive Officer of the Omnicom Media Group, said: "The changes in the SPH Classified have been significant over the last few months. More importantly, the new energy demonstrated by the team in areas of creativity and innovation, has been positively noted and well received, by the agency as well as many clients. I look forward to more new ideas and a new way of doing business with Classified in the immediate future."
Mr Edwin Koh, Far East Organisation's Head of Corporate Affairs, said: "The Straits Times' Classifieds platform has been a long standing and effective channel through which we have been able to reach our customers, providing visibility for our diverse real estate products - residential, commercial, retail, industrial properties or medical suites for sale or lease. We welcome the improvements to this platform and look forward to participating in this vibrant marketplace to better connect with our customers, as well as to more exciting offerings that add value to consumers and advertisers."
Mr Jack Chua, the Chief Executive Officer of ERA Singapore, said realtors like him would welcome the launch of the new marketplace to target home buyers. "By packaging comprehensive products and services under one umbrella, home sellers and buyers will appreciate the convenience of easy access to home-related information and services for all their home needs. From the advertisers' point of view, the one-stop section offers a focused and targeted reach, making it an effective advertising media to reach out to the right readers at the right place."
The new review columns on tours had caught the attention of readers who have been writing in to give positive feedback to Classified.
Mr Perry Neo, Chairman of Dynasty Travel, said: "Together with SPH's Classified team, we are able to share the stories of Dynasty Travel and reach out to our target market more effectively and sharing the same vision as our SPH partnership in pursuit of growth, expansion and excellence and staying ahead in the travel industry."
Ms Shirley Wong, Deputy General Manager, Human Resource, Metropolitan YMCA Singapore said: "The revamped Straits Times Recruit understands the needs of our industry with insightful and updated editorial contents, through which, has enabled us to attract ardent individuals to join us. Its regular thematic feature offers the public a comprehensive overview of an industry, making it a good platform for advertising and publicity."