Address verification (also known as address validation) is a method of capturing or cleansing address data. An address can be verified in one of two ways: by capturing an address at the point of entry by the end user or by cleansing, parsing, matching formatting, transliterating and enhancing data in a database against reference data.
Address capture is a tool used to validate addresses by many companies who require their customers to enter address details on their website, CRM, app, HR systems or EPOS. It allows the user to enter their address details quickly and easily, without the frustration that often comes with an address not being found.
The most common types of address verification include drop-down verification, partial verification, post-entry verification and type-ahead verification. There are some important differences between these four types of address verification that are useful to know when deciding what type is right for your website.
Drop-down verification is where the state, county and country fields can be found using a drop-down
With partial verification, a postal code entry populates the city and state or county, while manual entry of the rest of the address is required.
Post-entry verification is where users manually enter an address, then a pop-up shows possible alternatives, with the user required to choose the correct one.
Type-ahead verification is where the user starts typing their address into a single field, and as they type, increasingly accurate suggestions are offered. Clicking on a suggestion returns the full address.
Inline validation is a way of checking the validity of data input and providing feedback before submission. It significantly enhances the usability and UX of forms, and reduces form abandonment rates by providing a quicker way to enter address details. Loqate’s address verification technology can reduce address entry time by up to 78% and cuts back data entry errors at point of capture by more than 20%, all improving the end user experience.
The single line address lookup layout simplifies address forms down to just one field. Typing any part of the address on a single line is quick and simple, and results in address forms occupying less space. Single line address lookup is a more efficient and user-friendly approach to implementing an address look-up, and our UX research shows that users are 2x as likely to find an address and complete using single line versus multi-line.
Traditional postcode lookup
|Lookup UK addresses||Look up UK and international addresses|
|Enter the postcode to search||Enter any part of an address to begin searching|
|Searches from a whole postcode||Allows you to miss out parts of the address or postcode and returns matches, you don’t need to know the postcode|
|Press a single button to display results||Results are displayed as soon as you start searching|
|No filtering options to narrow results||Narrow results further as you type more details of the address|
|Postcode needs to be typed without errors||Type-ahead understands common misspellings|
|Results ordered alpha-numerically||Option to order results by nearest to the user or your operational location|
|Shows all matching addresses for the postcode||Customisable to show only business or residential addresses, not yet built (NYB) premises and multi-residence data (NOTE: this data is not included as standard)|
|You can auto-complete the address form with the selected address||Selected address auto-completes form - you can reduce your address form to a single line|
|Easy to integrate/install||Easy to integrate/install|
|Address data from Royal Mail's PAF® database||Includes address data from Royal Mail's PAF®, USPS and Canada Post|
|As seen on: Oxfam, flybe, and more||As seen on: ASOS, Graze.com, Superdry and more|
For example, an online shopper types it into a form on a checkout, or a person working in a call centre types it into their CRM. Those using address capture from Loqate, can type in any part of the address to start their search, as opposed to just the postal code.
In our case, we work with postal operators such as Royal Mail in the UK and USPS in the United States, as well location suppliers such as TomTom, to maintain a full database of addresses from over 245 countries and territories.
In our case, results are consistently returned within 40 milliseconds. All of our services are delivered via the cloud, meaning you don't have to maintain any address data locally. We only charge for addresses that are retrieved i.e. if a customer does a search but doesn't go on to select any addresses, it won't cost you anything.
Address cleanse - back-end (also known as back-office) address verification, cleansing and enhancement - is an automated solution to correct large volumes of address data, before the data is used for billing, marketing and shipping processes. The verification solution parses, standardises, cleanses and enhances address data to ensure your database contains only clean and valid address data, delivering the most complete and accurate data available.
Implementing back-office address verification helps businesses improve their global data quality and enhance their business capability. It resolves data errors, standardises formats and enhances information.
The benefits of address verification vary depending on the business using the solution, and the strengths and limitations of the solution itself.
From a front-end perspective, one the most common benefits of address verification is that it ensures great data quality, which results in better delivery rates, improved communication with customers and an optimised user experience thanks to faster, smoother data entry in an online form.
The benefits of address verification from a back-office perspective include effectively running loyalty schemes or billing processes, ship products as well as managing logistics and planning for engineering teams who rely on location data for operations.
Data quality is key to the success of any business. Implementing an address verification tool that uses quality data ensures that businesses are able to send communications and packages to the correct address, first time. This is due to the fact that addresses entered into a checkout, registration form or CRM go through a process that includes parsing, matching, formatting and enhancing.
The data Loqate uses to do this is the best possible data for over 245 countries and territories. We cross reference address data from sources such as Royal Mail, USPS, Canada Post and TomTom to provide the most accurate global address data. This increases business efficiency, reduces costs and creates an improved customer experience.
By providing a quicker, frictionless way to enter address details, address verification improves website usability and helps reduce cart and form abandonment. According to Baymard Institute, the average cart abandonment rate is 69.89%. This is an extremely worrying statistic for ecommerce businesses, especially as one third of shoppers state that this is down to long or complicated forms.
However, implementing type-ahead address verification onto a website helps to reduce checkout friction, and allows shoppers or registrants to complete their details much more quickly and easily. This is especially true when the address verification tool is simple and flexible, intuitive, predictive, ensures great data quality and works seamlessly across multiple devices.
There are over 130 different address formats around the world, along with numerous accents and unfamiliar characters. For businesses with international customers, it is vital to ensure data captured and stored in databases is clean and accurate in order to communicate effectively with customers, deliver to the right place first time and create a great UX.
Fuzzy matching is used in computer-assisted translation, and allows for a sentence to be completed even when inaccurate data is entered. When it comes to address verification, the addition of fuzzy matching technology, with self-learning capabilities, helps the end user find and enter valid and accurate international addresses, even when typos and common errors have been entered.
There are 5 types of fuzzy logic that can be used within address verification to account for spelling mistakes, switched letters, missing words and letters, abbreviations or nicknames and missing or extra spaces.
Parsing is the process of analysing the lexicon and content of an address. I.e. breaking down the address into individual components, such as the house name or number, the street name, the postal code, the town or city, etc for global addresses.
In this stage, unstructured, mixed up data is organised using contextual rules into an identifiable address and ensures that erroneous non-address data is eliminated. After this stage, an address can then be validated through a process of unlocking reference data and adding corrections.
Address standardisation is the first stage of verifying an address. It is the process of ensuring an address is formatted correctly, according to its relevant national postal authority, e.g. checking and allows for an address to be corrected, i.e. where there are typos, abbreviations and poor capitalisation. After the process of address standardisation, deduping is then performed in order to eliminate duplicate records within a database.
Not to be confused with translation, address transliteration consists of converting fields or characters from one alphabet to another. While the sounds are replicated phonetically in another language, the meaning is not.
Address verification is used by a wide range of companies across a variety of industries, including retail, ecommerce, fintech and finance, insurance, gaming and hospitality, thanks to the fact that it improves data quality and UX.
For example, flower delivery company Bloom and Wild implemented type-ahead address verification in their online store to capture accurate international address details to improve delivery rates and create a great customer experience.
Insurance company Homelyfe also use address verification on their website to make life easier for people who are looking for an insurance quote.
Back-office address verification is used by the likes of IBM, who since using the solution, have been able to help their customers improve delivery rates, revenues and profits and create a positive customer experience.