Data Quality


What is data quality?

Data quality is one of the most vital factors for the success of any business. Quality data leads to effective communication with customers, improved decision making, positive brand reputation, an increase in efficiency and an increased success rate in product and service delivery.

But, what exactly is data quality? Well, put simply, it refers to a dataset’s ability to serve a specific purpose in a particular context. For example, if you have a database full of valid and accurate customer addresses, you have good data quality that means you can communicate effectively with these customers.

Conversely, poor data quality is where your data is inaccurate and means that you have issues delivering products, services and communications to your customers. This can be a consequence of errors being entered during the address entry part of the checkout and can be extremely costly for retailers in many ways.

Why is data quality important for your business?

According to Forrester, insight-driven businesses are growing at an average of more than 30% annually, and in a recent Loqate study, Fixing Failed Deliveries, we discovered that 66% of retailers say the accuracy of address details is critical to their business. Below are just some of the reasons why data quality is so important.

How does data quality affect your bottom line?

Bad data can have serious impacts on a company’s finances. In fact, in our report Fixing Failed Deliveries, we spoke to over 300 retailers across the UK, US and Germany, and found that 65% of them say failed or late deliveries are a significant cost to their business. This is unsurprising when we consider that the average cost of a failed delivery is €14.87 ($17.78). Considering that one in 20 online orders are not delivered on the first attempt, this is costly business for businesses.

We also discovered that even if a failed delivery was actually down to the courier, 78% of consumers still expect the retailer to resolve the issue, and over half of retailers (54%) will refund the delivery charges while the same percentage pay additional costs for redelivery and 38% offer a discount as an apology.

How does data quality damage brand reputation?

Financial costs are an issue when it comes to poor quality data, but are not the only issue that companies are faced with. Another major outcome of poor data quality is the damage caused to a brand’s reputation.

If businesses fail to capture accurate address data in the checkout, the chances of an item reaching the correct recipient is greatly reduced. And this leads to a very frustrating customer experience.

In fact, in our report Fixing Failed Deliveries also found that 57% of shoppers would be reluctant to use a retailer again if their item did not arrive on time. 

Moreover, according to the report Location Intelligence Drives Competitive Edge In the Digital Age, 40% of respondents in the hospitality sector believe that location intelligence is key to improving brand reputation.

What is the customer impact of inaccurate data capture?

When looking into the impact on consumers, we found that 62% of online shoppers have experienced a delivery issue in the past 12 months. After experiencing a failed delivery, we found that 78% of consumers expect the retailer to resolve the issue, even if the courier is to blame, and 57% said they wouldn’t shop with a retailer again if they used a courier they didn’t trust.



The 1-10-100 rule

A great rule for businesses to use when assessing the impact of dirty data is the 1-10-100 rule. This looks at the increasing amount that poor data has on your business the longer you leave it.

In the first phase, $1 relates to the amount it costs to verify at the point of capture, and is the quickest, cheapest and most effective way of capturing accurate data. In the second phase, $10 represents the amount of money businesses will pay the longer they leave it. $100 is the figure used to represent the amount of money a business will spend if they make no effort to clean their data.



Why should businesses improve data quality?

Simplifying data entry  

A recurring theme surrounding businesses in the digital age is that online consumers have less and less tolerance for long and frustrating user experiences. However, reducing frustration and creating the best possible user experience is a challenge that businesses continue to face.

Data verification tools are extremely beneficial when it comes to reducing friction and ensuring the data you are capturing is clean and accurate. Here are some of the most common types that will help simplify data entry.

Consumers want a quick and stress-free experience, but according to our research, approximately one third of shoppers have experienced issues when entering details in the online checkout - a definite cause for frustration.

Of the shoppers we spoke to, 42% said they would abandon the checkout if they experienced an issue entering their details. More than one third would go to a competitor’s site to complete the transaction.

Interestingly, over half of consumers explained that they would feel more confident ordering an item through a company that uses technology to suggest the correct address, which shows the importance of ensuring the best possible UX.

International address data  

For companies looking to go global, it is vital to research and prepare as this will help them reach international customers. It's important to consider that there are  

  • over 240 countries and territories,  
  • more than 120 address formats  
  • thousands of languages and dialects  
  • more than 40 personal name formats

When it comes to data, there isn't a one-size fits all approach to ensuring accuracy. However, it is essential to find the right tools that can help your business save money by capturing accurate data at the point of capture rather than spending a lot more trying to clean data further down the line.

While there are many types of address verification tools, type-ahead address verification makes it quick and easy for users to search and complete their a full address in just a few keystrokes, making the process of entering an address into an online form much quicker and smoother. It also ensures that data that is captured is valid and accurate. 

Phone numbers

It isn’t only inaccurate address data that can cause issues. What about incorrect phone numbers? If a customer enters an incorrect phone number while entering their details online and tells you that they want to be contacted by phone, what are you going do? Fat fingers are often the cause for typos and mistakes on online forms, but this can be avoided by implementing phone verification.

Selecting a phone verification tool that goes beyond checking the length of a number, but rather checks the validity of the number and whether it can receive incoming calls and SMS messages is vital. If an invalid number is entered onto your forms, a silent ping will occur to inform the user that they need to enter a valid number.

Email addresses  

The same also goes for email addresses. Contacting customers via email is essential for many businesses, and can be useful when sending consumers receipts, confirmations, marketing messages and much more. However, if a user enters an invalid email address, without an effective email verification tool that can ensure users are informed when they enter an invalid email address and asked to re-enter, any attempt to make contact with the consumer via this method will be fruitless, and important information may be missed.