At A Glance
Address software is an important part of every digital business’s technology stack. Application programming interfaces (APIs) are widely available to help companies build high-performing tech stacks.
Address software APIs can help with a variety of use cases:
- Making it faster and easier for customers to onboard and check out
- Enriching a company database with additional information
- Fixing typos in data that customers share at checkout
- Integrating with multiple shipping carriers to ensure smooth delivery
- Visualizing data or conducting consumer insights research
Address API Overview
The Importance Of Address Lookup software
There are many different types of APIs for managing address data. Some APIs integrate with shipping carriers, to ensure coordination with order management systems. Other APIs look up addresses to gather additional data about a geographic location.
Around the world, postal carriers have made their APIs publicly available for developers. Before using address software or an API, it is important to define your technical use case upfront. Otherwise, developers run the risk of wasting time using the wrong service.
Address API Use Cases
Address APIs and software exist for a range of technical use cases. APIs are designed to meet a precise need or support an important technical process. Example use cases of address software APIs include:
- Preventing delivery errors
- Improving onboarding and checkout flows
- Detecting instances of fraud
- Collecting demographic data
- Integrating order management and shipping systems
- Planning routes for delivery and fulfillment
- Mapping a geographic area for a third-party application
- Anticipating shipping delays
- Calculating shipping expenses across multiple carriers
How To Use A ZIP Code Lookup API
As an example, a shipping carrier may benefit from having 5 digit zip codes converted into ZIP+4 digit codes for a given address, to improve delivery times.
Attempting to input this information manually would be impossible. Most companies find greater success using an API, such as the ZIP Code Lookup API that the United States Postal Service (USPS) maintains online.
The ZIP Code Lookup API is freely available for the use case of returning ZIP and ZIP+4 codes corresponding to a given address, city, and state. The API processes up to five lookups per request. In-depth documentation is available from the USPS.
Geocoding & Reverse Geocoding
Geocoding is the practice of assigning latitude and longitude coordinates to a geographic location. Reverse geocoding is the opposite process of assigning a location to a geographic coordinate system.
This address verification method is used for visualizing data, augmenting location datasets, and identifying store networks, warehouse locations, events, and other relevant information. Geocoding helps with optimizing deliveries, anticipating real-world risks, and providing insight about locations.
Example API responses include the following:
- Distance and directions between two points
- Latitude and longitude data for a given location
- Names of places
Address Verification API
Address verification APIs check the accuracy of location data. This technology’s use cases are applicable to organizations across industries ranging from eCommerce to gaming, financial services, banking, and shipping.
Address Verification consists of two main API requests: a Find request is used to narrow down a possible list of addresses; and a Retrieve request is used to retrieve a fully formatted address.
A typical address search is made up of a series of Find requests, followed by a Retrieve based on the user selection. Example API calls include:
- Using a text search to find addresses and places
- Retrieving addresses that are within the radius of a specific latitude and longitude point
- Capturing utility codes
- Cross-checking an address for accuracy
The process of standardizing addresses is important for ensuring that different systems communicate with each other. Every postal system requires its own official format. An API can break unstructured address data into its component parts and automatically reformat addresses into the correct output structure.
Address Verification in North America
There are a number of address verification services and API solutions available to meet different business requirements and needs.
When choosing an address verification API, businesses will need to give careful consideration to the types of solutions that they might need. Here are some criteria to evaluate:
- Customer location
- B2B or B2C business model
- Specific operational challenges
- Level of technical capability
- API ease of use
- Data integrity
- Global presence of data centers
The best address verification APIs are easy to use, reliable with dedicated uptime, and tailored to meet specific needs.
Loqate helps businesses around the world verify customer addresses by combining our global datasets with best in class technology. Our easy to integrate API helps our customers verify customer data at the point of capture. Find out more about how Loqate address verification solutions can help your business.