Yet, sometimes the overwhelming volume of consumer data collected from countless sources can take us farther and farther away from one single source of truth. Not only that, but between human error, the nuances of global address formatting, and a high rate of data decay, getting a correct address can be an arduous task. These problems are only compounded when dealing with international, hard-to-address cities or rural areas with little to no systematic address system.
Address verification software (AVS) is the only way to overcome these factors and obtain verified address data across the digital landscape, from online forms and checkouts to CRM and third-party logistics databases.
The Challenge of Addressing
The full advantages of address data can be evidenced by the many benefits that accurate, verified data gives to organizations such as lower costs, increased operational efficiency, enhanced data analytics, and improved customer journeys.
But is high-quality address data truly that easy to achieve?
To illustrate the complex nature of verifying addresses, let's consider the various factors that hindering our efforts:
Variations in Address Structure
What makes up an address? While defining functions like zip codes, states, and cities are commonalities in the U.S., parts of an address can differ widely depending on where you are in the world. These variations per country or locale can largely make it difficult for corporations to launch their business beyond borders – especially in locations where it is more challenging to reach consumers.
In some cases, clear-cut segmentation, such as “states” in the U.S. or “provinces” in Canada, does not exist. In others, the concept of streets and house numbers are completely absent. Lightly populated or rural areas can often be made up of unnamed roads and unmarked buildings, leading to inaccurate address data collection, poor identification, and low accessibility.
Consider the diversity found in Puerto Rico street addresses. An estimated 30% of dwellings have no formal address whatsoever, making identifying most locations challenging, even for residents of the island themselves.
To develop a full understanding of global navigation and combat elusive address structure, practices like systematically cleaning and standardizing address data should be adopted.
Complex Address Formatting/Order
When it comes to capturing quality address data, format and order matter just much as understanding any location's structural makeup. For those accustomed to filling out U.S. address forms, entering the unit number followed by the street name plus the apartment number and finished with the state and zip code may seem customary. However, this sequence can easily look different when addressing globally. The vast majority of global addresses look different from one another, making structured verification an intricate process.
In Japan, people start their address by entering their postal code. If the company is in France, they will ask for the building number before the street name, while German forms will ask for the street name first, along with your academic title, as it is an essential part of the address there.
Ideally, data entry forms should match the cultural norms of the place in question. Address form fields should be presented in the order in which the user is most familiar in order to capture comprehensive address data, improve conversions, and increase overall data quality.
Data Maintenance vs. Data Decay
The lifespan of customer and address information is short-lived, with data decaying at 20% per year. This rate of data decay is a heavy burden, especially for countries that maintain different standards of data collection and maintenance when it comes to their address databases.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of people that move every year equates to 14% of the population (or roughly 40 million), and that's only for those we have a record of. In other locations, where local postal services do not update their address systems as often, the number of addresses labeled as undeliverable or invalid are even more significant.
These untracked address fluctuations have a severe impact on the quality of global datasets and, more often than not, can be detrimental to businesses that choose to leverage this data as part of their decisioning processes.
Address Capture and Verification
In order to effectively take advantage of location intelligence and location data advancements, you need to ensure that the data you’re putting into your systems is accurate. If the data quality, vintage and level of completeness is poor, any reporting or engagements generated will be inaccurate and misinformed, ultimately have disastrous impacts on your overall business productivity.
To overcome the complexities of addressing, a reliable address verification API can help collect, verify, and enrich your customer data all over the world. Implementing this intelligent technology will increase the quality of your data – effectively accelerating the checkout experience, decreasing cases of failed deliveries, and increasing the rate of conversion.
Loqate and SAS
At Loqate, we are Location Data Experts so you don’t have to be. Our address verification solutions eliminate any extra burden to the customer journey, removing unnecessary friction during address capture and collection while also ensuring that only accurate, high-quality address data lives in your databases.
Introducing address verification functionality into analytics solutions provides a number of capabilities, including but not limited to:
- Global Address Database – To provide full global coverage, Loqate curates official postal authority, mapping, geospatial data sources, and other relevant data sets for the pertinent locality. Our global data set is built by effectively aggregating reference data from over 240 data sources and suppliers from all over the globe into a consistent and reliable single-best-record.
- Standardize and Format Addresses – After parsing and matching engines discover incomplete or inaccurate data in your contact records, Loqate’s Verify solution enriches it with data from our global databases, for example, adding U.S. County or UK Dependent Locality. Verify also ensures correct and consistent spellings and abbreviations, as per country standards.
- Cleanse and Enrich Your Customer Data – Address verification technology can authenticate data in real-time as well as in batch on the back-end. Maintain your customer databases by standardizing and de-duplicating every customer profile in your CRM. Loqate’s Verify API can also associate latitude and longitude coordinates to any address location for pinpoint precision. This enhances location datasets with the most accurate and up-to-date geospatial information.
Alongside SAS, we're developing different ways to incorporate location data into business dashboards or analytics platforms. Today, you can find Loqate’s technology and data integrated into SAS DataFlux Data Management Studio, with Viya Integrations coming next year. Using SAS’s Dataflux Data Management Studio combined with Loqate technology, these capabilities have the potential to expand insights gained from analytics results and encourage more accurate data-driven decisions.
Location goes beyond just a point on the map. Ultimately, location data is key to providing flexible solutions to many challenges industries face today. Loqate's partnership with SAS will continue working toward expanding its international reach, using location analytics to raise brand awareness and ensuring that every customer can access quality global data.
Through leveraging Loqate’s robust address offerings inside of the SAS environment, we empower our customers to leverage the best address available for consumer and business identification and usage. At SAS we know that not all addresses are equal and, depending on the country of origin, this dictates how address data should be parsed, standardized, and updated to meet each country's unique requirements.
By combining Loqate’s address engines and SAS Quality Knowledge Bases (QKB’s) we take addressing to the next level. SAS’ QKB are the ‘brains’ behind the address engine and have been developed, enhanced, and validated over the last 40 years. The SAS QKB’s are transparent to the user community and can be modified/augmented to meet the needs of our clients. Since these engines are transparent, they provide insight into how the data is being standardized and reconditioned so the downstream users of this data can feel confident that this data is correct for their decisioning functions. In addition, SAS can leverage the characteristics of the data to quickly identify which country address engine the data needs to be aligned to without human intervention. Since we work with data in its natural language, SAS can easily standardize, parse, and correct/validate addresses while maintaining the integrity of the linguistical aspects of the address.
Lifting address validation higher into the transactional stacks will capture and correct valid addresses at the point of entry. This ensures that the address information enters the organization correctly via various real-time systems and promotes the health of this data at the time of creation. When leveraging both real-time and back end (batch) address correction and validation you ensure your address data is correct, consistent, and reliable regardless of source or target environments.
In summary, maintaining and using address data can be a very complex data issue for an organization. However, having a solid addressing solution designed for a global market dissolves the complexities and provides a transparent, insightful, and trusted environment that builds trust in the use of address data throughout the organization.