Apart from customs and regulations, many corporations overlook the hidden thorn in their sides: bad address data. Since high-quality address data is so critical to your global business, it's vital that you choose the right provider to help capture, verify and standardize your customer data.
In this post, we'll take a detailed look at the benefits of address verification, the difficulties behind international addressing, and the five things your address verification provider absolutely must have.
Why Address Verification?
Whether you’re a small business or larger enterprise, a big portion of your responsibility is making sure that your product reaches its destination with no issues. However, poor logistics, bad customer address data, and shipping delays are barriers to achieving that goal. Not to mention, these fulfilment fiascoes can be extremely detrimental to your bottom line. Research shows that poor data quality can cost the U.S. economy approximately $3.1 trillion annually – imagine the cost on a global scale.
Address verification is designed to eliminate any friction in the customer's checkout journey. This software confirms the validity of a customer's address when entered by matching it against their databases.
The benefits of global address lookup should not be underestimated. Let's check out some of the top reasons why a business should consider investing:
Benefits of accurate address data:
- Save costs on returned shipments, failed delivery fees, and chargebacks
- Optimize onboarding, registration, and checkout experiences
- Improved customer satisfaction and loyalty
- Reduce frequency and operational costs of “Where Is My Order” (WISMO) customer support queries
- Enhance data analytics by capturing demographic and location data
- Fuel localized and personalized communications and programs
Why is International Addressing so Difficult?
International eCommerce also saw a considerable amount of growth, with a 21% increase in worldwide sales between January and June last year. With international purchases now accounting for a substantial proportion of customer sales, access to accurate data and proven address verification technology is more critical than ever before.
But is high-quality address data truly that easy to achieve?
To illustrate the complexities of international addressing, let's consider a few of the hurdles:
Variations in Address Structure
Although 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 make it difficult for corporations to launch their business beyond borders – especially in locations where it's harder to reach consumers. These areas can have unnamed roads and unmarked buildings that lead to inaccurate address data collection and low accessibility.
Complex Address Formatting
The vast majority of global addresses look different from one another, making structured verification and address formatting an intricate process. In Japan, people start their addresses by entering their postal code first. 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, address form fields should be presented in the order in which the user is most familiar.
Tailoring your business to your overseas audience can boost your customers' overall customer experience (CX). But, 240+ countries and territories, 3,000+ languages, and 139-character scripts mean that things can get a bit tricky if you don't speak their language. In fact, research shows that 40% of global consumers won't buy in other languages, and 72.4% of consumers prefer to make purchase decisions in their native tongue. Offering to convert your checkout into local formatting shows a commitment to understanding, trust, and a winning CX for consumers abroad.
Choosing Your International Address Verification Provider
Considering the challenges of international address verification, it's time for businesses to reassess whether their current address verification method meets their present-day needs. So, how do you pick the perfect address verification provider that matches your business requirements? To help narrow your search, we've highlighted the top 5 things to seek in an international address provider:
- Access to global data
When selecting an address verification tool, data quality is one of the most important factors to consider – even more so for international businesses. While a provider may host address data that is good enough in their native country, it may not necessarily cover the addresses of your overseas customers. You should be looking for a supplier who has reputable relationships with global data sources, such as Royal Mail, USPS, and Canada Post.
- Geolocation technology
Speedy and convenient fulfilment is a major goal for retailers, but last-mile delivery inefficiencies need to be addressed. Roughly 5 percent of online deliveries don't reach their destination on the first attempt. Imagine that the sender forgot to provide an apartment number. Or, maybe the listed location isn't recognized by the retailer's website. A credible address verification provider will offer a geolocation technology add-on that enables customers to enter their address in one tap no matter where they reside.
- Frequent updates
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. It's critical that you know how frequently your address verification provider updates and refreshes their data.
- Fuzzy matching
Everyone makes mistakes, and your customers are no different. Whether it's swapping two letters or missing a word entirely, typos during data entry are inevitable. To counter this, your address verification provider should support fuzzy matching. This will allow them to identify and correct common typos or errors as a customer inputs their address. Users are able to type the desired address in whatever way is intuitive to them. Fuzzy matching removes the onus on the user to have any pre-knowledge about the destination country's address format or any of the 150+ formats worldwide or to know where the street number has to go. For example, if a user searches German address: “15c uhlandstrasse” instead of “Uhlandstr 15c”, this technology will detect the user's mistake, fix it, and return an accurate match. For the end user, this means they can find their address quicker and easier. For you, this means seamless, error-free address form fills.
If you're an existing or newly-founded international business, communicating with your consumers in their native tongue should be high on the list of priorities. As such, your chosen address verification provider should have the capability to validate customer addresses from all over the world. This is where transliteration comes in. Unlike translation, transliteration gives your business the power to turn an address input into a familiar alphabet. For instance, it can change character sets such as Russian, Arabic, or Chinese to similar-sounding letters in either native or Roman characters while keeping the underlying meaning.
Why Choose Loqate? We are the world's most trusted location intelligence specialist
With customers demanding the most convenient user experience, it has never been more important to ensure your address entry forms are clear, quick, and easy to complete.
Loqate gives firms access to location intelligence technology that makes a real difference. Powered by the most accurate global location data available in the market, Loqate's address autocomplete and validation technology helps over 13,000 clients reach a global audience, reduce failed deliveries, improve conversion rates, and deliver exceptional customer experiences.
Our global API is available in 130 different address formats, 3,000+ languages, and 245 countries and territories. To provide global coverage, our address data is sourced from suppliers, including the United States Postal Service, Canada Post, Australia Post, the U.K.'s Royal Mail, and a host of other best-in-class and official providers.
Interested in finding out how address verification could transform your international business? Chat with one of our address experts today.