At a Glance
eCommerce fulfillment is a challenge. There’s a need for increased coordination between businesses, customers, and shipping carriers.
One way to anticipate and avoid problems is to optimize the delivery options available to your customers.
Post Office (PO) Box
A PO Box, also known as a postal box, is a locked compartment that a business or person can lease. It is used to receive mail. Different PO Box sizes are available depending on the lessee’s needs.
Postal boxes are available worldwide, on every continent, for different use cases. To learn about PO Boxes in the United States, visit the United States Postal Service (USPS) website. Canada Post and Royal Mail also offer Postal Box rental services. PO Boxes are also available from UPS and FedEx.
The physical address for a PO Box is not the home or business location for the recipient. Mail is located and stored at a postal facility where there are many Boxes. The Box number (#) specified in a mailing’s address, either on the first or second line of an address, corresponds to a specific lessee.
In some cases, a parcel may not be deliverable to a PO Box due to the nature of the item or constraints of the space. It is important for businesses to anticipate whether mailings will be undeliverable to these destinations.
PO Boxes require long-term rental agreements and are bound by terms and conditions.
One-time use lockers are available from private companies. For example, Amazon offers a service, Amazon Locker, as a destination for people to pick up and return their items.
Shoppers can select locker destinations when they specify their shipping locations. Lockers are available in more than 900 cities across the United States. Recipients have 3 days to pick up their items. The lockers operate with a touchscreen and temporary code.
Unlike a PO Box, temporary lockers do not require a rental agreement and are short-term solutions for picking up items. Like a PO Box, some mailings may be undeliverable to lockers due to space constraints.
Site to Store Delivery
Your customers may prefer to pick up an item from your store. There are several reasons why. For one, shoppers may be looking to make an immediate purchase. In addition, stores may have inventory available on-site. Rather than waiting for an item to ship from a distribution center, the customer may prefer to save time and go get it.
Beyond the convenience, site to store delivery makes sense in locations where last-mile delivery options are challenging due to natural disasters, pandemic outbreaks, and other local situations. Site to store pickup can also help businesses avoid public health and safety risks.
Avoiding Failed Deliveries
Postal carriers rely on well-defined addressing systems to ensure that mail reaches its correct destination across this supply chain network.
According to research from Loqate, 80% of failed retail deliveries are due to errors made by shoppers. This is due to the fact that they enter incorrect address data in the checkout – perhaps because they are in a hurry, not concentrating properly or just making a simple typo.
For businesses that reach customers in North America, returned mail is a multi-billion dollar problem. Many of these delivery failures are preventable.
It’s common for the following issues to arise when customers share their billing and delivery information:
- Incomplete information - Missing street names, block numbers, or zip codes
- Invalid information - Fake addresses and zip codes
- Incorrect information - Wrong addresses or house numbers, typos, misspellings, formatting of abbreviations (i.e. CAL instead of CA for California)
These errors create difficulties for delivering parcels and may result in returned packages due to postal carriers being unable to locate a destination. Customers experience shipping delays and businesses must absorb the costs of these errors, as a result.
Address validation, also known as address verification, is a technique for cross-referencing postal information with an official dataset in order to check the accuracy of information before you send mail or packages. There are a number of address verification services and API solutions available to meet different business requirements and needs.
Successful address verification strategies support higher level business goals such as error reduction, database enrichment, and delivery speed. With fewer delivery failures, businesses can run at maximum efficiency.
Address standardization is the process of recording addresses correctly and converting information into a country’s official requirements. This capability improves shipping and delivery processes. Companies can standardize addresses using software, which parses through text to extract and assemble relevant information for billing and shipping.
Across the 245 countries and territories in the world, there are more than 130 different address formats. It is impossible for global eCommerce companies to manage these differences — and reach customers across these geographies — without the assistance of technology.
Address standardization also helps businesses keep up with population growth, urbanization, and new construction taking place, as a result. In the United States, as an example, the Postal Service (USPS) adds 4,221 addresses to its delivery network every day. By standardizing addresses, businesses can ensure that information — regarding site to store pickup instructions, for instance — remain accurate.
Address standardization and verification are important components to any businesses serving an international audience.
Loqate have put together a whitepaper which investigated the far-reaching impacts of failed deliveries for retailers and consumers. Download your copy of our Fixing Failing Deliveries whitepaper here.
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.