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How Does Address Lookup Work?

At A Glance

Address lookups are technical processes that can be done with software. For instance, global eCommerce brands will often use address lookups to streamline or expedite the checkout process or customer onboarding. 

An address lookup will quickly identify whether information is incorrect. With this capability, companies are able to reduce failed deliveries and provide a better customer experience. Address lookups also help with cleaning and maintaining accurate databases.

Address Lookup Overview

Why Validate An Address?

Around the world, businesses are moving at a faster speed than ever before. The digital-first economy has also made it possible for companies to reach customers across the globe.

This expansiveness creates the potential for a range of operational hiccups including shipping errors, lost packages, and even credit card fraud. One way to avoid these problems is to enhance the customer checkout process with address lookup technology.

Using an application programming interface (API), address lookup technology cross-references official government databases for accuracy. So, companies can easily compare what customers are sharing against official records.

With address lookup technology, companies can make subtle yet impactful enhancements to their checkout flows:

  • Populating billing and shipping address fields, based on partial data, to speed up checkout processes
  • Double-checking customer address information for typos, as soon as they enter it
  • Providing immediate details about a location for item pickup or availability
  • Confirming delivery zones

Address lookup technology has wide applications across a business, particularly as a customer base and operations begin to expand internationally.

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How Does Address Lookup Software Work?

One of the challenges of doing business internationally is that there are a multitude of global address formats and alignments. Around the world, countries and territories are continuously changing with new addresses being added every day. 

Behind the scenes, a global data set sits behind the address verification software and aggregates multiple reference data sources into a consistent and reliable single-best-record. As a result, companies have instant access to complete, accurate, and validated addresses globally. The right address lookup solution will curate official postal authority, mapping, geospatial data sources, and other relevant datasets for a region.

Technical Process

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, standardized to a country’s postal requirements.

A typical address search is made up of a series of Find requests, followed by a Retrieve based on the user selection. When an address (containing street number/name, city, state, and ZIP code) is submitted to our API, an address ID is returned.

The address ID should then be passed into the Retrieve service to obtain a fully formatted address. A list of matching addresses are returned, from which the user can select the required address.

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
  • Cross-checking an address for accuracy

With this capability, companies can ensure that their operations can scale along with their global presence and customer base.

Benefits Of Address Lookup Software

Address lookup software results in the following processes being possible to implement within a business:

  • Simplifying the customer onboarding and checkout process
  • Updating company databases with accurate information
  • Identifying typos in addresses that customers share
  • Integrating order management systems with shipping and logistics providers
  • Building longer-term customer insights programs

An address lookup API makes it possible to geocode latitude and longitude data that can point the customer to nearby locations. With reverse geocoding, the app can look up an address based on the customer’s present location.

Types Of Address Lookup

There are 3 address lookup methodologies tailored to different needs and processes in your business. These include:

  • Fuzzy matching. Use an address lookup to check for typos in your address. An address verification API can help detect and correct misspelled, missing, or incorrect information. 

  • Geocoding and reverse geocoding. Assign latitude and longitude coordinates to a geographic location to integrate your checkout flow with mapping capabilities.  Reverse geocoding is the process of assigning a location to a geographic coordinate system.
  • Address standardization. Make sure that your shipping addresses match that region’s official standard. Address validation can help make sure that your system aligns with the needs of local carriers.

Address lookups are valuable for ensuring data quality both in real-time and into the future. These technical processes can help improve your customer databases over the long-term and in-the-moment, as new customers sign up and transact.

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.


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