It’s that time of year––businesses are busily creating window displays, ramping up advertising, hiring extra help and shelving stock for the most important retail season of the year. But while companies are checking everything twice to ensure a positive guest experience and move as many products as possible, many are leaving out one of the most vital assets they have: address data.
In 2021, American shoppers spent $10.7 billion online on Cyber Monday alone. ECommerce is a huge part of the economy, and most retail stores take advantage of online sales in one way or another. However, not every business is ready for the influx of digital orders sure to materialize during the holiday season.
Online ordering brings with it a huge earning potential, but the often-overlooked detail of address verification can eat into profits. By necessity, businesses rely on their customers to provide their shipping details, and human error is an unfortunate fact of life. Hitting an extra key, misspelling a street name, transposing numbers, forgetting the zip code, repetitive lines, or leaving parts out altogether are just some of the mistakes that can happen as customers are typing their information. The error rate gets even higher when using a mobile device with a small screen and keypad.
The Cost of Bad Addresses
Every single incorrect address that goes on a package costs your bottom line. When an item doesn’t arrive as scheduled, your team has to spend time tracking down the order and figuring out what happened. Packages shipped to the wrong location have to be reshipped, meaning you lose the actual product and the cost of shipping––twice. Even if you are able to track the merchandise and recoup the item, the order may be canceled by a customer who needed it sooner or just gets frustrated. All of this can add up to a significant amount of money, depending on the cost of the item and the delivery method.
This is not a business cost that you have to accept. Instead, a robust address verification tool can help ensure that your holiday orders arrive where and when they are intended to.
What to Look for in an Address Verification Tool
Address verification is a type of software that can integrate seamlessly within your sales funnel, prompting customers to update an address that does not match USPS official records. Paired with an autocomplete function, which gives suggestions based on partial information as the customer types it in, address verification can help lower undeliverable shipping rates and reduce errors by a significant percentage.
The right address verification tool will also include non-postal addresses––valid delivery points not in the USPS database––to maximize the advantage and accuracy. As the busy retail season kicks in, you want a program that is both fast and accurate. Finally, depending on your business model, you may need a tool that includes addresses outside the US. International address verification is an important feature if you ship to multiple countries, particularly since address formats can vary widely in global shipping.
Don’t Forget about Internal Data
Address data does not only come from order forms. Your business has an internal mailing list that comes from past customers, lead magnets, public events, or through purchasing data. This is a hugely valuable resource for any company. You can use addresses to send direct mail advertisements, follow up on inquiries with more information, or comb through the data to learn more about your customer base and make important strategy decisions.
However, if the information is incorrect to begin with, all of these benefits go out the window. Your mailing list could have inaccurate addresses to begin with, or old addresses that are no longer deliverable. Either way, using an address verification system to match your database with real locations is a vital part of doing business.
The holiday season can be a huge boost to a company if it is handled correctly. Door-buster specials and great marketing are important, but all of these efforts can fall flat if, ultimately, purchased products don’t make it to the recipient. Instead of generating massive sales, you may find yourself with disgruntled customers who quickly spread the word about your business.
Spend the time before the gift-buying rush fine-tuning your processes for address verification and ensuring that your internal data is clean and ready to go. If you do this, your customers are sure to put you on the nice list.short url: