Why Street Address Validation Is So Important
Melissa IN Team | |
In today’s world where customers don’t always meet the buyers when making a purchase, It’s largely an anonymous experience and brands must rely on the information buyers share about themselves. The trouble is, buyers may knowingly or unknowingly submit false information. Entering the wrong home address can cause many troubles – for example, orders may go undelivered resulting in a poor shopping experience for the customer and financial losses for the retailer. Bad quality data can also affect market analysis and lower the value of data-driven decisions. Let’s take a look at the different aspects of street address validation and their importance.
Verification refers to checking the address entered by an individual against data in a trustworthy database to ensure that it is accurate. For example, if an address lists Apartment number 504, Marina heights, Main street, Pune; the address validation tool will check that an apartment with this number does exist in this building on the street mentioned. If the address exists, it will be marked as valid else, it will be flagged as invalid. It helps minimize typing errors as well as flag invalid addresses entered by fraudsters. For example, a fraudster may enter an address of a building that has been demolished. The verification tool will flag this address and keep it from entering the database.
Addresses contain fields that may change from time to time. For example, the city may change the name of a street or a building may be renamed. Validation involves checking the address to ensure that the data in all the fields is current. If the address mentions an old street name, the entry may be flagged and edited to reflect the current name. This makes deliveries easier and keeps the database current. Validation also looks into typographic errors and corrects the same to improve data quality.
Street addresses have many fields and missing out on any one of them could make the address undeliverable. Completion addresses this aspect. Every address entered in a form is checked to see whether all the fields have been entered. In cases where information is missing, the address may be enhanced. For example, in the above example, the address does not have a pin code. While verifying the address, the pin code may be taken from the reference database and added on to complete this address. Similarly, the floor number, society name or a nearby landmark may be added to an address.
For companies that offer their products and services internationally, the format of an address is as important as ensuring that it is valid and complete. For example, in Australia, an address is written as floor/apartment number followed by the building name. In Germany, addresses are written with the street name first followed by the house number. It may seem like a minor difference but it can make deliveries complicated.
Once an address is verified, the verification tool can standardize address formats according to the local postal format to make it easy to understand and ensure that it is delivered to the intended recipient.
Formatting also looks into reducing the risk of having duplicates in the database. For example, ‘Main Street’ may also be written as ‘Main St.’ By maintaining a single format for the way ‘street’ is written, duplicates are easier to identify and remove.
Many address verification tools also include an auto-complete function. Here, as the user types an address, the system generates possible addresses. Rather than type the entire address, the user can select the appropriate one from the list. Address auto-complete has many advantages. Firstly, the risk of entering an incorrect or incomplete address is greatly reduced. Secondly, the process of entering the street address is simplified. There were fewer clicks required and it’s quicker. This is especially important for addresses that include building or street names with tongue-twister spellings.
Having accurate, verified street addresses is important for companies from compliance with KYC and AML policies aspect as well as for good customer service. It doesn’t matter to a customer that they made a mistake giving you a delivery address. If their order doesn’t reach them on time, they aren’t going to be happy.
Address verification is thus a critical component of maintaining good data quality. It is required not just at the time of customer onboarding but must be carried out on a regular basis. All addresses in the database must be checked from time to time to ensure that they are still valid. For example, a person may move away from the address listed or the name of a building may be changed. With the address verification tools available today, automating this check is easy and you can maintain a more reliable database without too much of a hassle.