As a customer, there’s nothing more frustrating than having to wait a week for your order and then to have it delivered to the wrong address! This isn’t great for the company either. You have to pay extra shipping charges and may just have lost a customer.
E-commerce has changed the rules of competition and today to be the top seller, you need to provide the best customer experience. In addition to ensuring that your products are top quality, you must ensure speedy and accurate delivery. This is where address verification can play an important role.
An address verification API ensures that only correct, complete and valid data enters your database. It minimizes the chances of having an incomplete address or an address with invalid information. For example, it can update details to reflect a change in street names or add a pin code. It improves the quality of your data and, in turn, the depth of your customer knowledge. With access to this information, you can improve customer experience by:
1. Showing Only Deliverable Products
Though shopping online is said to be a time-saver, it can be quite a pain for customers to find a great product that fits their budget and go through the checkout process only to realize that it isn’t deliverable to their location. This is an issue faced by retailers who cater to both domestic and international markets.
An address verification API can act as a filter in such cases to show the customer only those products that are deliverable to their location. This makes their shopping experience better and reduces the risk of cart abandonment.
2. Approximate Shipping Times
One and two-day delivery options are a great way to improve the customer’s experience. Let’s say a customer forgets to buy their spouse a birthday gift till the last minute. If they’re shopping online, they want to be assured that their order will be delivered the next morning. They want to see only those products that will be guaranteed to arrive on time.
Similarly, when shopping for the festive season, customers want to be assured that their gifts will be delivered on time. As a retailer, you can give this assurance only if you have the customer’s correct address with all the relevant details. Based on the pin code you can estimate shipping times so that the customer knows when to expect his order. Knowing when their order will be delivered also allows customers to ensure that someone is home to receive the order.
3. Simplify Checkout Processes
A study by the Baymard Institute showed that a long, complicated checkout process is why 21% of customers abandon their shopping cart. This can result in a loss of $18 billion in annual sales revenue. The good news is that optimizing the checkout process can dramatically cut these losses.
Type-ahead address verification is one of the simplest ways to do this. Instead of including multiple fields for the customer to enter his/her address, type-ahead address verification gives them a drop-down list of options to choose from. This improves the speed and accuracy of addresses entered.
Visually speaking, having a single field that allows the customer to enter the address as a single line instead of multiple fields for every component makes the process appear shorter.
4. Minimize The Risk Of Delivery-Related Issues
Assuring quicker and accurate delivery is one of the key reasons to start using an address verification API. Each year, thousands of orders are canceled and revenue is lost only because the order could not be delivered to the customer.
The customer may have made a mistake entering the address, street names may have changed, the pin code may be missing – the reasons for delivery related issues are many. Though in most cases, this may not be the retailer’s fault, the blame is placed on their shoulders. According to a research study in 2019, 84% of customers will not make a repeat purchase after a poor delivery experience.
Address verification minimizes the risks of these issues. Firstly, it verifies and validates the addresses entered against third party databases to ensure that they are correct and in use. If there’s a discrepancy, it is highlighted instantly so that the customer may edit it.
Secondly, it enriches the data being captured. For example, the city may have recently changed street names. In such cases, the address can be updated to reflect the changed details. Thirdly, address verification ensures that complete addresses are captured. It also standardizes addresses.
Having the correct and complete address allows last-mile delivery agents to optimize their routes and be more efficient with their time. As a result, customers get their orders delivered on time and delivery issues are minimized.
5. Protect Customers Against Fraud
As the popularity of online shopping grows, fraudsters find new ways to take advantage of customers and misuse their data. For example, they may use their account to make expensive purchases. The retailer cannot call the customer to check every order but if the delivery address is uncommon and not linked to any of their details on other databases, the verification system may raise a flag. Retailers can then take proactive steps to check the order with the customer before confirming it. This helps build trust in the company and, in turn, boosts loyalty.
A Concluding Note
In the e-commerce age, customer experience is a key differentiator. The chances a customer will return to make a second and third purchase are dependent on the product he receives as well as the service offered in terms of delivery accuracy, etc.
Address verification makes it easier for retailers to improve their customer experience without increasing their overheads. With access to verified and accurate addresses, you can filter products according to location, get a better estimate of delivery timelines and ensure that the product reaches the correct address.
You can also get alerts for potentially fraudulent activities and thus make your platform more trustworthy. If you’re not already using an address verification API, it’s time you start.