How to Select an Address Autocomplete Tool

Melissa IN Team | Address Autocomplete | , , ,


This may sound like gibberish but it’s actually the name of a place in New Zealand. Imagine the customer’s plight at having to type it on your order form! Thankfully most city and street names have fewer characters but the spellings can still be quite confusing. Making a spelling mistake when entering addresses is not just frustrating for customers who may get their orders late but also bad for your database. 

Did you know that the rate of human error in data entry can be as high as 5%! What you need to minimize such errors, is an address autocomplete tool.

What Is Address Autocomplete?

Address autocomplete is a feature that suggests possible street addresses as a user types the beginning of the address into a form. This type-ahead search functionality reduces the keystrokes needed when typing an address by up to 80%.

It improves the user experience, simplifies the checkout process and reduces cart abandonment rates. It also standardizes addresses, validates them and makes your database more reliable.

Given the benefits offered, every e-commerce venture and online business needs address autocomplete capabilities in their forms. Let’s look at how to select an address autocomplete tool for your business.

Features That Make An Autocomplete Tool Business-Grade

When you’re comparing address autocomplete APIs, here are a few features to look out for.

  • Rapid response time

One of the reasons to use an address autocomplete tool is faster form submission. To achieve this the tool you choose should respond quickly to keystrokes and should offer appropriate addresses rapidly. Most tools begin listing options with the first keystroke but these are rarely relevant. It could be improved if the tool takes the user’s IP address into account.

  • Integrated address validation

Using the right autocomplete tool can also help improve data quality.

Let’s say a user begins typing out “Apartment 15, March Avenue” but the building has only 10 apartments. The ‘5’ was a typographic error. The autocomplete tool shouldn’t just pick up the apartment building name and suggest options but should flag the entry so that it can be corrected before it enters the database. It should also have a built-in validation system that flags anomalies such as non-deliverable addresses and vacant lots.

  • Global reach

With e-commerce you can reach out to an international audience. Hence, you need to ensure that the address autocomplete tool has a global reach too. If not all countries, it should support at least those countries that your company does business in.

  • Sub-premise level accuracy

When it comes to making deliveries, you need ‘front door’ accuracy. In such cases, the address autocomplete tool must list options with complete secondary unit designators. For example, “462, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai – 400013” is a valid address but this is the address for a building – the Phoenix Mills that houses several corporate offices. Shipping anything to this address would almost certainly result in it coming back since there’s no office or floor number. Thus, the autocomplete tool you choose should have maximum coverage and suggest addresses with complete secondary information. 

  • Standardized formatting

One of the reasons addresses get duplicated in a database is because of the way they are formatted. ‘421, MayFair Apartments’ and ‘Mayfair Apartments 421’ may be the same address but they would be saved twice. Hence, the autocomplete tool must ensure that all the options suggested to the user follow a standardized format.

  • Ease of integration

It would be quite frustrating if you need to redo your website and applications just to be able to embed an address autocomplete tool. Hence, when you compare these tools, choose one with an API interface or prebuilt JavaScript that is easy to integrate into your existing website, app and other interfaces.

  • Cost

While costs should never be the first factor to consider, the tool you choose does need to fit your budget. Address autocomplete tools may use two ways to calculate costs. They could either charge per keystroke during a query or charge a fixed fee on the submission of a selected address. On average, it takes about 10 keystrokes to find an address. Thus, the latter is usually preferable as you will be charged only for completed queries.

Introducing Melissa Address Autocomplete

The Melissa Address Autocomplete tool is ideal for businesses and e-commerce ventures. No matter where your customers may be, it captures their contact information with minimal risk of error and validates the same to maintain a high-quality database. From the customer’s point of view, it smoothens the check-out process and thus reduces the chances of abandoned carts.

Users can search for addresses by typing out street addresses, city names or even a Pin code. What’s more, Melissa Address Autocomplete is available as desktop software as well as a cloud service that makes it easy to integrate.