Understanding The Cost Of Missed Deliveries To Shippers

Melissa IN Team | Retail | , , ,

Today, anything from a set of spoons and forks to a car can be bought and sold online. Though the products may vary, one fact remains constant – the responsibility of having the order delivered to the customer on time rests squarely on the shoulders of the retailer. Irrespective of whether there’s a delay in delivery because of traffic or because the customer forgot to mention the street name, missed deliveries are a frustrating and expensive affair.

How Do Missed Deliveries Impact Customers?

Almost all of us have been at the receiving end of a missed delivery at some point of time or the other. You’ve waited all day for an important delivery only to be told that it will reach you tomorrow or you’ve been tracking an order and suddenly it seems to be going in the opposite direction! Missed deliveries are frustrating and inconvenient. When it comes to high-value orders, many people actually take the day off on the delivery date so that they can be home to receive the package.

So, when a delivery doesn’t arrive as scheduled, the frustration typically turns into complaints and a loss of goodwill towards the retailer. The customer may leave a negative review and may turn to competitors for future purchases.

How Do Missed Deliveries Impact Businesses?

Understanding the impact of missed deliveries on businesses is slightly more complicated. There are immediate and long-term effects to be considered.

• Increased shipping costs

When a delivery doesn’t go as scheduled, the shipper must instantly reschedule it. This means additional expenses such as fuel. Last-mile delivery within a supply chain costs around 28% of the total transportation costs! Even if the address entered by the customer is wrong, 32% of them expect the retailer to re-route the shipment on their behalf.

This may also have a knock-on effect on other deliveries. Delivery vehicles have a limited capacity and in the case of large, bulky items, the delivery of some other order may need to be rescheduled. This can have a domino effect.

• Lost revenue

According to the Indian Motorcycle Riders Group (IMRG), missed deliveries cost retailers, shippers, and consumers a collective $2 billion a year. In a bid to ease the customer’s frustration and apologize for the inconvenience, many retailers offer a discount on future purchases. This eats into their revenue.

There’s also the risk that the customer will not place an order with the seller again. According to a study, 69% of consumers will not make a second purchase with a retailer if their order is not delivered within 2 days of the promised date. 16% of respondents said that they wouldn’t shop with the retailer again after just a single incorrect delivery. Estimating this loss of revenue is nearly impossible.

• Fall in brand perception

E-commerce has risen to its current popular position because of the convenience it offers in terms of saved time and effort. It has led to a demand for instant gratification and lowered a willingness to compromise.

In an era where product differentiation is extremely difficult, customer experience is what builds a brand. That said, even the most loyal shopper will start looking for alternative service providers if they face missed deliveries on more than one occasion. Nobody wants to spend their time calling customer services.

Thus, missed deliveries affect the way your brand is perceived. Customers don’t really care about whose fault it is and cannot differentiate between the service offered by the retailer and the shipper. A survey reported that 73.6% of customers felt that delivery is the most important part of their overall shopping experience. They will be quick to leave a negative review and even if the product is excellent, when they talk of it, they will mention how the delivery was delayed. This drop in perception can keep other potential customers from shopping with your brand.

• Increased carbon footprint

Environmental concerns are an indirect effect of missed deliveries. Getting your delivery agents to drive down to a customer’s address again means extra fuel usage and higher greenhouse emissions. Estimating around 1 billion missed deliveries annually puts the amount of carbon released due to this at around 3,742 metric tons. This is the amount of carbon it would have taken 9000 trees 58-years to sequester.

Today, all brands big and small are talking about the steps they’re taking to reduce their carbon footprint. However, these greenhouse gas emissions negate their hard work and can once again affect how the brand is perceived.

How Can Shippers Minimize Missed Deliveries

It would be impractical to suggest that a brand can achieve 100% delivery success. Many causes of missed deliveries are out of your control. For example, you can’t fight storms and natural calamities. With advancements in GPS technology, traffic can be navigated and delivery routes can be optimized but only to an extent. That said, there’s still plenty that can be done to improve last-mile shipping.

One of the most important steps towards minimizing missed deliveries is to validate customer addresses and contact details when they are being collected. There are a number of data cleaning and enrichment software that can help do this.

When the customer enters his/her address, the address must be compared to data from reliable third-party databases to ensure that it is correct. Missed details such as pin codes can be added on to enrich the data and make last-mile delivery easier. There may be instances where the address entered is correct but elements are outdated. For example, the city may have changed a street name but the customer may have still entered the old street name. In such cases, you need to enrich the data with updated details.

The Bottom Line

Having a reliable database with correct, current addresses will show you instant results in terms of fewer missed deliveries. That’s not all, having reliable data also helps with your marketing ventures and helps make intelligent business decisions. The bottom line- don’t let missed deliveries become missed opportunities.

Schedule your demo today, to learn more about avoiding missed deliveries with Melissa.

5 Ways Address Verification Helps Improve the E-commerce Customer Experience

Melissa AU Team | Ecommerce | , , ,

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.

Why Address Autocomplete Is So Crucial For Ecommerce Sites

Melissa IN Team | Address Autocomplete, India | , , ,

Whether you sell everyday goods, luxury brands or niche art supplies, setting up an e-commerce website is no longer optional – it’s critical to your success. That said, simply having a website isn’t enough. Your website must be easy to navigate, let you onboard customers quickly and yet give you all the information needed to deliver the product to your customers. This is where having an address autocomplete function becomes useful.

You need an accurate address to be able to deliver your products to the customers. If the address is incomplete or wrong, your costs will increase as the delivery agent will charge you for a round trip, your customer will be dissatisfied and your brand reputation will suffer. Your only fault – you didn’t check the address. Checking every address manually is next to impossible but with address verification and autocomplete tools, the process becomes possible and much simpler. Here’s how.

  1. It Makes The Onboarding Process Faster

The first time a customer places an order on your e-commerce website, they need to enter a number of personal details like their names, address and phone number. Some addresses can be quite long and entering them can be frustrating. It doesn’t help if the form has multiple address fields. According to a survey, 39% of all mobile users abandon their shopping carts because they find it difficult to enter their personal information.

With an address autocomplete tool, when the customer starts typing their address, the software automatically generates the rest of the address by referring to reliable third party databases. The customer can choose the accurate address from the list and have it automatically entered into the correct fields. As a result, the onboarding process is much faster and customers are happier.

  1. It Reduces Manual Errors

Everyone can make mistakes. Typing the apartment number as 132 instead of 123 may seem like a small mistake but it means that their order cannot be delivered. If the customer realizes the mistake at the time of entering details, he has to retype the address. This may discourage him and make him abandon the cart. Similarly, let’s say the customer does not know their pin code and leaves the field blank. This again would make it harder for you to deliver their order. Another case – the city may change the name of a street but the customer may enter the old name.

An address autocomplete function reduces the chances of such errors. It ensures that addresses are entered correctly and completely. The autocomplete tool even takes into consideration updates to city addresses such as new street names and gives you the most up-to-date addresses. This ensures that your database stays clean.

  1. It Minimizes Delivery Issues

One of the immediate effects of having incorrect and incomplete addresses in your database is that you face trouble making deliveries. Firstly, you cannot ensure that the customer’s address is reachable. This means that you may realize that the customer lives outside your delivery zone only much later – after he’s finished making payments. Most e-commerce websites do not charge a delivery fee or charge a minimal fee for this service. However, the actual delivery charge is usually higher. When you send out an order to the wrong address, the delivery agent will add a charge to your bill even though the order was not delivered. Once you get the correct address, the order will have to be resent. Thus, you will incur double delivery charges.

Using the address autocomplete tool helps ensure that orders are delivered correctly the first time around. Thus, you are saved from unnecessary costs. This, in turn, helps you maintain your budget and profit margins.

  1. It Protects You From Fraud

While some customers make unintentional errors while entering their personal details, cybercriminals intentionally enter wrong details while creating accounts so as to impersonate others. If they succeed in doing this, they may use your website to steal an innocent person’s identity and commit fraud. This results in losses for you and damages your reputation. But, if you were to verify and validate addresses before entering them into your system, you could protect the company and your customers from such types of fraud.

A Final Word

In today’s world where building an e-commerce website is quick and easy, the competition is constantly growing. Fighting the competition by lowering price points is not sustainable in the long run. Even the most unique product you manufacture will be copied in time. Thus, if you want your customers to stay loyal to you, you need to offer them the best customer experience. By using an address autocomplete tool, you can make the process quicker; reduce the effort required from the customer and get accurate, reliable information for your database. It’s a win-win situation for everyone!

[WEBINAR] Reduce Delivery Costs in Dynamics CRM

Cassidy Littleton | Address Verification, CRM, Express Entry, Geocoding | , , ,

Address accuracy is critical for companies that need to ensure shipments reach the right destination or to direct consumers to locations for pickup, drop-offs, repairs or other business reasons.

For companies using Microsoft Dynamics 365 (CRM) to store addresses (accounts, customers, contacts, etc.) without the Field Service app, there is no way to make sure addresses are accurate. Incomplete or incorrect addresses result in unnecessary and burdensome costs to a business when shipments are sent to the wrong location or returned to sender, and drivers waste time and fuel going to locations that don’t exist.

SharmXRM’s Address Validation for Dynamics 365 uses Melissa’s best-of-breed data quality APIs to prevent address errors and associated costs. This lightweight and easily configurable add-on for Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides out-of-the-box address autocompletion, global address verification and precise geocoding.

In this webinar, we will discuss: 

  • What Melissa APIs are available (Global Express Entry, Global Address Verification, Personator Consumer) and their unique benefits
  • How to install and easily configure the APIs
  • How to configure your entities and fields for address verification
  • How the interface works and what the user experience is for Dynamics

Join us on Wednesday, 16 September 2020 at 11a PST for the webinar “Reduce Delivery Costs with Address Verification in Dynamics CRM”.

Register Here!

What Is A Postal Code And Why Is It Important For Address Verification And Validation?

Melissa IN Team | Address Verification | , , , ,

Did you know that Aurangabad in Maharashtra shares its name with a city in Bihar? Similarly, ‘Pune’ is the name of a city as well as a district in Maharashtra. There are many other cities and districts across India that share names. Cities share names internationally too. There’s a city called Kochi in Kerala and one in Japan. Almost every state in the USA has a community called Springfield. So, how does the postal system ensure your letters and couriers are delivered to the right address – through the postal code system.

What is the Postal Code?

A postal code refers to a system wherein a country is mapped out by a series of unique numbers. Each country has its own postal code system. Addresses in the USA are coded by a 5+4 digit postal code while in the UK, postal codes are a combination of 5 to 7 alphabets and numbers.

In India, the postal code system was introduced in 1972 to simplify mail delivery and eliminate confusion over incorrect addresses. Here, the Postal Index Number(PIN) code has 6 digits. The first digit refers to one of the 9 PIN regions the country is divided into. Of these 8 refers to geographical regions while the 9th is reserved for the Army Postal Service. The second digit refers to the state or sub-region and the third digit refers to the revenue district. The next three digits correspond with the final delivery post offices.

The pin code for Aurangabad in Maharashtra is 431001 while the pin code for Aurangabad in Bihar is 824101. Thus, while cities may share names, no two cities have the same postal code.

Importance of Postal Codes for Businesses

The obvious advantage of having customer addresses with valid postal codes is ensuring that mail and shipments reach the customer without any delays. It also optimizes costs by reducing the chances of courier agents having to return shipments because of failed deliveries.

However, the role of postal codes is not limited to ensuring your post reaches its intended destination. Postal codes are important social identifiers. For example, it can differentiate between rural and urban areas. When it comes to business decisions such as where to open a new store, where to launch services, etc., postal codes play an important role. Let’s say, most of a company’s leads are from a particular postal code. If the brand does not have an outlet in that region, they may decide to open a store in the area to cater to these customers.

Imagine the effects of taking a decision based on wrong postal codes. Instead of opening a new store in city A, the company may open a store in city B which does not have the same demand for their products and services.

Postal Codes and Address Verification

Addresses are an important part of consumer identities and hence, brands must maintain clean, updated address databases for all their customers. The postal code is an important part of this. Here’s how it can help verify addresses.

• Correct errors
Your customer is human and may make a mistake when entering his/ her address. They may spell their city wrong. For example, they may make a typographic error and write ‘Pairs’ instead of ‘Paris’. The postal code can correct such errors and ensure the address in your database is deliverable. This also ensures that bad data does not enter your system.
• Standardize address entries
Similarly, many cities have changed the spelling of their name over the years. For example, ‘Pune’ was earlier spelled as ‘Poona’. By matching postal codes, such details can be standardized according to the local format.
• Complete addresses
Let’s say a customer forgets to enter the state when submitting her/ her address. The postal code can be used to fill in these blanks and complete the customer’s address in the company database. Having the complete address ensures that deliveries can be made on time and boosts customer satisfaction levels.
• Verify Deliverability
Mistaking a single digit in a postal code can make a big difference in deliverability. For example, let’s say, your company makes deliveries only in Delhi. All Delhi PIN codes start with ‘11’. Hence if a customer enters a pin code as 123456 you will instantly know that the address does not fall in your delivery zone. This builds transparency in your system.
• Translate addresses from regional to English
A customer’s postal code tells you not only which state, district and city the customer is in, but also, which part of the city. This is a wealth of information that becomes important when translating addresses from regional languages to English.
• Filter fake accounts
Fake accounts that place fraudulent orders can be detrimental to a company’s profit margins and make their data unreliable. Thus, it is important to verify customer details at every stage. One of the ways fake addresses can be identified is by mismatched postal codes or postal codes that contain special characters. For example, a postal code may be entered as 45**** or 45*+02.
• Comply with regulations
When it comes to storing customer information, companies must comply with a number of stringent regulations. Failure to do so can put them at risk of legal trouble. Verifying and validating postal codes helps organizations ensure that their database has authentic information and thus complies with legal regulations.

Address verification solutions work by comparing postal codes and other address fields with reliable databases such as the government driving license database, etc. Data matching is used to identify errors, make corrections and complete incomplete addresses. It can also help with updating addresses when street names, etc. are changed.
In short, validating postal codes ensures that your company databases are clean, updated and error-free. It’s important to note though that this is not a one-time effort. To stay current, address verification must be made a part of regular procedures.