Whenever I have to go somewhere I have never been before, I google the address. I do this not only for driving directions but also to use the map to spot nearby landmarks so I can familiarize myself with the general area. Most of the time this is good enough to get me where I want to go without getting (too) lost.
Whenever I need to mail something to an unfamiliar address, I need to go beyond Google Maps to make sure the address is deliverable. For US mailings, I look up the address on USPS.com to get the standard abbreviations and formatting needed for the mailing label. While this approach is fine for my personal use, when working with clients, especially delivery businesses, I advocate the integration of real-time data quality services capable of address validation and address geocoding.
Don’t Zone Out, Pinpoint In
Delivering an online purchase is an example of how, when the online world and the real world collide, you need more than a map to reach your destination. You also need more than a general sense of the customer’s location to convince them to complete an online purchase. Many potential online sales are lost when shoppers abandon their cart because the shipping and handling fees required to complete their order are too high.
Unfortunately, the estimated shipping and handling costs scaring customers off could be way off. This is especially true when, as many websites do by default, shipping and handling costs are estimated by geographic zone (aka zone-based delivery pricing). Pinpointing a customer’s exact location the moment they type their address into an online form enables you to offer delivery rates based on the actual distance between your distribution center and the customer (aka distance-based delivery pricing).
Maps are Good, Accurate Addresses are Better
A good map has its place in helping you find your way. More than a map, however, is required for your mailings to find their way to your customers. For that you require the pinpoint accuracy of a deliverable address.
This blog post is sponsored by Service Objects, the leading provider of real-time contact data quality solutions including name validation and address verification software. Their APIs allow businesses to easily reduce waste and increase data quality by identifying fraudulent records, standardizing and appending contact information, and processing transactions in a more efficient manner.