Address Validation 101

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Let’s take a deep dive into the capabilities of some of our most popular products. It is only fitting that we start with the product that started it all at Service Objects more than two decades ago – our flagship DOTS Address Validation product suite, including Address Validation – US, Address Validation – Canada, and Address Validation – International.

What does it do?

In an ideal world, addresses would always be correct. In reality, however, many of these will be incorrect. Information gets mistyped by your customers or team members, fraudulent addresses get submitted, people change jobs, and in the US alone, there are over 3 million moves per year. According to a 2015 study by the Data Quality Index, up to 40% of marketing leads have bad or incomplete data.

Each Address Validation product puts the power of the world’s postal systems – including USPS and Canada Post – right in your contact data applications. We link directly to continually updated postal address data to make sure that your addresses are accurate, genuine, and up-to-date.

You provide us with contact mailing addresses used in your business, such as leads, prospects, or customers. In milliseconds, our products then validate, correct and append addresses to provide deliverability and compliance with postal standards. For example:

  • Using up-to-date postal data, such as our CASS-certified interface with the United States Postal Service, to validate an address as accurate and deliverable.
  • Correcting many common spelling and syntax errors – such as changing “Snta Bbara” to the correct “Santa Barbara” or correcting a street name – to make a mistyped address accurate.
  • Appending missing data such as ZIP or ZIP+4 codes in the US, or Canadian postal codes.
  • Formatting addresses in the correct format required by postal or delivery services, for over 250 countries.

Like most Service Objects products, Address Validation is generally implemented using API interfaces that connect with most popular business automation platforms, such as CRM, ecommerce, marketing and ERPs. This gives you near real-time validation of addresses at the point of data entry, for all of your contact data touch points. In addition, batch processing options are also available for cleaning and updating existing address databases.

How is it used?

There are many mission-critical business applications for address validation. Some of the more common ones that we see among our own customers include:

Ensuring deliverability and billing accuracy. Missed shipments and invoices carry a high price for businesses – not only in terms of time, costs, and lost merchandise, but also in terms of customer satisfaction and reputational damage. Address validation ensures that shipping and billing addresses are accurate, genuine and up to date.

More accurate marketing and direct mailing. This issue was the reason Service Objects was founded: reducing the waste stream that results from mailing to incorrect, duplicate or fraudulent addresses. For nearly every business client nowadays, preventing these unwanted mailings – along with the human costs of managing bad contact data – has become an important cost and competitive factor.

Compliance. Address validation can ensure that your business is meeting address-based requirements, such as compliance with lending regulations or other geographically-based legislation.

Fraud prevention. Fraudsters often provide bogus addresses, particularly for online transactions. Address validation can flag addresses that don’t exist or don’t cross-check to other location information such as a customer’s IP address.

Cost savings. For most applications, this is one of the key benefits of address validation – it much more than pays for itself. Aside from issues mentioned above, regularly validating addresses and maintaining accurate address databases leads to reduced cart abandonment, fewer customer complaints, more accurate business intelligence, and better ROI with customers and prospects.

There are a wide range of use cases for address validation, depending on nature of how contact data is used. Here are just a few examples:

  • Validating addresses at the point of data entry, to ensure accurate address capture
  • Cleaning existing contact databases prior to a marketing campaign, to mitigate address changes since they were captured
  • Combining address validation with address autocomplete on shopping cart or data entry forms, to reduce the possibility of customer errors and improve capture rates
  • Suggesting more accurate addresses, including ZIP+4 codes, at the time of customer data entry to facilitate postage savings
  • Creating unique address barcodes to help identify duplicate addresses that may have been entered in different formats
  • Determining whether an address is a private mail box associated with a commercial mail receiving agency (e.g. Mailbox Etc)
  • Flagging addresses in regions with stricter data privacy regulations, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation

Our flagship Address Validation capabilities are also bundled as part of advanced products that combine and/or cross-reference its results with other validations, including DOTS Lead Validation, DOTS Name Validation, DOTS Address Insight, and other tools – details about these capabilities can be found on their respective product pages.

Did you know?

Here are some fun facts about the Address Validation suite of products that you might not have been aware of:

The United States is a country too. You can use Address Validation – International to validate ANY address, including those in the United States and Canada. However, we don’t recommend doing this in cases where the vast majority of your addresses are in the United States, because of higher transaction costs.

Bilingual support for Canada. Address Validation — Canada automatically detects the incoming language of an address and returns the validated address in the same language and proper format for Canada Post. The service also translates addresses from French-to-English or English-to-French, and supports French accents and special characters.

USPS features can save you time and money. Address Validation – US includes several value-added USPS services, including Delivery Point Validation (DPV) to ensure address deliverability, Residential Delivery Indicator (RDI) to flag residential versus business addresses for greater postal discounts, SuiteLink to add suite or apartment information, and Delivery Barcode Digits to create barcodes that can lower your postage costs and help flag duplicate addresses.

Worldwide address accuracy. Address Validation – International offers street-level accuracy or better for 88% of the world’s countries, building-level or better accuracy for over half of the world, and apartment-level accuracy for developed countries including the US, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong and the EU.

Find out more

The product page for our Address Validation suite contains a wealth of detailed information about these products, including access to free trial keys, complete developer documentation as well as a list of features and benefits. Want to learn more? This page also features one-click access for scheduling a personal live demo of these products and their capabilities, as well as contact information for speaking with one of our friendly and knowledgeable data quality experts.

We are here to help with any contact data quality needs.

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