What is an address autocomplete service and why do I need it?
Address autocomplete capabilities take much of the work out of entering an address. Unlike a standard address entry form, where you fill in individual fields, these tools suggest an entire address based on a few keystrokes. This saves time and more importantly, helps ensure a complete and accurate address based on existing data.
For e-commerce, adding DOTS Global Address Complete capabilities removes friction at the time of checkout, helping reduce cart abandons, increase conversion by as much as 30% and ensure accurate and deliverable addresses are captured at the point of entry. All of this leads to satisfied customers, fewer customer service inquiries and repeat business. So, let’s dive in and understand some of the ways address autocomplete services can differ and what these differences mean to your business and customers.
Data accuracy is the key difference between Global Address Complete and Google Place Autocomplete, one of the most popular services available.
At first glance, it might seem that all address autocomplete tools are created equal. After a few keystrokes, the tool starts to recommend address matches, with most users assuming when they select an address, it is accurate and deliverable. Unfortunately, it is not quite that simple. We recommend looking under the hood to better understand how the address data that drives the service is collected and the impact this has on the quality of the selected address.
Starting with the address autocomplete’s source of address data, you will see where address accuracy issues can be introduced, and the effect it has on customer experience, conversion rate and deliverability.
Where does address data come from?
Google Place Autocomplete uses the data collected from their Street View Vehicles and backfilled information from crowdsourcing contributors. The Street View project is impressive when used for geolocation needs, but falls short for mailing addresses and determining deliverability. It is also important to note that Google’s Street View address data is updated intermittently, and in some areas is up to four years old.
The address data that Service Objects uses is constantly updated from a global portfolio of postal authorities and supplementary data providers, including the United States Postal Service, Universal Postal Union, and Royal Mail, to name a few. These updates include new and modified addresses and change-of-address data.
There are several ways that data sources directly impact the performance of an address autocomplete service, from the inclusion of apartment and suite data to determining deliverability.
Apartments and Suites
Google’s Street View Vehicles capture the main building address but do not capture internal unit data, like apartment, suite, business unit and floor number. This means that the Google Place Autocomplete service is missing crucial data points. In the US alone, there are over 30 million addresses that have internal unit designations, about 20% of the 160 million US mailing addresses.
As mentioned, Service Objects’ data is collected from global postal authorities and supplementary data providers. As postal authorities, their core business is to ensure accurate delivery to every address. Using this data, Global Address Complete offers up-to-date and current address suggestions, including apartment or business unit.
Below is a simple comparison, using our business address:
Valid and Deliverable Addresses
According to Voxware, “69% of respondents are much less or less likely to shop with a retailer in the future if an item they purchased is not delivered within two days of the date promised.” In e-commerce, capturing a customer’s address correctly at the time of entry is key to ensuring their order reaches them on time.
For US addresses, our service includes our CASS-certified USPS address validation capabilities, providing Delivery Point Validation (DPV) confirmation that an address can be delivered to – right down to the apartment or suite number. For international addresses, it is simple to add our Address Validation – International service.
With most address autocomplete tools, even though an address is suggested, it doesn’t mean it is verified. With over 20 years of address validation experience, we understand this like no other. From extrapolation to vacant lots, there are many reasons an address may appear correct, but not able to receive deliveries.
In short, Google Place Autocomplete does not determine if an address is deliverable. At best, it can tell you if an address ‘should’ exist based on extrapolation, meaning it knows that a street exists and will assume that the house numbers fall in range. There are many examples where house numbers are not numerically consecutive or simply end before the assumed range.
Below is an example of Google Place Autocomplete suggesting an invalid address (in this case, it doesn’t exist) that can be selected for shipping.
With Global Address Complete, the same address is validated and checked for deliverability against the postal authority, providing real-time feedback that can be communicated to the customer instantly or be flagged for customer service follow-up.
Integration, Coverage and Support
Ease of Integration
Service Objects does not require ‘powered by’ or any branding to be showcased with the service.
Intelligent Global Coverage
Global Address Complete covers 250 countries and can use Country Detect and Country Select capabilities to automatically detect a region based on the user’s IP address, enabling the service to more quickly and accurately suggest addresses in their country and region.
Alternatively, your customer can simply select their country of interest, ensuring the correct address and postal format is being captured. This is especially helpful when a customer is shipping a package to a location different than where their IP address indicates they are.
Customer Service Above All
At Service Objects, providing exceptional customer service and support is part of our culture. Our support team is available 24/7/365 and ready to help you whenever you need it. We stand behind our 99.999% uptime with the industry’s only financially-backed Service Level Agreement.
Test Drive Global Address Complete