Empowering E-Commerce Success

It’s Time to Say “Hasta la Vista” to Bad Address Data

Are you negatively impacting your customer experience with bad address data?

Recently, my cousin moved to Germany and with her first birthday away from home approaching fast, I wanted to purchase a gift from one of her favorite merchants in the U.S. Her birthday passed and she never made mention of receiving my gift. Naturally, I went back to check the tracking information and it had been updated with “Undeliverable as Addressed.” I then found myself wondering, “In a world dominated by international commerce, how could this happen?”

The package was shipped to the following address:
Melissa Garcia
20 Neburgerstr
Munchen, 80687
Germany

How the German consumer address should have been structured:
Melissa Garcia
Neuburgerstraße, 20
80687 München
Germany

I assumed I had typed in the correct address and the gift would be delivered to my cousin’s home. However, that was not the case—the correct format was different from the one I had provided and contained special characters.

What is bad address data?
Bad address data represents errors that can be made either manually or through automation. Did you know that bad data costs companies billions of dollars annually and can negatively impact the customer experience?

Some causes of bad address data include:

  • Special characters – Unique in-country characters such as ä, ñ, ü, ß
  • Incorrect formatting – Unfortunately, there is not an internationally applicable address format; whether the differences are large or small, there are definitive variances for almost every country.
  • Misspellings
  • Missing information

What is the potential impact to the business and customer experience?
The accuracy of the address data is an essential requirement when conducting international e-commerce business. Unfortunately, no organization or industry is immune to address quality issues and online merchants continue to struggle with this requirement.

Let’s do the math…

  • 500 international shipments per day X est. 10% bad address data = 50 customers potentially impacted per day
  • 50 customers per day X 250 business days per year = 12,500 potential negative customer experiences per year

Now take into consideration:

  • Customer acquisition – Time, cost and effort to acquire these customers
  • Increased business costs – Re-ship costs, inventory re-stock costs, costly return fees, payment delays
  • Negative customer experience – Undeliverable As Addressed (UAA), brand equity, bad seller ratings, delayed deliveries

These are real costs that impact your business. Ensuring address data accuracy is paramount to driving a positive customer experience.

Solutions to support data accuracy
Detecting and correcting address errors is a complex problem, and one that can only be solved with specialized software. A clear data accuracy strategy that is proactive rather than reactive is required to support the expected customer experience. This can be achieved via in-house solutions or as a value-added service provided by a third-party or logistics carrier.

As international e-commerce continues to grow, businesses need to be critically aware of the customer experience and the potential impact of bad data on the bottom line.


DHL eCommerce’s Globalmail Parcel Direct product is specifically built for international e-commerce merchants, delivering our most reliable service to top retail markets. Parcel Direct’s inclusive value-added service, DHL eCommerce Verify, has the power to analyze and correct addresses. Using this state-of-the-art solution, we process your address file, performing steps such as correcting misspellings, inserting missing information and formatting addresses according to international standards. You receive a detailed report so you can update your database and avoid unnecessary international postage costs.

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