With stores subject to ongoing lockdowns and patron limits, ecommerce has become the primary way we shop. And as customers worldwide become accustomed to it, it’s likely to become a permanent shift. The pandemic’s effects have sellers concentrating on acquiring and maintaining buyers who have adapted to this new reality.
Retailers must be ready to embrace both temporary and permanent change during COVID-19 and especially after. To stay competitive, they need to reevaluate how they offer their services to customers who more and more enjoy a global marketplace. It boils down to how well you utilize customer data, such as address information. A simple but critical data point, valid addresses facilitate business growth, lower costs, stem potential fraud and enrich the customer experience. Clearly, it’s a rising priority, although still overlooked by too many ecommerce companies.
Consider the hurdles sellers can face based on poor address data. It can result in failed deliveries and marketing promotions sent via mail, creating hefty fees with no return on investment. While these issued are critical in their own right, the missed opportunities can cascade. Bad customer data can also negatively affect the customer relationship, further stunting business growth.
Paying Attention to the Power of Address Data
On this highly competitive ecommerce landscape, sellers around the globe face both shared and unique challenges that require special attention.
Locally, invest in understanding where buyers have gone, utilizing third-party address identification to guarantee delivery of the right goods to the correct customer at the exact location.
Include additional address information to minimize shipping costs and avoid extra charges to correct address mistakes. Tools like residential delivery indicators help negate unnecessary expenses and ensure more intelligent address information.
Sellers in the U.S. must be aware of global shipping requirements and costs when shipping internationally. Correct address data, validated to the appropriate global standard, is vital to ensure deliveries land at the right door.
Prevent fraud with data tools that efficiently pair correct customer names with corresponding addresses. This process creates a quick and easy method to verify a customer’s identity electronically.
Automate correct information with autocompletion tools that allow only correct information to enter the system. Manual data entry and its inherent mistakes becomes unnecessary. Autocompletion adds checkout convenience, reducing cart abandonment and improving the customer experience.
Rules to Live By: 1-10-100 for Ideal Data Value
Integrating data tools and creating automatic procedures to clean customer data from when it’s entered creates a sort of data firewall, keeping costs in check and ensuring time, effort, data, and customer relations are maintained and even strengthened. Retailers should embrace the 1-10-100 rule, which demonstrates that the longer bad data exists and permeates errors within a data management system, the costs are exponentially higher to repair the damage.
With clean, up-to-date address information across the globe, you can manage overall client data. This may range from understanding where customers move and verifying identities to de-duplicating information and fleshing out deeper customer profiles with other demographic and social elements.
Address Data Powers Fast, Simple Anti-Fraud Processes
With accurate contact information, customer identity verification can also help ward off credit fraud. Consider that in the U.S., the credit card is the primary form of ecommerce payment, used by about 47% of online purchasers. However, almost 30% of refunds are due to fraudulent credit card purchases via chargebacks. Sellers pay more than twice as much for fraud ($2.40 for every $1.00), in addition to paying off the expense of the good, which is typically not returned.
Verified address data is part of the “know your customer” mandate that lowers expenses by discouraging fraud. Buyers that offer unverified address data can be limited to certain other types of payment methods or potentially stopped from progressing to checkout.
Address Basics are Not Basic At All
Verified address information seems simple but is an essential factor in successful, profitable ecommerce. In collaboration with other prevalent data tools like supply chain management, CRM and ERP, verified address data adds value to all stages of the retail business and customer experience. It fuels customer support, direct mail campaigns, shipping logistics, warehouse management, accounting and more, strengthening sales and bolstering a company’s reputation.
With the massive expansion of ecommerce, excellence in customer data is a smart opportunity, distinguishing reliable, relevant sellers to shoppers worldwide.
Greg Brown is Vice President of Global Marketing for Melissa