Reliable shipping is something customers take for granted, and never more so than during the holidays.
Peak season is here, and delivery companies have plans in place to successfully deliver every last package:
- The USPS added delivery on Sunday and Christmas Day this year, after last year’s double-digit rise in package volumes during peak season.
- In December alone, the United Parcel Service (UPS) forecasts it will deliver 585 million packages, an increase of 11% over last year.
- UPS is also investing $175 million for its peak season preparedness plan, and will add 95,000 season workers (which is nearly 10 times the number of Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, employees in 2013).
- According to the National Retail Federation, 44% of consumers will do their shopping on the web, which translates to a lot of deliveries.
For retailers, that means a lot of addresses in your company’s database. This will lead to a copious amount of deliveries.
The big rise in deliveries this year got me thinking: What would the holidays be like if there were no such thing as a postal address?
It’s safe to say, the holidays would be a lot less cheery. With our current reliance on mapping applications, it would be tough to get from home to the new toy store and back. Sadly, a lot of holiday greeting cards would get stamped “return to sender.” And without mapping applications or GPS, it would take a little more effort to get to grandmother’s house this year.
I think the only person who would be successfully delivering any gifts this year would be Santa (since he has his own rooftop-to-rooftop accuracy built in with his magical sleigh.)
Of course, one of the biggest places impacted would be the retail industry. The peak season at the end of the year is the time for retail businesses to make or break their reputations.
With the increased volume of deliverability, what mistakes might occur if all address data suddenly disappeared?
In a season without address data quality, your reputation and company could suffer in a number of ways:
- Faulty addresses mean a weak customer database
- Erroneous shipping means you’ll paying for delivery, returns, and re-delivery
- Loss of customers and hurt reputations during peak sales time
A truly data-centric company treats address data as the foundation for customer information, and this would be more challenging to do without quality address verification.
In a peak season without address verification, I imagine companies would have to turn to alternative means to estimate locations and distances such as the geocoding process from Google Maps.
Address Validation technology can offer the following benefits that geocoding does not, including:
- Address validation, standardization and corrections
- Availability as an on-premise solution for customer security and privacy
- Exact geocoding for properties (not estimates or approximations)
- Helps ensure compliance with regulations such as Know Your Customer and the USA Patriot Act
Approximate locations and uncertified data won’t cut it when customers expect on-time delivery, every time. In today’s competitive global economy, it’s never been more important to know exactly where your customers are and how to reach them.
How do you measure how your company is rating with its customer address quality? You can get started with this ebook from Informatica, “Three Ways to Measure Address Quality.”
Cheyanne Ritz is Information Content and Digital Marketing Manager for Informatica