How to Stop Undeliverable Orders from Ruining Peak Holiday Season

With the peak holiday season upon us and more than 153 million U.S. addresses to potentially ship orders to, retailers can’t afford to be too laid back when it comes to delivering the goods.

Undeliverable as addressed (UAA) is a term that describes mail or parcels not successfully delivered to the intended address. This can be due to several reasons, the main one being inaccurate and incomplete addresses.

The urgency of impulse sales can cause time-poor shoppers to rush through the checkout. Combine this with the problem of “fat fingers” typing on small devices and quite often customers end up making mistakes entering address details. It’s down to the retailer to offer a solution when this happens; after all, they’re the ones blamed if the goods don’t arrive in time for Christmas.

UAA is an expensive issue. The U.S. Postal Service estimates it costs about $1.5 billion a year, but it isn’t only a problem for postal services; shippers suffer too.

First, the direct cost of dealing with the end customer and rearranging parcel shipments (and the associated charges) will stretch your operational resources. During Black Friday and the ensuing holiday shopping frenzy, when parcel volumes ramp up significantly, the problem will only get worse.

If you can deliver a quality experience, customers will be far more likely to become advocates, telling their friends what a great experience they had and coming back to buy more. However if you haven’t delivered a seamless, friction-free experience, frustrated customers will be far more likely to share their bad experiences on social media, tarnishing your brand.

One of the key growth pillars at European fashion retailer MandM Direct is customer advocacy, and ensuring a seamless, friction-free experience is vital in growing the business. The cost of funding customer acquisition was a critical issue, and customers were 17% less likely to come back and purchase again if delivery problems occurred. Therefore it was essential to get it right the first time.

With 94% of businesses saying address errors have an impact on their customer loyalty and performance, this poses a big problem. Fortunately, there is something that ecommerce companies can do to help prevent the problem of incomplete or incorrect addresses: real-time address verification.

Predictive technology, capable of auto-suggesting any part of an address, means that customers can reduce the number keystrokes needed to complete an addresses. This not only helps reduce UAA deliveries by verifying and standardizing the address against official sources like USPS but it can also positively impact conversion rates. This is because customers are asked to do less during checkout, making them less likely to abandon their cart.

Ensuring your database is complete and accurate is particularly important when it comes to secondary information such as the recipient’s apartment or suite number. This information is often the missing piece of the address puzzle and can lead to UAA deliveries.

With holiday spending expected to reach its highest yet this year UAA is an expensive problem to have, but is one that can be easily fixed.

Chris Harle is the COO of Addressy

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