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3 Simple Reasons Your Checkout Needs Address Verification

14 Apr 2016

The collection of addresses during the checkout process of an ecommerce store is an area which is often fraught with potential danger; we've previously discussed how the addition of address 2 and collecting too many delivery addresses can cause frustration and increase your cart abandonment rates.

Today we look at the benefits that an address verification system brings to your ecommerce store and why you need one.

What is an address verification system?

Putting it simply, it's an external database of addresses that your ecommerce store is connected to. The addresses which are contained within the database are valid and correctly formatted so that a courier or postie is able to deliver a package to that address without any issues.

When a customer places an order on your ecommerce store and starts typing into the address field, they are shown a drop-down list of filtered addresses. The more characters your customer enters the more narrowed down the list becomes.

Some address verification systems are free to use and can be easily connected to your ecommerce store by your developer.

#1: Your customers spend less time typing during your checkout

Remembering that 21% of cart abandonments happen because a customer feels that the process is taking too long.

When you rework your checkout process to collect less information, structure it to flow more logically and remove fields which are likely to lead to confusion, you are helping your customers to complete their sale much faster. But even making all these changes still means that your customers have to type every single character in their delivery address.

Adding an address verification system allows your customers to start typing in their delivery and within a few seconds they are shown a filtered list that allows them to spot and click on their exact address. The rest of their delivery address is then automatically filled out for them without the need for any more typing.

At which point your customer can move immediately on to checking their order and paying for it.

#2: It helps stops deliveries from going to the wrong place

Customers are notoriously bad at filling out suburbs and postcodes correctly.

Take for instance a typical ecommerce checkout:

Ignoring the fact that the house number is clearly bogus, this is a typical example of what can go wrong. The customer has entered their address as they see it; they live on Anzac Road which is located in Auckland and because they couldn't remember their postcode they just entered something. And then they completed the checkout and paid you for their order.

But are you (or is your courier) going to deliver the order to Pukekohe or Browns Bay? They are both technically in Auckland. And if the parcel goes to the wrong address who is wearing the cost for the replacement items when the customer contacts you to say the order never arrived? Most likely the answer is your business.

An address verification system would have presented the customer with the ability to chose either the Pukekohe or the Browns Bay address, then it would have provided the correct postcode as well. Not only that, but the onus is on your customer to pick the right address and your business isn't liable for any mistakes they make.

#3: Reduce pain for your mobile shoppers

As we've discussed previously, attempting to shop at an ecommerce store on a mobile device in many cases is flawed due to the fact that mobiles are simply being treated as a smaller screen and content is being re-arranged instead of being adapted to target phone specific features and the fact that mobile shoppers behave differently to those on a desktop.

During the checkout process mobile users have to contend with using a tiny keyboard to enter their details. This can often result in either a lot of frustration (from customers having to constantly delete and re-enter mistyped characters) or incorrect data being sent to your business.

Having an address validation system instantly cuts down on the amount that a customer needs to use the little keyboard to enter and means that this frustration and bad data can be avoided.

As we mentioned earlier, given that some address verification systems are free to use, easily implemented onto your ecommerce store and clearly can help to avoid common causes of cart abandonments, it's worth your time investigating what it would take to implement for your ecommerce store.

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