To validate or not to validate? eCommerce address quality is the question.
Courier companies operating in the South African eCommerce space know all too well the challenges in getting accurate and deliverable shipping addresses. The lack of address quality is not just an eCommerce specific phenomenon, it’s very much prevalent in all sectors of SA, but it is felt more acutely in eCommerce due to increasing customer demands of next day and even same-day delivery.
Last-mile delivery is tough for most couriers and bad addresses only make this last mile tougher by decreasing overall delivery rates, increasing the number of re-deliveries which affects service level agreements with their eCommerce clients. The lack of address quality not only costs courier companies directly in terms of wasted time and effort, but it also reflects negatively on eCommerce stores in terms of poor delivery performance affecting customer experience
3 reasons why SA eCommerce shipping addresses are bad:
1. SA has no single, designated authority that is mandated to govern an official National Address Database (NAD) for the country. This confuses both online customers and couriers in terms of how to accurately address delivery points. SA suburbs are often recognized by different names, spellings and can have variable boundaries that may or may not be recognized by different organizations.
2. SA is a developing economy and this is most evident when looking at how quickly the NAD is growing and changing. There are approximately 40 new suburbs recognized every month in the country, the majority of which are newly developed areas (e.g. housing estates, gated communities, business parks, informal settlements, etc.). Added to this, the increasing prevalence of alternate suburb and street names (e.g. Nelspruit vs Mbombela, DF Malan Drive vs Beyers Naudé Dr.) and abbreviated or colloquial names (e.g. Johannesburg vs Jozi) means the NAD is increasing in complexity
3. Many of SA’s online shoppers are not first-language English speakers, and in many cases, English is not even their second language, yet these shoppers are expected to capture their shipping address in English. Poorly developed computer/mobile/ technology-literacy rates often result in incomplete or poorly captured address data, where the shipping address data is either entered all in one field or not captured in the relevant address fields.
ScrubBill’s approach to Address Validation:
ScrubBill’s tried and tested Address Validation feature allows end-users, whether they are eCommerce warehouse staff or courier onsite fulfilment staff, to validate customer shipping addresses so that they are deliverable by their chosen courier. These validated addresses are then printed by ScrubBill’s Auto-print feature on courier specific-waybills ensuring that they are recognizable and ultimately deliverable by the drivers from their respective courier companies.
This approach to address validation eliminates any potential negative impact on online customer conversion rates. Customers can simply enter their shipping address and proceed directly through to payment, without having to jump through a separate validation process of different screens and multiple clicks.
ScrubBill’s Address Validation works to a traffic light (robot) system of Green, Orange and Red. Green validations are shipping addresses that have been captured correctly and are deliverable by the selected courier. 4 out of 10 shipping addresses require additional validation across the entire ScrubBill system, irrespective of eCommerce store, platform or courier.
Orange addresses have been programmatically changed to make them deliverable (Green) with a 99% confidence interval that the suggested programmatic change will be deliverable. Red addresses represent shipping addresses that are not deliverable in their current form. Typically, these addresses are non-street type addresses, things like PO Boxes, Private Bags, PostNet Suites, etc.; or maybe very rural or informal addresses with no discernible roads or easily resolvable suburb contained within the address.
By taking control of shipping address validation, ScrubBill-integrated eCommerce stores ensure that they are offering the very best in online customer service.
This approach sets up their chosen couriers for delivery success and makes the best possible impression to their online customers in terms of an efficient last-mile delivery experience.