How e-commerce can validate addresses

With the ongoing trend of digitalization more and more businesses are moving their operations online. It’s not only for the sake of minimizing the costs for physical store maintenance that include rent, insurance, and other expenses.

Sometimes, shifting to online mode is the only way for the business to survive as it happened during the COVID-19 pandemic we experienced world-wide last year. Besides that, our shopping habits are changing, so the possibility to quickly order something, pay for goods and receive them without leaving our homes is getting more important.

Creating a great website and adding all the products combined with the marketing efforts are for sure some of the key steps to success, but the main competitive advantage is provided by ensuring the high level of usability of your online shop. No surprise here, as users appreciate intuitive interfaces and easy purchase processes without any obstacles on the way.

User flows optimization can be ensured by many factors like navigation, possibility to modify orders on different stages of purchase, abandoned cart recovery options, bundles and convenient order placement and shipment forms. When it comes to the latter, address validation help to simplify the checkout process. In a nutshell, the mechanism of this validation allows confirming that the address details entered by a user who fills in the form are present in the database of shipment couriers using local and international lookups.

What are the benefits of address validation?

Dealing with online stores presupposes operating on tons of user data and their delivery details and sometimes the process may turn into a complete mess taking into account that users may insert their data in the different ways, misspel addresses, or forget puting some key info like country, or city. In addition, there might be the case that these mistakes can lead to lost parcels or increased number of returns. Which in turn, may negatively affect your business.

That’s why address validation has numerous benefits here, like:

  • Minimization of typos during entering the address, thus there are more distractions in the form of warnings and errors that can irritate a customer.
  • Speeding up the process of purchase for your users because the information is fetched automatically after entering the part of the address, or a zipcode
  • Standardization of the entered details so that when you process the order, the details are put into the unified format. Consequently, it’s more convenient to operate on such data and easier to forward the order items to delivery offices.
  • Reducing the number of returned items because of inexisting address input, thus saving you the delivery costs.
  • Faster delivery of the orders to the end-users through a unified system and less time spent on clarifying the correctness of the address with your customers and delivery companies.
  • Simplified processing of international orders.

There’s are several ways of how e-commerce can validate addresses:

Drop-down menus validation. The most popular option for address validation is putting several fields where users need to choose their address details such as country, city, and ZIP code from the available list items.

Partial validation. This type of address verification presupposes that users enter their ZIP codes so that the fields like city and state are fetched automatically, and then, the rest of the information such as street and building numbers are filled in manually.

Post entry validation. Here the actual validation happens when the user manually inserts the information and then receives a pop-up offering to choose one of the available options in the correct format.

Type-ahead option. It’s one of the most convenient options because when you start typing the address in one line and based on the input information the field suggests the correct variant while you are typing.

Sometimes, it may happen that several types of validation are present. For instance, the partial validation along with post entry to ensure that the data are properly placed.

Now, the address validation is getting more popular and there are many free and paid software on the market that you can enable on your website for verifying the user address input. It can be wide, plugins for CMS ( like Woocommerce address validator for WordPress) or API endpoints, so there’s a choice when it comes to pricing and features included in it. But in the end, these investments are paid off, because they bring a positive user experience by faster checkout completion, thus more successful purchases and profit to your business.