Almost 1 in 3 customers say they abandon online shopping cart due to complications at checkout related to the shipping address.

This means customers try to enter their address, but since what's entered isn't standardized, checkout can't be completed. As an eCommerce merchant, losing a hard-won sale to a trip-up like this is beyond frustrating.

With address mis-entries so common, it's important to take steps to verify addresses at checkout. This is where an address checker, or an address verification system (AVS) comes in handy. This automated addition to your online store is a reliable, foolproof way to validate addresses in real-time to ensure your sales goes through.

Read this article to learn everything you need to know about address validation, and how it can instantly rescue sales that might otherwise slip away.

What is Address Validation?

Address validation is an eCommerce process that helps verify the address numbers, street names, and postal codes of an order.

An address verification system (AVS) uses location technology and map data to cross-reference the customer's address with addresses in the mailing systems of major shipping couriers like USPS, FedEx, DHL and more. By ensuring you've got the right address for customers, you ensure a successful checkout and delivery.

AVS tools are now commonplace in eCommerce because they're so effective at helping stores limit checkout errors, and thus significantly improve conversion rates.

The 3 Steps of Address Validation

Address validation makes sure the shipping address is entered correctly. In other words, it's an address checker that also helps with address lookup.

Address validation involves three steps, including:

  1. Cleaning: The address validation software repairs typos, like in a street name.
  2. Supplementing: Missing address components are added, like a postal code.
  3. Standardizing: The format of an address can make all the difference. For example, an apartment number requires the use of "Apt" instead of "#", or replacing abbreviations like "St." with "Street."

In the screenshot below, Nike highlights the secondary address line in red to call attention to required fixes.

We must change the secondary address entry – the apartment number as "5" – to complete the order. This is a common occurrence that can be fixed with help of address standardization.

Nike recommends the proper address once we remove the hashtag from in front of the apartment number, seen here.

Turns out, the proper entry for the secondary address is "Apt 5." From here, we select the address Nike has on file, or that Nike has on file via its courier services, and proceed to buy our spiffy new shoes.

This example illustrates how many variables can get messed up as customers move through checkout. At first, I thought it wanted me to enter "Unit 5" rather than "Apt 5."

Installing shipping address validation in your eCommerce store automates this much-needed corrective process. More importantly, it helps every customer enjoy a more streamlined and successful purchase experience.

4 Address Validation Systems To Consider

What's the best way to get the customer's shipping address right? Top merchants choose to integrate address verification systems with their eCommerce platforms, and you can as well.

Pick from 4 types of AVS for address validation, including:

  • Drop-down verification: This software shows customers a set of options for their city, state, and country from a drop-down menu in the checkout flow. Research shows that more than half (55%) of Top 100 US online entrepreneurs use drop-down address validation. Why? Because it reduces time spent on form field entry for shoppers which leads to better conversions.
  • Partial verification: The city and state form fields auto-populate once the customer enters their zip code. This is another way merchants ease shoppers through checkout for better sales.
  • Post-entry verification: Possible address alternatives (like used by Nike) appear as a pop-up once the shipping address is entered. The shopper chooses the appropriate alternate shipping address.
  • Type-ahead verification: This AVS suggests address options to customers in real-time as they type their address. This option is less common due to cost, but shoppers appreciate being able to skip typing out their address in full.

The 3 Benefits of Address Validation

People love technology when it simplifies their life and saves time. Address validation software does just that. These address lookup/address checker tools also give customers a sense of confidence at checkout that comes from knowing they're sure to receive their orders – even if they make a typo.

High-selling merchants use AVS because it helps them to:

  • Increased conversion rates: It's a longstanding fact that shoppers abandon carts because they don't like the simple task of entering personal data. Conversely, removing form fields and automating checkout processes is a proven way to drive more sales. AVS allow merchants to pare down the checkout flow in order to reduce cart abandonment.
  • Reduced loss of revenue: Delivery failures are a common way for retailers to lose money. After all, you either have to refund the customer or pay additional re-delivery costs. With accurate, real-time address validation in your store, the likelihood of delivery fails plummets (and your bottom line takes an upswing).
  • Improved customer experience: Customer retention is a huge revenue driver for eCommerce brands. This is because it's far easier to sell to existing customers (60-70%) than new customers (5-20%). Existing customers spend more per purchase, and they're also your best way to generate referral revenue and positive word of mouth. With a reliable AVS, you ensure delivery success that leads to lasting, loyal and more profitable customers.

If you're in the market for a reliable AVS, here are a few service providers to consider:

  • Loqate: This AVS provider helps online retailers maintain top-quality customer data and delivery point processes (DPV processes), and at the same time, improve conversion rates while further driving their business efficiency.
  • Experian: This AVS provider offers internet retailers verification systems that ensure that every address is free of any duplicates, making them ready to use the moment a customer is done entering their data.
  • Smarty Streets: This provider offers significantly simplified verification system that makes shopping easier for customers, no matter what device they are shopping from.

Using Address Validation to Drive Sales

Collecting accurate shipping addresses at checkout is essential to eCommerce success. This is because today's customers expect a seamless checkout flow with fast, reliable delivery times. AVS lets you provide address corrections in real time based on post office data, so your packages are always deliverable.

With delivery point validation integrated in your store, you increase conversions, improve customer experience, and minimize delivery fails.

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