Ecommerce administrators, research companies, web developers, digital marketing agencies … There are many businesses and professionals who ask themselves the daily question: how can I validate an international postal address? The answer is actually not so obvious.
An international mailing address often represents a nucleus of little known information and therefore difficult to decipher, especially for those who are not familiar with the language of the target country of the shipment. After all, the language is certainly not the only barrier that the less experienced have to face. The difficulties of validating international addresses are of at least three types, all equally important:
The format of a postal address corresponds to the layout and type of the various records. Name and surname of the addressee, street or square, street number, area code, town, country … these items can vary a lot from one country to another, both in their sequence (logical order), and in the way they manifest themselves (whether they exist or not). International address validation software, as we will see shortly, is able to convert the address format from country A of origin to destination country B, verifying at the same time that the quality requirements of a cleansed address are respected (update, completeness, consistency, etc.).
Another great obstacle for those who do not possess the necessary skills is inevitably linked to the language. The international address must in fact be written correctly, in accordance with the grammar and vocabulary of the target country. Accents are very important in this sense: a simple forgetfulness can give rise to misunderstandings that make shipping to the recipient vain, with obvious negative repercussions in terms of budget and result. The language must therefore be managed wisely, without improvising oneself as translator and without thinking that an address written in the source language may lead to a secure sending of the correspondence.
The possibility of a wrong shipment should be taken seriously by any business. It is not just about sending an order to a customer or a partner and missing the delivery due to an incorrect address. These scenarios are rare, but possible. The most tangible risk is the approximate management of postal, communication and logistics procedures. For example, due to a delay linked to the search for the correct address. Often a different house number is enough to create a problem for a deliveryman or a trucker. Imprecision is undoubtedly the worst enemy of those working in the shipping field. This is why there is special software for postal address validation. And that’s why this software can be integrated into business applications via API.
In international jargon we speak of API address validation in reference to the set of tools that allow us to satisfy this type of requirement by means of a web service interface. It goes without saying that there are multiple versions of API for address normalization, from those that can be integrated into e-commerce to suggest the correct address to customers when purchasing (and avoid unpleasant delays, returns, etc.), to the address validation APIs for business applications, able to validate and correct the addresses of existing databases. Shipments and search for roads remain the main objectives of API address normalization, but the features offered by a web service of this type go further. Let’s see in detail the services that can be activated with API in a business application.
Master Data – either IT data or other data – is the most precious intangible assets of a company; that is why the Master Data Management (shortened in MDM) is the best management and treatment system available on the market. We are talking about a sector of advanced corporate governance that includes both multinational holding companies and medium and large size companies. Indeed, any medium and large companies can take advantage of adopting an efficient strategy of Data Master Management. This advantage will be greater and greater because of the exponential growth of the IT systems and the volumes of data that is collected by manual activities (i.e. call centers, data entry, etc.) as well as automatic or semiautomatic activities (i.e. funnels, newsletters, landing pages, etc.). Data comes from different channels, therefore we should not think of Master Data Management as something that concerns the Information Technology only. The advantages, as it will be given in this article, are real only if we consider all the involved variables.
Databases of loyal customers, personal details of suppliers and partners, lists of data relevant to the economic resources of the company (from the marketing budget to the purchasing costs of materials)… All these activities require management as integrated as possible as well as fast, precise and intuitive so that they don’t have to be dealt with by a team of experts but by a group of people that will be trained and updated properly. That is the only way to achieve a higher competitiveness in the business where the company operates, reducing wasted time and money and improving performance and the capabilities to cope with the challenges of the modern market. Let’s see the tools you need so that your Master Data Management satisfies your expectations.
Online database normalization is achieved quickly and easily, even by non-experts, by using Address4 software. You don’t need complex programs or the latest computers because the databases of personal data will be normalized online by the Address4 website by just uploading the file in the most common formats. The procedure is simplified for the user, but it shouldn’t be taken for granted. Normalizing entire database means quickly examining files containing up to hundreds of thousands of names with just one click. Each name must be “normalized” by an operation that implies several activities of calculation and sequence verifications.
The raw datum must be given back as reclaimed, that is, corrected and validated according to the preset quality standards. The same objective is shared when online addresses are normalized or email addresses are validated. Each name in the database is checked for punctuation and spelling so that possible typing errors are eliminated. Obsolete fields are replaced by updated values, for example when a surname is modified. Finally, the name is completed with missing information according to the defined patterns and the desired format. That way, important information about the age, sex and nationality can be obtained by simply starting from his/her name and surname. Moreover, we can quickly and precisely discover some useful details for our business such as the address, phone number, email address, and, of course, in accordance with the current privacy regulations.
If you want your international parcel delivery to succeed, spelling your address correctly is definitely important. Medium-sized or big companies, online structured stores and other kinds of entities that send material overseas every day as part of their business should reduce to a minimum – or even better, completely eliminate – returns and errors when delivering, therefore avoiding dreadful wastes of time, resources and money. A superficial or erratic approach when composing addresses can cause delays, failed deliveries and customer dissatisfaction, with a negative fallout that is hard to contain. Such risks must be immediately avoided, mastering the knowledge of the formats allowed for international shipments and using adequate tools for data cleansing and normalisation.
The first step is to make sure that the addresses are transcribed in an appropriate manner, that is, in compliance with the standards set by the postal system of the destination country. In fact, not all countries adopt the same identical format. If the main data are common for every country (both for recipient and sender), there may be significant variations concerning codes, abbreviations and the order of all the elements too. So how do you get the actual correct format? Many authoritative sources are available online, such as the Universal Postal Union database, the UN specialized agency in charge of coordinating the postal policies of every member country, but also the Appendix V International Address Formats from Microsoft, where some examples are given for international shipping formats. Other than these ones there are also additional sources usually less precise or not as complete as the other ones.
Data entry is a simple task but it is by no means cheap. Entering thousands of data elements in the form of addresses, profiles or contacts can be extremely costly, especially in the long run, which is why it is important to find a high-performance work system. Although manual data entry is still prevalent and in some way to be expected for data entry, cost reduction remains an objective for everyone, especially businesses and companies that want to optimise costs without sacrificing quality. In fact, we mustn’t forget that the best data entry method is not the one with lower costs: it is the correctness and validity of the entered data that makes a difference, after which they must be cleansed of any errors or omissions.
With this in mind, in order to ensure profitable data entry it is also necessary to take other aspects into consideration, such as the speed of the process (faster when corrections are not necessary), or auto-completion of certain operations, seeing the geolocation of data on a map or the association of a home address with an area code, a province, etc. In this article, we take a look, step by step, at 5 helpful tips to limit data entry costs and achieve superior results in terms of data quality, even for large volumes of information and without the need of external support from a technician.
To improve Big Data management means you guarantee your company (or your job) tangible advantages on all fronts. By applying correct Big Data management – be it postal address files, user profiles, or other data – you can streamline the decisional procedures, precisely define your targets, access new business opportunities, all without errors, omissions or wasted time. The longer-term potential from this type of investment is enormous: it could be to reorganize your current customer database or send products purchased from the company website anywhere at home or abroad (therefore, know the exact dispatch address in near and distant countries), the effectiveness of the various activities mainly depends on the quality of the data you have availability of.
For these and other reasons, it is fundamental to know how to manage your Big Data with cutting edge IT tools, the only ones able to guarantee results that satisfy your expectations.
This article explains how you can improve your Big Data management in 4 simple steps.
Let’s start from the first step, collecting the data you need.
Many studies are conducted on company efficiency. Whether they are carried out in a university or Research & Development environment, the end results show that company efficiency is an extremely important objective, on which the well-being and success of a business, big or small, depends. Pursuable on several levels, both microscopic and macroscopic, company efficiency involves different spheres that include energy management, resource optimisation and data quality. In fact, data quality is one of the cornerstones of modern business management: in an era dominated by data analysis and storage software, having computer programs that can manage names, postal addresses, etc., means being able to take full advantage of the potential of the resources in your possession (time, energy, human capital and money).
Data quality control is one of the most difficult challenges for today’s large and medium-sized enterprises. Just managing the names of suppliers, or of customers in contact with customer care is overwhelming, not to mention the latest developments over recent years, newsletter subscribers and company blogs, for example. Different groups, yet united by the same characteristic: their importance to the company. The supply of spare parts, materials and products, in fact, depends on suppliers. Likewise, the brand’s reputation, and therefore the company’s image in the public eye, depends on customer service. The same goes for the many people who follow the company and are registered on the official website: these people represent a company’s most important customer base. This set of contacts must be organised with great care, so as to obtain top quality data.
There are numerous ways to do geomarketing: some are very important because they help us find new customers, others help make work easier because our data is organized better. In all events, we can always gain effective advantages in several fields, from time saved to reduced costs. Just think of what it means for a company or professional to have to manage thousands of addresses linked to likewise customer names, and not have any idea where they are situated geographically. When we need to mail promotions, for example selling pellet stoves, we have to calculate where the customers are located to ensure perfect timing in relation to the climate.