Writing a postal address can be very simple in all those cases where the recipient is located in the same country of the sender, or, in a country where the postal system follows an identical or similar format. Shipping from one state to another in the US, for example, is not that difficult for a US citizen, nor is it difficult if the shipment is destined to a Canadian address which uses a very similar format. Even within the European Union the addresses of most countries respect the same format. However, if we move to the East or other areas of the world, we will have to understand precisely how to write the address for that country, in order to avoid making mistakes that could slow down or even prohibit the delivery. This is true for individuals and, most importantly, for companies or e-commerces that find themselves, more and more often, having to handle international or even intercontinental shipments.
In business and commercial scenarios, writing a postal address according to the guidelines established by the postal system of the target country means being more competitive and results in quicker delliveris, having full control over orders, returns and shipments in general. Writing addresses correctly becomes a competitive advantage of enormous importance, which will continue to increase in the months and years to come as globalized business increases. How do you achieve the ambitious goal of writing the postal addresses of any country correctly? Before going into the merits of the possible solutions, let’s take a look, through a series of plausible examples, at some formats of postal addresses from countries in various areas of the world, in order to understand what differences exist from one country to another.
Batch geocoding has been possible for many years but how can we take advantage of the service provided by Google Maps to carry out batch geocoding?
The answer is not obvious for those who work with postal addresses every day. We know that Google Maps offers the geocoding service via API, address by address, and gives results that don’t always meet expectations. If a company needs to accurately geolocate a list of hundreds or even thousandsof addresses at the same time (that is commonly known as bulk geocoding or batch geocoding), the use of Google Maps via API could be limiting and impractical. The company, in fact, should first develop ad hoc software able to connect via API to Google Maps and then manage the entire process of sending and receiving geographical data and addresses without any mistakes. Furthermore, the system, even if built to perfection, should accept unreservedly the results provided in output by the Google Maps API geocoder, counting on the one hand that the starting data is correct or precise enough not to generate ambiguity and, on the other hand, that the Google Maps application is able to process the addresses providing reliable results in output. But this approach lacks precision and safety!
How do you obtain the desired information, that is the exact geographical coordinates of tens, hundreds or thousands of addresses, quickly and error-free?
The answer is given by the Google Maps Batch service combined with our Address4 software. We are talking about an innovative feature that we have implemented to our suite of services for normalization and geocoding. Thanks to the Google Maps Batch tool provided by Address4, anyone is able to upload an address file and obtain a perfectly georeferenced file within a few minutes, i.e. each address will be associated with an exact geographical point, identified by its coordinates. Beyond the uniqueness of the operation, the advantage is to combine the wide coverage of Google Maps geocoding with the incomparable accuracy of Address4 in recognizing territorial data. An outcome that ensures enormous benefits in quality and competitiveness in various business sectors. Let’s take a better look at how Google Maps Batch geocoding works and how we can make the most of a bulk geocoding process.
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.
How can an address validator improve the performance of a company? How important are addresses for your business? How could an inaccurate postal address negatively affect your business? These questions are answered with the help of advanced software for the validation of postal addresses. By using this type of software, your company can save both time and precious resources while avoiding any damage to their image or loss in reputation before final customers. Indeed, any business, from the smallest ecommerce retailer to the largest franchising business, has to make sure that the addresses of their customers (real and potential ones) are updated and correct. Otherwise, disastrous situations can occur such as missing the delivery of a product or dispatching advertising materials to obsolete addresses that are assigned to other people.
That can be disturbing for people who trusted you: your customer should be respected and that means you should know their habits and their addresses. So, how can validation software help your company? Here is the answer. We will tell you the most significant advantages and we will explain to you in detail why and how it could be of interested to your company. It does not matter what type of business you have because for logistics, for example, a validated address database is essential but it is also very important for gyms or hotels. Sooner or later, someone may need to ship an object, for example a membership card, a product catalogue or a key forgotten somewhere. So, let’s see the advantages can be obtained from a fast, safe and complete validation of the addresses.
1) IMPROVING RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE CUSTOMERS
The management of the customer care department requires a modern and professional approach for being effective. Nobody wants to waste time over the phone for spelling their home or office address. If you want to be competitive in the market, you should set your customers free from any useless tasks: all requests should be managed as fast as possible without uncertainties and waits. Moreover, burdening a person with the heavy task of transcribing and entering data is not a good idea because the human mistake is always possible! Remember: about 60% of your turnover comes from your loyal customers; take care of them and you will be able to cultivate fruitful and long term relationships with high economic returns.
Even among professionals, the exact knowledge of how postal address validation works is not always shared by everyone alike. The validation systems, in the form of more or less advanced computer software, each have different technologies and functionalities, so the idea users receive about the real validation mechanism of postal addresses can vary greatly, not only based on the program used (and more specifically on the version of the program used), but also according to the reference language and the target country. We at Address 4 have the great advantage of knowing every aspect of the subject (especially on the development front), and we can talk from a more advanced perspective than any other end user.
In light of the above, we want to offer readers of our site the chance to learn more about how last generation validation software of postal systems works, backed by decades of experience gained by our company in this sector. We will therefore see the many factors that come into play when an address is assigned to computer programs dedicated to validation, and what results can be obtained with these tools in the main configurations of use available (real time, batch, plugin, API). We begin by outlining the major services related to the normalisation of postal addresses in relation to the resources available with the Address 4 software.
The first job option that we mention is online address standardisation, a service that allows you to correct and verify any postal address by entering the data in a template or form within a specific page. In this case, data processing takes place remotely, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The most obvious advantages are practicality and calculation speed, useful factors when you need to obtain a validated address immediately.
If Master Data are the intangible resources – computer and not – more valuable for a company, the Master Data Management (abbreviated to MDM) represents the system of administration and care of Master Data par excellence. We are talking about a sector of advanced corporate governance, which, however, is not just about multinationals and industrial groups. In fact, any medium and large enterprise can greatly benefit from the adoption of an effective Data Master Management strategy. This is true today and will be more and more in the future with the exponential growth of IT systems and data volumes collected through manual (call center, data entry, etc.) and automatic / semi-automatic (funnel, newsletter, landing page, etc.). Note the mixture of channels from which the data originates: we should not think of Master Data Management as something that exclusively concerns the field of infomation technology. The advantages, as we will see in this article, are real only if we take into account the set of variables involved.
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.
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.
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