With services like Amazon Prime promising Sunday delivery, and shoppers from rural areas to crowded cities shipping everything from toilet paper to groceries instead of trudging to the store, online shopping is increasing exponentially. Carrier UPS alone delivers over 18 million packages daily. However, all of those package deliveries are creating a backlash. For example, Houston, TX-based Camden Property Trust, the nation’s 14th largest landlord, recently implemented a no-deliveries policy for its 169 properties. Prior to the policy’s implementation, office staff accepted deliveries. Camden’s management team estimates that handling deliveries cost them $3.3 million annually in lost productivity.
Website expenses like mobile optimization, or a click-to-contact customer service feature to help overcome cart abandonment issues are the cost of doing business in the digital age, but are there ways to avoid losing money? An address validation tool can save huge sums for e-commerce merchants. The USPS Office of Inspector General reports 4.3 billion pieces of mail (5.3% of all mail handled by the USPS) was undeliverable as addressed (UAA) in 2016. By providing address validation on their checkout pages, whether via an API link to USPS or Google, or with software, online merchants can avoid shipping-related losses.
Possible issues resulting from a bad address include:
- Shipping to wrong address (e.g., apartment complex, but no apartment # listed)
- Shipping to an apartment complex that doesn’t accept deliveries (leaving package on doorstep without a signature invites parcel theft)
- Order cancellation
- Item returned to sender
- Customer complaints due to length of time between order and receipt of shipment
- Chargebacks (merchant processing services impacted, even disabled, by numerous chargebacks or cancellations)
- Negative reviews
If your e-commerce site doesn’t include address validation, some fulfillment companies provide reviews of all invalid addresses to bypass potential order hold-ups. According to Justin Singletary, Managing Member at Fulfillment.com, “Most companies don’t offer address validation, putting the onus on the customer to enter correct shipping information. We provide free address validation at Fulfillment.com, saving our clients time and money.”
With more consumers shopping online, increasing volumes and shipments of items exceeding the “usual” shipping size and weight restrictions (such as furniture), it’s important to ensure that the sales process is easy for customers. With emerging “no delivery” policies on the rise, ensuring parcels arrive quickly and cost-effectively is one way to build customer loyalty and repeat sales.