During the Christmas period it’s been a tradition at Postcode Anywhere to embark on side projects to keep us out of trouble in the quieter weeks. This year, myself and a few of my colleagues decided to take a look at some of the most popular US ecommerce websites out there as it is a market we have been looking to move into. We took a list of the top 100 US ecommerce sites and visited each one to see to what degree they use address validation.
Addressing the problem
With our older style postcode lookup type service, the US is an area we have historically struggled with for primarily a technical reason – as zip codes cover a large number of properties and populating a an address from is often a long-winded process. The great thing with the ability to find an address in a “search engine manner” with our new Capture+ technology has finally removed this barrier for us. Being able to search on any part of the address rather than just the postcode/zip code means that we can finally offer the keystroke cutting benefits and improved data quality to the States.
As you would expect, due to the limitation of the older, more basic postcode/zip code lookup technology the findings highlighted quite a limited uptake of address validation within the US sites we looked at. With some sites this validation was purely done on a State level, for example, Tigerdirect.com or in some case not at all – as in the case of Spotify.com.
The fact that some sites already have some level of validation is obviously encouraging as it shows that there is an awareness of how important capturing accurate address data is. However, while customers will be receiving their parcels if they complete the checkout, will they actually get frustrated before they get to this point manually having to type in their address? Recent research we carried out on American consumers highlighted that lengthy checkout forms were one of the top reasons for abandoning a cart. If this is the case why shouldn’t US customers be given the option to speed up the entry process by cutting keystrokes by 80% with Capture+ – surely it’s a no-brainer? Sites are already paying for post-entry address validation, why not simply move the process one step earlier with tools like Capture+?
As this research has highlighted, it’s quite an exciting time as there is clearly a gap in the market in the US. This is one of the reasons we plan to attend a number of stateside shows this year, showcasing our new technology. As I look after our Magento Capture+ app I will be attending Magento Imagine in Las Vegas. My colleague Neil who looks after our Microsoft Dynamics CRM Capture+ app will be exhibiting at Microsoft Convergence in New Orleans. We will be making more announcements on forthcoming shows and exhibitions shortly – so watch this space!