Prevent data quality problems from occurring in the first place with Loqate’s Address Verification

Today in focus is loqate

Loqate is part of the GBG group of companies and in this role acts as a location intelligence specialist. Address validation and verification of location data is possible directly when entering customer data. All loqate technologies can be implemented quickly thanks to the easy-to-integrate API.

Not only is loqate an attractive partner for improving data quality during input, but existing customer data can also be verified by loqate in bulk via a batch process.

Loqate is thus able to solve the challenges of its core target group in eCommerce: The often poor quality of customer data, which already arises during the capture process.

The most important topics at a glance

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Why is address validation so important?

In our experience, data quality is a topic that is often neglected in practice. Unfortunately, this is completely unjustified, because data quality is a value-added factor and not a cost factor. Thus, address and data quality is an absolutely necessary basis for many sales activities or the fulfillment process.

In practice, data quality, especially that of contact data or postal addresses, is often inadequate. This is also confirmed by many studies. For example, the study by loqate on missing deliveries in the B2C area, which shows the origin of these in the address quality, among other things. The consequence of this circumstance is that the ERP or CRM systems used in the company continue to work with missing or insufficient data – but less accurately. This causes subsequent processes, such as delivery, to stall and take up more and more processes by handling returns.

Data entered or added to the system is too rarely subjected to a checking mechanism. However, such a checking process is urgently needed, because in practice the rule of thumb is that around 10% of all stored data becomes obsolete every year – in both B2B and B2C.

A fragmented or outdated data record can therefore lead to a wide variety of problems:

  • Duplicates in the inventory: unnecessary advertising costs, irritation of the recipient because he receives two or three mails or different messages.
  • Incompleteness: Important contact or address information is missing and complicates downstream processes, e.g. sales opportunities are unfortunately lost through personalization and individualization.
  • Lack of a standard: In check-out, data is captured by differing attribute fields and subsequently not merged in a meaningful way
  • Package returns: If the address is recorded incorrectly and not validated/corrected, this unnecessarily increases the returns rate. Customer annoyance due to delayed delivery.

Our 1st interim conclusion:

Maintained customer data has always been important and its importance is increasing – especially in eCommerce – as nearly 70% of all companies surveyed in the “From failed deliveries to a high delivery rate” study by loqate report an increase in their online sales.

Faulty deliveries are therefore becoming an increasingly large cost center in companies, because in addition to the additional costs of a failed delivery, customers expect compensation after a failed package delivery. Additionally, this negative experience influences future buying behavior. Furthermore, this dissatisfaction makes the end consumer more willing to post a negative review online or in private.

Under these aspects, the costs for the ongoing maintenance of address data represent a lower effort compared to the described negative effects. In addition, this effort can promote the company’s own business, as a high success rate in deliveries increases customer satisfaction, making recurring purchases more likely.

The better the data quality, the better the key figures and the better the strategic control of the company.

Ongoing address validation is therefore less costly and time-consuming than correcting and limiting damage in the event of an incorrect delivery.

To put it simply, loqate, like many in the field, refers to the 1-10-100 rule

This rule states that the quality of the data already takes place when it is entered. For example, checking a data record when it is entered costs only 1 euro. In contrast, a later correction costs 10 euros. If a company does not take care of data quality over a longer period of time, the costs increase to 100 euros per data record. In addition to the cost factor, this does not even take into account the time and decision quality components …

Loqate prevents data problems from occurring in the first place

The solutions offered by loqate enable every customer to avoid incomplete data sets and the associated problems. The cleansing of existing databases through batch checks is also an option.

Avoiding erroneous data being imported into a database is possible through numerous real-time address validation solutions.

What we liked very much:

All individual solutions can be combined as desired to meet individual needs. The simple integration particularly stands out at this point. This one advantage is additionally complemented by the low-code customization option. In other words: only low-code knowledge is sufficient for the implementation. Loqate is a product for DAX corporations, SMEs as well as for the “corner store”.

Easy integration makes loqate valuable:

The simply designed web interfaces mean that there are no further hurdles to the integration of loqate. This is the feedback loqate receives again and again from the field. And we also confirm it. The products are absolutely well thought-out. The focus is not exclusively on the pure end product, but on the integration and the application. This decision is of elementary importance, because the success of a software is not only based on what it can do – but also lives from the users. The best use of a software is always possible when integration and usability are also user-friendly. And this is what we see at loqate after the detailed presentation.

The solutions from loqate at a glance:

After considering the context of why loqate’s solutions are relevant to today’s ordering processes, the most important ones are considered below.

At a glance – loqate’s solutions are:

  • Worldwide API for address validation
    • Address search
    • Address check
  • Email address validation
  • Phone number validation
  • Geocoding
  • Bank data validation

The worldwide address validation

A great strength of loqate, which convinced us right from the start, was the approach to address validation. The approach chosen by loqate focuses not only on the quality of the addresses, but also on the user experience of the users of, for example, an online store. The buyer is excellently “guided2 so that a correctly entered address or correct data is created without any effort.

Loqate breaks with old patterns that are still often found in web stores.

Up to now, shoppers have been used to entering the billing address to complete an online purchase. After first name, last name, the street name, the house number, zip code and place of residence and so on. Then came the check and the indication that there is some error. This is annoying, because the errors could be detected earlier. If no check is made at all, then all the worse. Then you have a wrong address, a return and an unsatisfied customer

This problem can be gallantly avoided with loqate. By means of an upstream address search before the address fields, the end user can, for example, enter his street and house number and select the appropriate street for his city in the drop-down menu that opens. All other fields are then automatically and correctly filled in according to the address format. This process is faster, less error-prone and more fun for the end user.

Another advantage is the address search:

Only addresses that actually exist are valid for input. So-called “Mickey Mouse addresses” (nixies or undeliverable) are not accepted by the system. This has advantages on both sides: The user cannot select address data due to errors in his own input, which he then has to correct manually after all. On the other hand, only valid, actually existing addresses are included in a database and subsequent cleaning becomes unnecessary.

loqate also offers the option of address checks. This is important if end customers do not use the address search option. This case is still an important function in practice. From various loqate customer projects, the experience has emerged that older customers fill in all address fields manually to an above-average extent.

After manual entry, the address is not yet validated. For this reason, the filled fields are merged into one address after entry and then validation takes place in the background. If this is not an existing address, this is detected during the check. An incorrect address is then analyzed and a drop-down list of suggested corrections is displayed, which can be quickly selected.

The information about the addresses comes from the postal companies of the countries as well as from private providers.

Interim conclusion on address validation

Loqate impresses with a quick comprehensibility of its solutions and enables a pleasant usability through drop-down suggestions, whether mobile or desktop. The message that this is a worldwide API for address validation quickly becomes clear.

Email address validation

The validation of e-mail addresses by loqate offers advantages not only for webshop operators and their customers. The provider can immediately communicate with the customer and sell.

A practical example:

A customer ordered a model worth 1.500€ in the webshop of a coffee machine producer and gave an incorrect email address during the check-out. Since the order confirmation was not received by email within the next few minutes, the customer assumed that the order had not been placed. For this reason, he ordered the coffee machine for the second time for 1.500€ – but did not repeat the mistake during check-out – and this time also received his order confirmation. When three days later two coffee machines worth 3.000€ appeared in front of the customer’s door, the first shock and the effort to clarify this misunderstanding of the customer is easy to understand.

The above example quickly shows why mail validation is an important issue. With this solution from loqate, such a misunderstanding would not have occurred in the first place. However, should an unusual order behavior by the customer still occur, the customer’s O.K. for the execution of this order could be obtained via an inquiry by mail.

Loqate validates e-mail addresses by means of a ping check procedure to the respective mail server. The result of the ping is always output transparently by loqate and will be explained using the example below:

Layout: e-mail validation from loqate

The email address florian.braun@1a-relations.com was checked. The most important result of this validation is the ResponseCode. This provides information about the detail in which the validation could be performed. The result always depends on how far a domain can be rooted. So: How much information to which level of the Domain Name System (DNS) gives the mail server. Based on this, the following answers are possible:

    • Valid: The mail address was fully validated
    • Valid_CatchAll: The domain of the address has been validated, but the UserAccount has not
    • Invalid: The mail address is not valid
    • Timeout: The validation process could not be completed because there was no response in the period for a timeout

Validation of the phone number:

Another practical feature of loqate is the phone number validation. This is based on a database and returns a wide variety of variables during the validation, which can then be used to enrich existing data in a DSGVO-compliant manner.

Layout: Validation phone number from loqate

As the above example shows, a phone number is matched to see if the phone number is known in the database. If a number is not known or does not meet the format requirements, this result is transparently returned to the user.

Use of data from address validation

Now we come to what we consider to be the exciting part, which offers many possibilities – the distinction between mobile number or landline number is an important criterion for many marketing decisions and is helpful to refine them. For this, loqate provides an exciting example from practice:

When deciding to send order details to a phone number via SMS, the distinction between mobile and landline is crucial. If a mobile phone number receives an SMS, this is not spectacular and can at most be perceived as annoying if it is received at unusual times. The situation is much different for a fixed network number. If an SMS with order details is now sent to the fixed network, the customer’s phone rings and when the receiver is picked up, the message is read out by an electronic announcement voice. There is no need to describe further what impression this experience leaves on the end customer, for example at a late hour.

From a data mining point of view, the output variables also offer exciting possibilities. The provider of a telephone number can be combined with other variables, e.g., the region, to analyze behavior.

About Geocoding:

Another important feature offered by loqate is geocoding. At this point, loqate’s capabilities are convincing with solutions that are suitable for practical use.

Reverse geocoding provides the correct addresses for entered coordinates. Conversely, the output of coordinates during address validation is the standard. For the future, however, a completely different approach will be exciting:

Location identification is taking a new approach. Thanks to the cooperation with What3Words, it is now possible for loqate to describe and find every location worldwide with three words. This is because What3Words has divided the world into 3m X 3m squares and given them a unique combination of three words.

This approach makes giving coordinates much simpler and more intuitive for everyone. Instead of remembering a coordinate with longitude and latitude, “rose, hat, swim” is used instead to describe a location.

On the one hand, this method is less prone to errors, since the human brain remembers terms better than abstract numerical sequences, and on the other hand, it is also learned more quickly and stored in long-term memory.

In the B2C area when sending customer orders, loqate and What3Words provide a promising solution to avoid failed deliveries.

Target group: companies: For whom is the use of loqate suitable?

  • Basically all company sizes
    • One serves a large DAX corporation – but also companies of the “corner store” type
  • Especially eCommerce

Beyond that:

  • Banks
  • Insurances
  • Telecommunications
  • Tour operator

Target group users – For whom is the use of loqate suitable?

  • Address and data quality specialists
  • CRM users
  • CRM data administrators
  • Address managers

Interim Conclusion:

In many companies, address validation and verification has been an unloved child for years. This requires time and financial resources. Loqate offers various tools for every need that check and correct data as it is entered. Additionally, the cleansing of existing data is possible without too much effort.

Interim conclusion on address validation

The validation of address data is possible in different ways. Address search and address check provide the user with two options for supporting and simplifying address entry on his site, while validation takes place on the operator’s side. loqate also passed the plausibility check with flying colors.

For example, if a user decides not to use either address search or address check, errors in the input are detected and corrected. If the postal code is in the city name, this does not lead to an error message, but is corrected and specified in the backend via an AVC code.

Availability

The functions of loqate are available as standard – but this is not set in stone. Requests for a custom implementation are followed up in the same way.

Loqate not only provides a simple software solution, but also adapts it to its customers. By focusing on ease of implementation, user-friendliness and different options for address validation, a product is created that serves needs from start to finish.

Who are references?

An excerpt of cross-industry references can be found here.

The assessment in detail.

Interface / Look & Feel / Usability

+: The interface of the demo is kept simple and straightforward.

Big advantage: You can’t get “lost” as a user when using it for the first time. Nevertheless, the whole thing does not become too simplistic when a better familiarity develops. The labeling of the fields is clear and the sequence is structured in an understandable way. In the same way, the documentation is designed in understandable language for every user.

+: Guides are a good advantage when getting started.

The guides make it easy to get started, and the implementation is explained clearly – the ratio of text and images is particularly praiseworthy here.

-: For an even more intuitive operation, a clearer visual feedback can be given after, for example, the analysis of a mail. For example, a traffic light can quickly tell the user whether a mail is valid, the ping is possible, or was not possible at all.

+: Familiarization with the work and the analysis of the results does not take too much time and can be learned even by newcomers.

Interim Conclusion:

Good structure of the user interface. The backend is also clearly structured and shows the performed steps again in detail and quickly helps with further understanding.

Benefit / added value for users

+: The use of loqate is possible directly without adjustments and can be implemented quickly because the integration was designed to be developer-friendly. Thus, the added value of an address check, for example, can be used directly. However, an individual design is always possible.

+: Time wasters such as researching contact data are reduced in the long term in day-to-day business through loqate. The quality of existing data is improved by the tools for validation and new data is less likely to contain errors when entered.

+: Frequently occurring problem cases are already mapped by loqate through a best practice regulation.

+: Pricing model only applies if the customer is actually helped. With loqate, you don’t pay every time you enter an address, but only when a user uses the suggestions from the address search and also clicks on them. This way, the costs for the customers are clearer and easier to allocate.

+: Loqate offers pricing models for everyone:

  • With budgets of 75€, 150€, 300€ and 850€, beginners can get to know the product and already use it in a valid amount. The budget can be divided among all loqate services and does not have to be purchased separately for each.
  • If the highest budget limit is no longer sufficient, individual conditions can be agreed via account managers.
  • If a customer is regionally active in only one country, a price outside the mixed calculation can be agreed at this point.

Other uses:

By batch: Possibly when migrating data from different databases, a check of the data can first be made at this point. For example, the decision can be made to take over only data of good quality.

Interfaces exist today to the following systems:

    • Xentral
    • Shopware
    • Magneto
    • WooCommerce
    • Salesforce
    • BoldCommerce
    • Drupal
    • Microsoft Dynamics 365
    • BigCommerce
    • Joomla
    • Shopify
    • PrestaShop
    • Squarespace
    • Zoho
    • WordPress
    • Wix
    • Weebly

Our conclusion – The benefit:

The loqate team will quickly show you what you can achieve with your product to improve address quality. loqate’s services include all the important data that is generated during an order process and so a holistic address validation can take place in the check-out process.

Loqate clearly shows how the product features work and how they can be combined to map specific cases in practice. What is particularly positive at this point is the clear and distinct feedback that the customer receives after the data checks. Nothing is glossed over, but what could and could not be done is clearly explained – this creates trust.

Loqate draws on a wealth of experience and, as part of GBG, brings further expertise that goes beyond that of a pure specialist. In addition, strategic partnerships such as with What3Words secure potential for the future.

In addition to simple integration, the loqate team helps companies address a complex and time-consuming issue such as the quality of address data. Satisfaction with the product will be quickly realized by the user due to the comprehensible and customized software.

Prices:

Prices can be found at a glance here.

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You can find our provider comparison on address and data quality here.

You can find more information about address quality in a free whitepaper here.

 

Note: This is a machine translation. It is neither 100% complete nor 100% correct. We can therefore not guarantee the result.

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