The Google Maps Platform (GMP) team has announced the general availability of its new Address Validation API. This is great news for retailers as this nifty addition is aimed at reducing the estimated 5-10% of unsuccessful deliveries in services using last mile delivery technology (check out The Sustainable Last Mile, Accenture 2021 for more details).
The benefits of Address Validation include an improved user experience at sign-up and checkout, greater accuracy of recorded data, and, of course, fewer of those costly errors associated with failed deliveries. According to Statista, the average failed delivery in the UK costs £11.60 while in the US it costs $17.20. When you consider that these figures will multiply greatly in the context of the aforementioned unsuccessful delivery rates, they become a problem that retailers everywhere need to address ASAP. Luckily, GMP and the Address Validation API are more than up for the job.
I hear you shout, "How does Address Validation differ from other GMP APIs that we already use? How is it any different from Autocomplete or Geocoding?” Stay with me – I’ll tell you.
Let’s start with Autocomplete vs Address Validation. Autocomplete is an auto-suggest type-ahead solution that helps with speeding up address entry, i.e. it wants to work out what you’re typing and finish your details for you. This is definitely handy but the drawback here is that prioritising the user’s entry experience doesn’t guarantee the validity of the addresses being suggested. Ergo, unsuccessful deliveries are still a concern. In comparison, Address Validation determines whether a given address exists and can therefore be used for account sign-up, checkout or delivery. Effectively, with Address Validation you gain the ability to verify sub-premises (such as flat or apartment numbers) which will further improve the delivery experience for both your customer and your couriers.
Now, let’s move on to Geocoding vs Address Validation. Geocoding converts addresses to geographic coordinates and vice versa. It focuses on identifying a real-world location based on a given input. Similarly to Autocomplete, this is also handy, but the drawback here is that Geocoding may identify a location that is either different from the input address or omits certain parts of it. Address Validation combats this drawback by focusing on the input address and providing confirmation level per component. This allows you to provide feedback to your users on how to correct all parts of an invalid address and move unsuccessful deliveries closer to being a thing of the past.
Organisations are already reaping the benefits of Address Validation – Slerp (a US online ordering system) definitely is anyway. Discussing their use of this new API, their Product Manager Joanna Tan highlighted that Address Validation has led to Slerp cutting down their geocoding errors; in turn, this has led to the improved efficiency of their Operations Team.
It’s good to know that organisations are embracing Address Validation within their operations especially considering that roughly 26% of all UK retail business is now conducted online (again, according to Statista). This being a significant portion of business means that it would be a great idea for any organisation with an eCommerce or logistics and delivery function to prioritise the quality and accuracy of their customers’ address data. After all, customers tend to be happier when they actually receive what they pay for.
GMP offers organisations many ways to locate the value in their data. In fact, the mantra we have here is ‘More Than Just A Map’. Engaging users with meaningful, relevant and interactive location information that uses the base map, street view or aerial imagery is just one area that GMP and Ancoris works in with our customers. When you add in a mix of the 18 APIs available through GMP, that's where the real magic happens – Address Validation is just a small, but very important, part of the whole.
If you would like to discover the real magic of GMP and its many APIs, why not contact our Google Maps specialists? Our specialists have all the knowledge you need to review your current situation and help you overcome your toughest obstacles. Want to get to the next level? Think Big, Start Now – contact us today.