Address Verification

What is Address Standardization

By 5 October 2021October 7th, 2021No Comments

Address Standardization Solutions for Your Business

Address standardization is the procedure to cleanse, parse, format, validate, and verify your addresses in the standard USPS format. These steps are essential to ensure effective mailings, without wastages and delays. Businesses widely make use of address standardization services to maintain an accurate database and fulfill their orders on time. It helps them to control misspending and carry out their business operations smoothly. You can easily avoid expensive mistakes by standardizing and validating the addresses in your mailing lists beforehand and being prepared for efficient communications. Excellent customer relationships, save time and resources, reduced manual efforts, improved accuracy, and more conversions are the prime benefits of using an address standardization tool — PostGrid helps you to avail them all.

Address parsing or correction

USPS is in a better position to deliver your mails when you take care to standardize the addresses mentioned on them. Address standardization is required for a number of purposes, the top ones being avoiding wrong deliveries and fulfilling your orders precisely. PostGrid performs all tasks required under address standardization – correcting misspelled words, filling in missing details, formatting abbreviations, adding ZIP+4 codes, returning CASS verified addresses, and so on.

  • Prevent lost packages and misplaced direct mail pieces
  • Manage your data with regular scrubbing and updations
  • Speed up deliveries and improve conversions

What Is Bad Address Data and What Are the Problems Related to It?

Bad data can cause a lot of trouble for you and your customers. It consists of the uncleansed, inaccurate, incorrect, unstandardized, and outdated addresses stored on your system. This kind of data is classified as bad data and is of no use to anyone. Companies collect data from a number of sources and make a database with years of effort. However, it is a waste to possess data that is invalid and undeliverable. Similarly, it also causes problems for your mailing vendors and customers. Overall, bad data leads to a loss of $3 trillion every year in the United States- and the amount is increasing day by day.

Problems caused to companies: Businesses need to send out direct mailings, shipments, and business communications – for marketing, selling, and transactional purposes respectively. Bad data is responsible for interrupting their daily operations and delaying everything. The company might sometimes send out mails through first-class services, which are particularly expensive. If such mails get misplaced, the company will have to suffer huge losses. In totality, orders shipped to vacant, invalid, and incorrect addresses will always lead to some loss.

Problems caused to mailing services: The main job of mailing vendors is to pick up packages and to deliver them to the mentioned address. But, unverified and unstandardized addresses make their work very slow and tiresome. Hence, they are not able to fulfill deliveries on time, affecting their business.

Problems caused to customers: People order the things they require from various online stores and websites- expecting them to reach on time. Bad data can absolutely destroy their expectations and they might never want to buy online again.

The Reasons Resulting in Bad Data Are:

Outdated addresses – People from the US keep moving from time to time in search of affordable and suitable housing. So it is possible that the addresses you have today will get outdated by next year or even next month. Not all people inform the authorities about their move, making it difficult to collect and store correct addresses.

Poor data management – Most companies pay very little attention to data management. Many times, the techniques used for data maintenance are not very effective. There are absolutely no rules pertaining to data quality — making it clear that there is no education or training imparted to employees about data management. A lot of companies are still hesitant to invest in data management tools, even after facing huge annual losses due to bad data.

Data migration – In the case of acquisitions, mergers, and amalgamations, data is often migrated from one system to another- leading to thousands of errors, misplacements, and imbalance. Data migration can affect the data’s quality severely.

If there is one solution to all of the problems, it is — Address standardization. It can help eradicate bad data and replace it with high-quality addresses. Along with structural issues, there are other problems with addresses like valid addresses that don’t exist, standardized addresses that are incorrect, and invalid addresses that exist. Hence, standardization and validation should go hand in hand. PostGrid’s address verification services help you to get precise and useful data anytime. You can also use our API for direct mails and standardize addresses, right at the point of entry, so that all current and future correspondences are done smoothly.

How Does Address Standardization Work?

There are two ways to go about with address standardization — manual and automated. Traditionally, some companies have been taking the hard way and manually formatting their addresses. However, using address verification software and address standardization software, and automating the entire process is so much smarter.

Manual Process

The most popular way to manually edit addresses is using a number of filters and formulas on excel files. As easy as it sounds — there is quite some technical knowledge required if you want to standardize addresses using this method. Some data managers might use some programming languages or spreadsheet applications to perform these tasks, while others keep it plain and cent percent manual. In either case, it takes months or sometimes years to standardize all the addresses in a file as per the USPS guidelines. Moreover, your employees might also have to call up the customers to confirm their addresses, as manual address standardization does not include validation. It is not wrong to say that manual data maintenance can constitute a permanent and full-time job. Even after carrying out these hectic tasks, there are high possibilities that the data is still inaccurate and undeliverable.

Automated Process

Address standardization can be easily done through an automated process using software or address verification API like PostGrid. This way, you can standardize one or a million addresses at the same time. PostGrid can readily help you in fixing errors, correcting misspellings, checking abbreviations, adding delivery point validation codes, running national and international address verification checks, and so much more. Additionally, through automation software — you can get a consolidated view of your database. Our software is capable of showing you errors like missing details and non-printable characters, before correcting them. It encourages you to adopt a more constructive approach towards your data, the sources to collect it, and its management. Using our API, you can check every address at the entry stage and make your work much easier.

Why is Address Standardization So Important?

If you are still wondering whether you require address standardization, this section is for you. It is important to know how address standardization can make a huge difference in your company’s performance.

Optimize Business Operations

All small-scale and large-scale companies need to fulfill orders as part of their daily business operations. It is a vital part of sales. Obviously, these companies require addresses to mail the shipments. But the addresses are not always correct. In fact, most of the time, the addresses have some issues, making them undeliverable. Businesses have a tough time correcting them. Moreover, they might not know whether an address is correct and are likely to send their packages to wrong or invalid addresses. These actions can interrupt the entire structure of their business — it can affect all the people in a company at every level. When packages are continuously sent on incorrect mailing addresses, the number of returned and delayed mails will increase, resulting in a sharp fall in sales. The company will have to either refund their customers’ money or resend the shipments that are misplaced, lost, or returned, causing great troubles. Address standardization is capable of solving all these problems easily.

Reduce Wastages

Time is a very important factor for businesses. We all have heard that time is money. It is indeed true and is specifically relevant to companies. However, some companies still waste a lot of time manually editing addresses and calling up every customer for confirmation. Though initially, it might sound like a cheap way to get the task done; it is ultimately very expensive. No manual editing can match the level of an address standardization software. Furthermore, manual efforts are always prone to mistakes. If a parcel is returned, your employees will need to do everything again, hence wasting a lot of time and resources. Some packages are lost and are not even returned to you. Even if the cost of the product was low, it is important to remember that it is not the only package that your company sent out. There is a possibility that most of your shipments will not be delivered, resulting in a huge waste of money and time. Reshipping to international addresses is very expensive and can drain out your resources unnecessarily. Hence, automating your address standardization and verification processes is a must. The USPS also gives good discounts when all the standardization rules are followed, thus helping you save a lot on postal charges.

Address standardization and validation

Accelerate Delivery Rates

On-time and efficient deliveries help companies complete their tasks and get more sales. Customers will re-order from your brand only if their first deliveries were fulfilled without any issues. Address standardization can help you to make an excellent first impression and induce your customers to keep ordering from you. Repeat business is a good way to keep a brand up and running for years. But along with repeat orders, companies are required to get new businesses as well. They can’t always rely on their old customers. In this scenario, brands have to keep all their old, new, and potential customers satisfied — which can happen when delivery rates are accelerated and lost mails are reduced. Address standardization plays an important role in ensuring deliveries. Also, while conducting direct mail campaigns, standardized addresses can help facilitate smooth deliveries and boost conversions. It enables you to parse, standardize, validate, and verify addresses — to speed up the work of the USPS and allow them to complete the deliveries without any hassles.

Helps in Data Cleaning and Maintenance

Collecting and storing data is not enough — data hygiene is important. Addresses keep changing from time to time. Many people shift to other cities or states either leaving their old house vacant or giving its possession to other people. Oftentimes, these changes are not updated causing failed deliveries. Therefore, regular cleaning and updating your data is the need of the hour. PostGrid’s address standardization services can help you run regular checks on your data. Our platform or API can correct and update all your addresses in one go. PostGrid uses the NCOA (National Change of Address) system to update your addresses after short intervals. Our database is updated many times a year, ensuring that the returned addresses are up-to-date and mailable. Data hygiene can help you get better responses and high conversions during your direct mail campaigns.

Builds Brand Image and Improves Credibility

Brand reputation is built and enhanced — by good customer service, exceptional user experience, and fast deliveries. It can take you years to build your company’s reputation, but only a few undelivered packages spoil it. Hence, companies take extra care to keep their customers happy. People will trust your brand after experiencing your services and being satisfied with them. You do not want to upset your clients, as one bad review on social media is enough to tarnish your image. Retaining customers is not easy, but address standardization can help you out. Using PostGrid’s services, you can be ahead of your competitors and create a name for your brand. If your shipments are not delivered on time, you will lose your customers and reputation by bad publicity. Marketers can plan and avoid these situations by using a smart address standardization tool. It will standardize your addresses as per the USPS guidelines and verify them, making sure that everything falls in place.

Better Marketing Strategies

Direct mails are a popular channel of offline marketing. They help companies to make a powerful impact on their audience and connect with them personally using tangible marketing collateral. With inaccurate data in hand, it is impossible to conduct direct mail campaigns. Address standardization gives you the freedom to make your mailing lists deliverable and useful. Businesses draft many marketing strategies to reach out to their existing and potential audiences, direct mailing being one of them. Access to a precise database can help marketers plan their marketing campaigns confidently and get high engagement rates. They are able to conduct their marketing efforts flexibly using address standardization and verification services.

PostGrid’s address standardization services can help you own high-quality data and use it productively. It allows you to conduct your business activities smoothly and avoids all kinds of wastages. As a helping aid, our platform and API are capable of improving your company’s performance levels and increasing your employee’s morale.

Features of PostGrid’s Address Standardization Services

Our address standardization solutions are an all-around method to manage your database and increase efficient deliveries. There are a lot of features that come with these solutions to ensure that all the returned addresses are standardized, valid, and deliverable.

CASS Certification

PostGrid is a CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) certified software. CASS is a certification developed and maintained by the USPS. It certifies address validation tools capable of fulfilling all the USPS requirements. Our platform and API follows all the instructions of the USPS and fulfill every requirement. PostGrid renews its CASS certification every year. It facilitates our software to return correctly standardized addresses that can be read by the USPS easily.

International Formatting

Companies dealing with international clients are required to send shipments globally. While sending mails on international addresses, the postal requirements of the destination country should be adhered to. Standardizing addresses as per international formats can be challenging due to language barriers and missing delivery point details. PostGrid geocodes, transliterates, and standardizes the international addresses into the required format and as per the required standards. You can get access to accurate global data and ship internationally with our international address standardization services.

Address Parsing

Address parsing is very important. It breaks down an address into various fields to differentiate between them. The USPS reads all addresses upwards from the bottom, which means that they first consider the ZIP code of an address, moving up to the state, city, and so on. The address is likely to be treated as invalid if proper address parsing is not done initially. It is very important for standardizing. Address standardization is done effectively only after address parsing. The components are filled up in respective address lines and are then standardized according to the standard format.

Address Verification

After an address is standardized in the required format, it is compared with the official database. All addresses standardized by PostGrid are returned only after being validated and verified. Standardization only converts an address into a particular format, it does not tell you whether it is correct and mailable. Hence, PostGrid returns an address after parsing, standardizing, validating, and verifying — so that it is completely useful. Our records are updated frequently, ensuring that the returned addresses are updated.

Deduplication

Databases can have thousands of repeated entries — which are difficult to identify due to different formats. PostGrid processes your entire database at once, standardizes all the addresses, and automatically removes the duplicates. With the help of deduplication, you can save a lot of effort and money put into sending direct mail pieces to the same addresses. Also, you can have the right idea regarding the number of addresses in your mailing lists.

Accepts Inputs in Any Format

Sometimes the addresses are stored in different formats over a system — an excel sheet, a CSV file, or a SQL database. PostGrid can clean and standardize addresses entered in any format. By integrating your system with our API, you can standardize addresses on any platform you want.

Abbreviations

Words like street, avenue, and suite are written differently by different people. However, there is only one correct abbreviation for each word — making all the other abbreviations invalid. PostGrid’s address standardization tool returns addresses with the correct abbreviations. It removes the scopes of guesswork and incorrect interpretations. Oftentimes, a lot of deliveries fail due to incorrect interpretation of abbreviations.

Spellings

Our platform and API correct all typing errors and spelling mistakes. It takes care of spacing, capitalization, and spelling. Typos and non-printable letters are responsible for a lot of delayed and incorrect deliveries. So it is significant to use the right spellings. Sometimes, there are two street names that are very similar. A simple spelling error can cause the delivery person to reach the wrong street. Also, the USPS segments mail for deliveries according to the address components. If a word is misspelled, the mails can end up in the wrong places.

ZIP+4 Codes

Adding ZIP+4 codes to your regular 5 digit ZIP codes is not mandatory, but recommended. The extra 4 digits help in delivering your packages faster as they narrow down the address search. It is very easy to locate an address with the help of these digits. PostGrid adds them to all your addresses while standardizing.

Data Enhancement

There are a lot of details about addresses that are usually missed out on while entering. For example, the street does not only have a name — but also a suffix, a number, and a pre and post-directional. These extra details are seldom filled in by people. But it affects the delivery rates significantly. PostGrid can help you enhance your database by filling in all the missing details and cleansing it regularly.

Data Export

PostGrid allows you to load the entire data in the required format and export it to your team. There is no need to manually copy and paste the addresses from one file to another. Our API can help you to create master records easily.

Delivery Point Validation

The DPV (Delivery Point Validation) codes are meant to state the deliverability of an address. The code DPV-1 indicates a deliverable address, whereas the other codes DPV-2, DPV-3, and DPV-4 mean that there are incorrect details inputted.

Some Examples of the USPS Standardization Guidelines that PostGrid Follows

As a CASS certified software, PostGrid follows all the USPS guidelines regarding address standardization. Some of them are listed below:

  • Capital Letters: The USPS guidelines clearly states that all the alphabets should be in capital letters. If your addresses have mixed letters or small letters, they are not standardized as per them.
  • Punctuations: Another requirement of the USPS is that there should be no punctuations. Punctuations can be confusing to the address reading machines; they often change the meaning of a component. For example, some people might put a comma between the suite number and street number. Some people don’t put a comma between these numbers, which makes the machine believe that both the numbers constitute the apartment number. In this situation, the apartment and the street are both difficult to find. Therefore, the USPS says no to punctuations.
  • Spaces: The USPS is also pretty specific about spacing. There should only be a single space between the city and state name. Moreover, care should be taken that there are exactly two spaces between the state name and the ZIP code. Again, these steps are required so that their machines can read all the address components accurately and not make any errors.
  • Attention Line: Attention lines must always appear on the top. Many people insert the attention lines either at the bottom of the page or below the ZIP code — both of which are wrong. The attention line does not constitute as part of an address. Inserting these lines anywhere else will create confusions. The USPS treats the top line as the attention line, no matter where it is inserted. Therefore, due care should be taken while drafting an address.
  • Apartment Numbers: If an apartment or suite number is not fitting on the address 1 line, you are supposed to put it on the top, but below the attention line. Address readings can go wrong, if secondary unit numbers are put on the address 2 or below fields. To avoid this mistake, ensure that all your apartment numbers are entered on the address 1 field or above, never below.
  • Directionals: East, west, north, and south are directionals and are very important to the USPS, in order to deliver your mails correctly. These words need to be mentioned in your addresses clearly and precisely.

All these guidelines seem to be easy-to-follow. But when you need to ship packages every day and in large quantities — these instructions can get hectic. PostGrid’s address standardization services take care of every guideline extensively.

Wrapping Up

Address standardization is widely used by several e-commerce platforms, online stores, restaurants, home rental services providers, print publishers, and other businesses to facilitate deliveries and carry on their tasks steadily. Offline businesses also require these services to drive the audience to their online platforms. PostGrid’s address standardization solutions are meant to eradicate the problems of bad data, improve business communications, and facilitate marketing activities. They help you to fulfill the requirements of the USPS and speed up deliveries. Also, you are able to receive attractive discounts when you follow all the guidelines and make the work easier for them.

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