Automatic address completion: what is it and how does it work?

Automatic address completionThe evolution of web and digital technologies has also forced a change in shipment methods. The management of more and more orders force the automation of procedures that were once faced heuristically. One of these procedures is the automatic completion of postal addresses that represents an opportunity to seize both for the traditional companies and ecommerce businesses that need a modern online sales channel. For these and other business needs, it is necessary to optimize the data collection through the automatic address completion. This function can be easily implemented in the purchase forms. What happens when the users start typing their own address? Let’s see how the automatic address completion works and what it is.

THE PRINCIPLE OF AUTOMATIC ADDRESS COMPLETION

Nowadays, web users have specific needs such as speed, clarity, easiness and transparency. There are just some of the users’ requirements when they navigate either from their PC or mobile phones. Therefore, if you propose an obsolete environment where data is processed without any reliable criterion, you will be inevitably overcome by more structured and updated competitors. Google has played a determinant role in this scenario, thanks to the implementation of the automatic completion system which has now become a milestone on the web. Since Google, the most popular browser in the Western world, has introduced the autocomplete system for searches, millions of people have experienced the pleasure of seeing their requests fulfilled within a few hundredths of a second. And with extreme precision.

The same principle was then replicated in ecommerce forms, websites and more. How? Easily: when the user starts entering his/her address, a few fields of the form give the most plausible completion alternatives. That is exactly what happens when we start entering a question (i.e. a query) on Google. The user can select the alternative that seems more correct without entering other values. In other words, starting from a portion of an address, it is possible to deduce other data including the town, the country, the zip code, the province etc. This saves time, improves the purchasing experience of the final customer and prevents the risk of errors caused by distractions or carelessness. Let’s analyse the two autocomplete versions that are used in the forms.

SINGLE LINE AND MULTI-LINE AUTOCOMPLETE VERSION

Moving from theory to practice, we can see two main scenarios. In the first case, the form is comprised of only one line which is useful to complete on the basis of a list of automatic suggestions, an address with or without a house number. In the second case, which is the most popular version, the form is multi-lined and it is called a smart form. The fields are separated (address, town, country, etc.) and, after a field is completed, in the field itself and in the other fields, some suggestions for the automatic completion are provided; then, the user clicks the correct option and confirms it. One detail is essential: the options are consistent with one another so any mistake is avoided at once. It is possible to set a constraint in order that the suggested fields are not changed but this option might be unpleasant to some users.

THE ADDRESS VALIDATION IN BACK OFFICE…

What we have described so far is the front end scenario that occurs on a website available for the user, but we have to consider the back office too because, in the administration panel, there is another important opportunity to check data for the web master or the person in charge of entering data (i.e. the customer service, warehouse, courier). In this case, we are referring to the validation of postal addresses because it is possible to launch the reclamation of the address itself and check if the information is correct, updated and complete. This is useful in many cases, for example, when the user has forgotten to complete a field or when the user has modified a datum during the automatic completion phase. The validation guarantees that the address is complete, correct and consistent with the data recorded in the software file at that precise moment.

…AND THE POSTAL FORMAT FOR MORE THAN 250 COUNTRIES WORLDWIDE

In our global and interconnected world, the consumers’ habits overpass frontiers and customs. The orders of products and items are placed in countries that are often very distant from the purchaser’s, such as China, United States, Korea, Australia and so on. It is important to use validation and autocomplete software capable of achieving its task of formatting the address according to the pattern used in the country where the parcel will be shipped. This is not a detail because each country has a specific shipment format that can differ from the format used in another country. If you don’t consider this aspect and you write the address as it was entered, the carrier or the postal office might have some difficulties delivering the parcel.

That is why Egon software offers a very complete service because the database contains more than 250 countries and the address validation system allows you to format the input data and turn it into output data that is checked, reclaimed, updated and ready for shipment. Consequently, the management of the ecommerce business is improved, the ratio of time & cost saving is more positive, the customer satisfaction and brand awareness are higher as well as all the other issues that determine the success or failure of a company. It doesn’t matter how much your business is developed, if you want to achieve high quality, you need an autocomplete system that meets your expectations. So, try Egon demo version and decide if and how to integrate our software in your sales portal or in your ERP. The future of shipment is here: discover it now!