Ask Capacity: Why Are Address Verification Systems Important for e-Commerce?

June 4, 2017

If we told you that as much as 60% of all order-related issues could be fixed if your e-commerce orders passed through address verification systems (AVS) you would be interested, no? You’d think it’s a good idea, yes? 

We’re not assuming you know what AVS is: we didn’t, but we’re ready to share what we’ve learned about this incredibly powerful tool for e-commerce retailers. 

address verification systems error issues

Capacity captures systems- and staff-generated notes for each order we ship. The above shows a breakdown for the 10,000 or so non-system generated notes year-to-date for the first four months of 2017. There is a significant multiple of this in the last four months of the year.

This year alone, more than 6,000 orders were held up by address issues.

What Are Address Verification Systems?

Address verification systems check to confirm that an address conforms to the requirements of the major shippers. For some like USPS this may mean putting the apartment or suite on the Address 2 line, due to the very short character limits in their system (35, if you’re counting.) Yes, if your website allows your consumers to exceed the character limits of your chosen carrier, you’re out of luck, and so is your hapless provider.

Capacity’s system captures notes for numerous reasons and to exchange data between Operations and Client Service. By far the number one driver of this important tool for internal communication consists of issues which could be prevented by AVS.

Can you imagine how much additional bandwidth our team would gain if we could remove 60% of this unnecessary back-and-forth?

return to sender labels

We could focus our attention on those areas where we can really impress you and delight your clients, as opposed to just trying to get the darn orders into the system in a way we can ship them. The old adage of bad data in / bad data out was never so true as when it comes to this issue.

Some of the most common issues we have are:

1. Bad zip codes
2. City and State don’t match
3. Address information exceeds character limit (is on wrong line)
4. Bad address

And those are just some of the most common ones. There are many which were too small to even capture in the chart.

AVS Software Providers

So who can help with this you ask? There are a number of providers who offer AVS and other data entry aids like auto-complete and any number of features which can enhance your consumer’s experience and improve deliverability.

PCA Predict offers products including address lookup and verification, email and phone number verification, address data cleansing and store location.

Smarty Streets claims to have ‘Ridiculously Simple’ and comprehensive address verification. And there are others – we don’t use any and recommend performing your own review of available providers.

One major Capacity client just implemented AVS. They have been consistently hitting over 25,000 orders during peak sale periods, and high five figures around Black Friday. There was a huge collective sigh of relief from both them and us once this solution was deployed. It was actually exciting to enter a test order in their site and see it truncate key entry in the Address 1 line at the 36th character.

Yes, we get a thrill out of the weirdest things: that is why we get logistics. When your and our reputation is on the line, we both have to be able to support our clients’ rapidly scaling businesses. That’s the kind of solution we applaud.