Data Enrichment & Validation

Guide to Postal Address Cleansing and Address Autocomplete Services

October 20, 2020
Author
Inkit Team

Our blog repeatedly stresses the importance of data accuracy for marketing effectiveness and overall business performance. After all, without reliable address information, mailers will fail to reach the right recipient.

Postal address cleansing and address autocomplete services are among the most common practices used to improve data quality. Whereas cleansing enables database owners to standardize and correct existing postal addresses, data validation autocomplete helps with the new input.

When users are typing address information on your website, a built-in address autocomplete service instantly provides them with the right option. People just need to confirm the offered street address and go on with their conversion path. It’s a win-win case. Thanks to address autocomplete services, you get accurate address data, and your potential customers enjoy a smooth browsing experience.

browsing

To find out more about address autocomplete services and cleansing, read our guide for tips on:

  • What is address cleansing and data validation autocomplete?
  • Benefits of data cleansing and address autocomplete services
  • Manual or auto: How to implement address cleansing and data validation autocomplete for your company

What Is Address Cleansing and Data Validation Autocomplete?

Postal address cleansing is a process consisting of data standardization, error fixing, and validation. It helps to “clean” a database and eliminate all inaccurate and invalid records. The data cleansing procedure is usually based on the following algorithm:

  • Parsing. Address records are parsed or, in other words, divided into several parts (e.g., city, street name, house number, postal codes, state name, etc.). This helps the software to process data validation lists, detect which components are missing, and prepare address data for standardization.
  • Standardization. The validation tool runs data standardization to make sure each of the parsed components has the necessary format. To complete data validation, the original database’s records must have the same format as the official database used for reference.
  • Validation. The standardized records are matched with the official database to check if they are valid and mailable.

Data validation autocomplete is a feature that suggests street addresses as users fill out web forms. It can autofill an address from a postcode or other details sufficient to process the input. Address autocomplete services are mainly available as a part of website functionality used to collect information from visitors.

address complete

Even though both validation and address autocomplete services aim to enhance your address data quality, they are used in different settings. Data validation autocomplete is helpful at the initial stage when you receive information from leads, whereas cleansing is applied when an address database already exists.

Benefits of Data Cleansing and Address Autocomplete Services

As we have already mentioned, data validation practices are essential for marketing efficiency. Now, let’s get more precise. The autofill address from postcode service and postal address cleansing can bring unique benefits to your business. Here are the main ones.

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Why Implement Data Cleansing Practices

  • Lower return rates. Since after cleansing, up to 100% of records in your database are mailable, each time you deliver direct mail, it reaches the destination. This reduces return rates and makes print mail a highly-reliable channel of communication.
  • No messy or invalid data. A well-ordered database allows you to deliver targeted mail and verify customers to prevent fraud and boost data security.
  • Increased employee productivity. Cleansed data is a must-have for automation. Once you clean customers’ records, you can implement various kinds of automation services to reduce the load on your internal teams and let them focus on more critical business tasks.
  • Regulatory compliance. Processing personal data, you’re always walking on thin ice — unless you use automated data collection and cleansing services. Most of them meet local and global data security regulations to spare you from compliance-related worries.

Why Implement Address Autocomplete Services

  • Optimized customer experience. Website visitors like anything that makes their lives simpler, including address autocompletion features. By helping people fill out address data, you increase user satisfaction rates and show customers that you take care of their comfort.
  • Enhanced data accuracy from the start. If your data has the right format when it enters a database, you will spend less effort on its cleansing and validation. With autofill address from a postcode and other alternative services, you minimize human error risk, which is quite high when people share data manually.
  • Reduced cost. Low-quality data entails financial risks. It reduces the efficiency of marketing communications and, therefore, harms ROI. Thus, when you collect more accurate data by using address autocomplete services, you optimize spendings.

The advantages of the autofill address from postcode service and postal address cleansing are interrelated. Thus, it is recommended to combine these approaches to cover all stages of address data collection and validation.

Manual or Auto: How to Implement Address Cleansing and Data Validation Autocomplete for Your Company

Depending on the volume of addresses you need to collect and cleanse, you will decide between the manual or auto approach. If your company only processes a few address records per week, manual tools will do the trick. Contrarily, in case you handle dozens or hundreds of user addresses every day, automated solutions are preferred. Hence, mind your needs before picking one of these options.

address validation

Manual data cleansing and address autocomplete services

Manual data cleansing is mostly a copy-paste procedure. You will take an entry from your database and paste it in a validation service to run the check. To do this, you may use one of the USPS-approved services for database management and cleansing. Although they are slow and have significant data volume limitations, such tools may be practical for occasional address verification.

For manual data validation autocomplete, you can use Excel drop-down lists. After a quick configuration, Excel will offer you the most suitable address entries from the database each time you start typing. If you are not an Excel guru, and have no idea how to set up data validation autocomplete, read these instructions.

Automated data cleansing and address autocomplete services

The automation of cleansing and data validation autocomplete is possible with the help of APIs. You can connect an API to your web service (just like Google Maps API, for example) to automatically process address data. There are tons of APIs to choose from, both USPS and third-party. Inkit also offers address verification and autocompletion APIs you can build into your web software to process address data more quickly. APIs allow you to add ZIP+4 codes to address records, format US and international addresses, autocomplete information, use geocoding, etc.

If you are looking for a full-fledged mail verification and automation service instead of APIs, subscribe to Inkit’s platform. Inkit fully automates all mail fulfillment processes, from address database management to mail printing, delivery, and tracking. Once integrated with your tech stack, Inkit automatically cleanses and enriches address data to reach the ultimate accuracy of offline communications.

Do you want to see how exactly Inkit supercharges your business? Request the demo from our sales team now.

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