Why retailers need quality addressing data

Guest blog by Egbe Manners, GI Consultant

One of my colleagues loves online shopping, so, when she moved to a new flat and her favourite home delivery services couldn’t find her address, she was frustrated. Increasingly having a successful delivery to her flat is becoming a differentiator to which online retailer she chooses. Is she expecting too much from online retailers?

Luckily, working at Ordnance Survey (OS), I know a bit about address data. I understand some of the challenges facing retailers to keep customer address data updated. It takes time, investment, and effort to maintain their mailing lists. However, it is worth the effort.

Having access to over 29.6 million addresses in Postal Address File (PAF) from Royal Mail, is a good starting point. However, finding those households within a building that has been divided could prove trickier. But this is made easier with the 12 million additional addresses that OS source from Britain’s local authorities. 

Is data a retailers most valuable resource?

When property lifecycle data mixes with address and customer data, then maintaining data quality becomes a challenge. Address data quality is no longer something that retailers can ignore. It must be accepted as an enterprise responsibility, an end-to-end process if they want to meet their customers’ expectations. Automation of data is a key part of their success, but there must be enough data quality and technology behind it to be reliable. Is that why some retailers do better than others?

The answer lies in understanding what quality data is, and in quantifying the cost of bad data. It isn’t always understood why or how to correct this problem, because poor data quality presents itself in so many ways. With so many variables attached to address data it can be confusing to know which addressing dataset holds the right value for your business.

Using AddressBase data from one of our OS Partners will help retailers to find those missing multi-residential addresses, which could be an additional 3 million addresses across Great Britain. Plus, their addressing expertise can help build a better understanding on the prospect opportunity of a property address, which is ideal for direct mail campaigns and finding residential or commercial properties.  Any property type can be identified; from residential to business, halls to churches – AddressBase has it all.

These additional addresses include structures such as phone boxes or churches (not listed within PAF as they cannot be delivered to). While this means they may not be as relevant to certain retailers, for many others (such as building suppliers or even caterers), they are can be vital.

With more people shopping on their smart phones and tablets, the retail experience is no longer just about buying. Shoppers are predicted to spend £43 billion on purchases via their smart phones by 2020 so getting delivery services right the first time is crucial. Retailers will need to recognise the value of quality address data and create a seamless experience for all their customers, wherever they live, to build both sales and customer loyalty.

How to access accurate addressing data

Many SMEs are not making the most of this shopping boom. It’s time to bridge this gap and optimise your ecommerce. At Ordnance Survey we work with Partners to maximise the use of our data in various markets including retail. Visit PCA (a GB Group company) to find out how they can help with your organisation’s addressing needs: https://www.pcapredict.com/ukaf

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