Over the next few months, shippers will see massive increases in the number of parcels they handle. Delivery failures are inevitable but so many are avoidable.
The most fundamental elements of global delivery is one of the greatest causes of failure – the postal address!
Read on if you want to learn the root causes of your global addressing problems.
- Globally Unfriendly Check Out Forms
- Most of the top eCommerce platforms in the US have designed their international order forms based on a US address structure. More specifically these platforms carry two address lines, a city, state/province, and ZIP/Postal Code field. A limited number of platforms have a third address line. For many people around the world, they have to squeeze their address into the space provided
- The Language Barrier
- Language can also present a barrier during the eCommerce order process. Very few sites have customized their order forms with native terminology. To illustrate this point consider the following. If an American was asked for their “Ort” or “Postleitzahl”, unless they know German, they are unlikely to realize that they were asked for their City and Postal Code. While many global shoppers will understand the American addressing terms, not all will clearly understand these terms resulting in data being misplaced in the address block.
- The Data Truncation Issue
- The length of the address lines is often problematic in online shopping platforms. In some cases, the address lines on shipping labels are only 35 characters but some online shopping platforms offer 200 characters per address line! Depending on the address field length for your label, you could be losing critical data.
- In many countries, the house number comes at the end of the street name. If your address length in too short, you will lose the most vital piece of the address which is the house number. The image below illustrates a Mexican business address that was destroyed due to insufficient field lengths.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is that as customer contact data makes its way from the eCommerce site on through to the label printer app, data may be lost. Even if the eCommerce site does allow for a generous address line of 50 characters, but the label printer app only allows for 35 characters in an address line, 30% of valuable address information is lost!
You can dramatically reduce global delivery failures by auditing your order checkout process. by following these simple steps
- Simulate an order for your top market and enter a lengthy test address. Did all of the information make it on to the label? If not, you may be facing a truncation issue.
- Check undelivered orders. Most postal administrations have look-up tools to check addresses. Simply search for each postal administration. Once you find their page, use Google translate to help you find the look-up tool.
- Email the customer and ask them for their complete mailing address.
If you will ship globally this holiday season, and need a quick resource that will help you address the world, check out the Global Address Format Guide.