Lessons Learned from Validating Over 440 Billion Addresses in 2022

Andrew Townsend
Andrew Townsend
 • 
February 1, 2023
Smarty customers process 2.5 billion addresses collectively a day. With that much address data flying through our systems, check out what we learned!
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On average, customers of Smarty process 2.5 billion addresses collectively a day. If you were to count a single Cheeto for each address, that’s enough Cheetos to fill up 1,930 vans per day. If you were to start walking along the equator of the Earth and you took one step for each address, you’d make 38 trips around the planet. That’s a ton of address lookups.

So with that much address data flying through our systems, we decided to host a webinar sharing some of the insights we’ve gained from the over 440 billion addresses that were validated in 2022. In this webinar, we brought Trent Howell, Head of Marketing, and Brady Amundson, Audio Video Specialist, together to share some of the lessons learned.

Before we get into the six lessons learned, here’s a bonus bit of information: people aren’t using address validation tools for only shipping and delivery. Here are some of the common uses of address data:

  • Customer communications
  • Customer data enhancement
  • User demographics
  • Government services
  • Property attributes
  • Routing
  • City planning
  • Quicker checkouts
  • Database standardization
  • Data blending/merging
  • Insurance risk assessment
  • Geocoding
  • Public noticing
  • Account registration
  • Fraud detection
  • Oh yeah, also shipping and delivery

Alright, without further ado, here are the six lessons we’ve learned:

1. Behavior Change Demands Solutions

We’ve seen an increase in useful technology for both desktop computers and mobile devices. More and more people are using their phones to surf the internet, order things, or conduct research. This is in large part due to spell-checking and type-ahead predictions being used more and more often which can be helpful, but when typing an address on mobile, the input is often more mistake-prone.

If you know your users are using mobile devices to enter their addresses then you’re facing an increased risk of data input error. And who wants erroneous addresses in their database?

2. Expectations Have Heightened

This isn’t just the expectation for accurate data. We’re talking about how we’re growing less and less tolerant of errors in general. Misdelivered packages can ruin a business's reputation. Delays in shipping due to address clarification can alienate a customer.

We now expect speed and rapid response when dealing with online companies, and that includes when working with address data.

And accuracy really does matter. False positives can be very problematic. One example given during the webinar is if you mail something to 33 Test street, and there are numbers 20 through 60 on that street but none that are exactly 33, some address validation tools will return that address as valid, even though it really isn't. Make sure your address validation tool doesn't spit out false positives.

3. International Interest Increasing

This might not surprise many of you, but international trade, travel, and communications are increasing meaning there’s an increased need for quality international address data.

While this data isn’t perfect (think of how much address data there must be worldwide), the data does continue to get better as time goes on. International formats are improving, and it’s becoming easier and easier to ensure your addresses around the world are valid.

Smarty has international address data for 240+ countries and territories. That’s….. All of ‘em.

4. Need for Non-Postal / Non-USPS

The truth is that the USPS wasn't built to handle the modern demand for personalized delivery. Think about how companies like Amazon are creating their own package delivery services to keep up with demand. There’s an increased desire for doorstep delivery for all kinds of things, not just packages.

Yet there are millions of non-postal addresses out there, meaning addresses that are not mailboxes, but are actual delivery locations. For example, if my USPS address is a PO Box or a community mailbox, I don’t want the pizza I ordered smashed into it, I want it at my door. In rural areas, these non-postal addresses are extremely important to have.

With Smarty, you’ll have access to validating 20+ million addresses beyond the USPS.

5. Alias Addresses Abound

Street names change often, and sometimes will keep both names. For example, Highway 6 in Colorado is also called the Grand Army of the Republic Highway.

If you’re talking about large address databases, you may have three addresses that look different but are all the same real address. There’s a need for unique address IDs to properly identify address alias duplicates in your database, and Smarty’s solutions solve that problem.

6. People Want People

More and more companies are moving to chatbots and phone trees for their support and troubleshooting. Unfortunately, dealing with these sorts of solutions can be very frustrating for the customer if not done just right. At Smarty, we have real people manning our support lines. As one reviewer has said:

“Excellent customer service! 10/10! I would let them date my sister.” - Mike W. Software Architect

It seems there’s been a vacuum in the customer support world, and when good people fill it, it’s a big deal.

—-

You can view the full webinar recording where we went much deeper into each of these lessons.

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