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New Advanced Address Verification Services in India

At GDC we are continuously searching the globe for new partners, new countries and new services for our customers; we enjoy telling the stories about our discovery and availability of these services!  We also work with our Partner Community to add additional capabilities to existing Worldview countries, and we are excited to announce the availability of Advanced Address Verification for India.

Our global expertise tells us that India is the most challenging country to provide great Address Verification due to the size of the country, the complexity of address information, and the regional variations of address information.  We hear from our customers and read recent studies that project tremendous opportunity in India for companies that are using the best available Address Verification solutions for eCommerce, Finance, and Logistics business problems.

Working with our premier Indian Partner, our Advanced Address Verification for India provides you with the most reliable solution for interpreting Indian Addresses.  Do you know that across India there are over 400 different building descriptors?  We do.  Our highly configurable solution reliably parses, interprets and verifies all of the components of an Indian address – road differentiation, sublocalities, localities, pin codes, buildings, building numbers, wings, floors, and more.  We can turn on additional custom capabilities to meet the needs of your business problem – delivery flags that set shipment expectation, corporate address indicators, and rural/urban coding.

We are always excited to open up additional services for our Worldview customers. If you want to understand more about Advanced Address Verification for India and discuss the challenges of addressing in India, give us a call. We’d love to help expand your Worldview.

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GDC Integrates New Poland Address Partner into Worldview

This week we announce a new partner in the consortium, a Krakow-based business that prides itself on bringing an engineering mindset to the work of building Poland‘s premier address intelligence service.

Building this consortium is anything but a generic plug-and-play process. Whenever possible I meet personally with the management team of our partners, going to their offices, seeing their operations, introducing myself to their people. I want to show them we’re committed to this model of creating the world’s most reliable Address Intelligence solution. I want them to know that relationships will make this work.

And so last week I spent two days in Krakow with this new partner, sharing with them the results of tests we’ve run on their data, and celebrating the successful integration into the GDC Worldview platform. I had dinner with their president on Wednesday, and we talked late into the night about the opportunity Poland – his homeland – represents for cross-border eCommerce.

The Address Intelligence Stack

Before getting into that, however, let me talk a bit about what we’ve begun calling the “Address Intelligence Stack.”

Through conversations with GDC customers and erstwhile competitors, we’ve come to recognize the power of using our consortium of best, local providers of address validation to create a “stacked” approach to address intelligence services. We’ve long offered a “generic global AVS” option as part of the GDC service, taking advantage of its broad reach to make sure we could offer our clients some level of service in all countries. In countries where the generic solution offers poor service, we created the ability to route address verification calls to best, in-country alternatives. Creating a verification stack that looks like this:

STACK

We’ve decided to start offering this stack approach to companies that have already invested in a generic global AVS system but are looking to create “lift” in countries where their system is weak. That’s where we plug-in our consortium partners. When an address can’t be verified to the client’s business requirements, the system automatically routes it to Worldview for processing through our best, local providers, ensuring the most reliable results possible.

We’ll spend more time talking about the Address Intelligence Stack in the weeks to come.

The Poland Opportunity

Back to Poland. As our new consortium partner pointed out to me, Poland is often overlooked in context of the larger EU market. Despite the fact that it’s Europe’s sixth largest economy, that its people buy over EUR 6.2 billion in eCommerce goods (much of which is cross-border purchasing), and that it’s growing faster than 20 percent per year…it’s still not viewed as a market where the international eCommerce platforms invest to optimize the Polish shopping experience.

Too often they lop it into the same development category as, say, Germany and don’t integrate a Poland-specific address verification system.

That’s a mistake. Poland has its own, unique postal customs. The alphabet has its own diacritics that Polish consumers expect to see when receiving a parcel addressed to them. And Poland has its own address formats that affect how quickly packages are delivered and whether they go to the right place.

It’s time to value the Polish market for what it is (big and growing bigger!) and invest in it appropriately.

About Our Polish Partner

That’s why we’re glad to include our new Polish partner to the consortium, rounding out our list of best in-country European data sources that account for the unique needs of each country; that recognize that one-size does not fit all when it comes to the continent.

This partner has spent more than 15 years developing an address intelligence system for Poland. Along with postal information, they source data from private organizations, open source databases, and government registries. They even have an arrangement with their eCommerce clients that allows them to automatically add new information to their master file if a shopper enters an address the partner was not previously aware of. This is one of the hallmarks of local data sources…they are quick to update their data, making sure it’s as current and complete as possible.

Finally – and I’ll say this based on personal experience with the company’s management team – this partner is proud of the data they provide. They see themselves as offering a valuable service to their clients in eCommerce, telecommunications and financial services. And they bring to their jobs an engineering mindset…the idea that precision counts. All these things make them a valuable addition to GDC’s Worldview platform.

So, we welcome our new Polish partner into the Global Data Consortium. We’re excited to open up access to Poland for Worldview customers. And if you’re looking for help in Poland, or any other country in our global platform, give us a call. We’d love to help expand your Worldview.

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GDC’s Integrates New India Address Partner into Worldview

This month GDC welcomed to the consortium a best in-country address validation solution for India, an exciting addition to the Worldview global platform. India is the world’s second largest country in terms of population, its consumer class is growing by leaps and bounds, and rising income is creating an appetite for eCommerce goods. Internet orders are literally doubling every few months. According to Morgan Stanley estimates, Indian online sales will grow from US$3 billion in 2013 to US$100 billion in 2020.

But its address infrastructure is notoriously under-developed, and this creates massive headaches for eCommerce companies that want to ship products to Indian customers. They’re afraid of the risk that comes with the unreliable address services they get from the generic global verification systems (a topic we covered in detail in my Open Letter last month). They want to sell their goods to this massive consumer class in India, but they’re hesitating because of the costs that come when you can’t verify addresses with confidence. Like mis-deliveries, ship-backs, lost shipments, credit card chargebacks, and frustrated customers, to name a few.

That’s why we’re excited to offer this new data partner in India. As a Mumbai-based business, it’s a truly LOCAL solution providing LOCAL intelligence. The company has enriched India Post address data by layering in alternative sources and adding business logic that helps resolve the most common address mistakes. Our own tests of their data demonstrates significant lift over what’s offered in the major generic global systems. And they are constantly refreshing the information to keep ahead of the quick pace of construction as India’s economy keeps building new homes and apartments and demolishing old ones.

In particular, this partner is able to provide more granular delivery details in more cities, suburbs, and villages. While the generic global systems rarely provide verification below the city or post code level, this partner is able to verify many more addresses to the street, premise or even delivery point level.

This is what LOCAL address solutions do, and it makes a big difference to eCommerce businesses (both the big platforms and the individual merchants) seeking growth in the Indian market. Let me explain…

The India Address and Delivery Challenge

Last month Wall Street Journal reporter Sean McLain shadowed two motorcycle deliverymen as they hauled eCommerce goods through the streets of some of India’s largest cities. One worked for Flipkart, an enormous Bangalore-based online marketplace, and the other for Amazon.

Each would pile as much as 150 pounds into their backpacks and fan out through the cities, suburbs and villages to deliver such sundry goods as laser printers, coffee makers and six-packs of Coca-Cola. They’re expected to make at least 45 deliveries each day, but the address infrastructure in India makes this no easy task.

Delhi, for example, is a city of nearly 17 million people. Addresses are a combination of neighborhood names, block numbers and house numbers. Many house numbers aren’t even arranged sequentially along a street. Three houses in a row might skip from 225 to 657 and back to 301. The complexity of it means deliverymen spend a lot of time asking for directions. When following the Amazon driver, the

reporter noted that each delivery “involved at least four stops to ask cycle-rickshaw drivers, security guards or roadside barbers for directions. Each time the response was the same: an outstretched finger and a one-word answer: ‘Straight.'”

Neither Amazon nor Flipkart trust India Post or other traditional delivery services to get their parcels to customers. They’re investing huge sums of cash to build their own delivery infrastructure. This is how desperate they are to build local intelligence to make sure packages arrive on customer’s doorsteps quickly. Even then, it’s all terribly inefficient.

There’s a better way.

The Difference in LOCAL Intelligence for Address Verification

Even though they want to expand their businesses into India, eCommerce merchants are wary of the address and delivery challenge. Generic global address services aren’t helping. In most of India they can only verify addresses to city or district level. Think about what that means. They expect you to ship products – potentially expensive products – to an address about which they can tell you nothing more than “we know the city exists.” It means you have to ship first and then hope the deliverymen figure out the neighborhood, street and house number portions of the address. That creates too much uncertainty for merchants.

With our new data partner in India, GDC is able to flip that equation around. Rather than sending the package and hoping the deliveryman’s local knowledge is sufficient to find the address, we use our partner’s local intelligence to provide address detail to the street, premise and delivery point levels. We can also tell you if an address is not deliverable. It’s like having the local deliveryman in Delhi tell you the address exists before you ever ship the package.

For eCommerce merchants holding back from the Indian market, this should give you reason to reconsider. There’s a massive growth opportunity there, and in using our local intelligence for address verification, you can be confident your parcel will arrive even when you’re using local delivery services.

For the big eCommerce platforms – even those that have invested so heavily in these armies of motorcycle deliverymen – there’s an opportunity for you, too. With this local intelligence for address verification, you can stage your orders for more efficient delivery. If the goal is 45 packages a day per deliveryman, imagine how much throughput you could get if he started with better address information…if he didn’t have to stop four times to ask directions for each package!

So, we welcome our new India partner into the Global Data Consortium. We’re excited to open up access to India for Worldview customers. And if you’re looking for help in India, or any other country in our global platform, give us a call. We’d love to help expand your Worldview.

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Post-Script – The Innovator’s Dilemma and Local Disruption

I recently published an open letter to the address verification industry, a group to which I’ve belonged professionally for over 20 years. In it, I critiqued our lack of innovation over the years and suggested another way: making global address verification better by using local intelligence.

As hoped, the letter spurred a lot of interesting dialogue. In hopes to keep the conversation going, I’m posting a series of blog entries that dig deeper into the themes of technology, address data and how we can meet the needs of our most demanding customers.

Part I: History Lessons

Part II: A Fateful Trip to Brazil and My “Eureka!” Moment

Part III: Making Local Intelligence a Reality in Global Address Verification

Part IV: Post-Script – The Innovator’s Dilemma and Local Disruption

In 1997, Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen published his landmark book, The Innovator’s Dilemma. His guiding questions: why is it that innovation always seems to come with disruption? True innovation rarely comes from market leaders with established products. It always comes from an upstart with little to lose and a scrappy mentality.

The minicomputer didn’t come from IBM, Christensen instructs us, though IBM had the deep pockets, experienced sales force, and engineering know-how to make it happen. No, IBM kept clinging to the profits from its dominant mainframe technology before Digital Equipment Corporation (and a host of other upstarts) swooped in and launched the better, faster, cheaper alternative.

History will show the global address verification market is going through a similar disruption.

On the surface, it’s baffling that the older global address companies aren’t pushing local intelligence into the verification process. The new model makes so much more sense. But looking at it through Christensen’s innovator’s dilemma lens, we can begin to understand why. They’re captive to their own success; to the demands of their big customers. Rather than look to the future of our industry – the rise of cross-border commerce, increasing parcel shipment, and consumers demanding ever faster delivery – they remain focused on protecting what they have.

It’s a hard cycle to break.

They aren’t doing it, and I don’t expect that to change. What I do expect is that Global Data Consortium continues leaning into this new and developing market. We will build a critical mass of data partners providing best in-country solutions; we will help our partners continue improving their data through faster feedback loops; and we will make our services less expensive with time (though, perhaps surprisingly, it’s already price competitive with the major global generics).

This is the way of disruption. Quality keeps getting better, prices keep coming down, and eventually even the most price-sensitive customers want the better service.

Five years from now I predict that most of the market has shifted to this model. We will no longer accept “good enough is good enough.” We’ll demand innovations that move local intelligence (that’s so rich at the delivery level) upstream to the address verification process. Rather than depend on local intelligence to fix it, our local data will prevent the problems that lead to mis-delivery and delays.

That’s when we can say the local disruption has truly taken hold. That’s the future that I want GDC to be part of.

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Making Local Intelligence a Reality in Global Address Verification

I recently published an open letter to the address verification industry, a group to which I’ve belonged professionally for over 20 years. In it, I critiqued our lack of innovation over the years and suggested another way: making global address verification better by using local intelligence.

As hoped, the letter spurred a lot of interesting dialogue. In hopes to keep the conversation going, I’m posting a series of blog entries that dig deeper into the themes of technology, address data and how we can meet the needs of our most demanding customers.

Part I: History Lessons

Part II: A Fateful Trip to Brazil and My “Eureka!” Moment

Part III: Making Local Intelligence a Reality in Global Address Verification

In 2010, on a long plane ride back from Brazil, my mind was racing with ideas. Two years prior, an eCommerce executive had challenged me (read that story here) to solve the last mile problem of global address verification. In his world, every package had to be delivered and as quickly as possible. He couldn’t afford to ship to bad addresses, but existing global address verification systems weren’t reliable enough. They depended too much on local delivery intelligence to fix address mistakes. His criticism stung because I was COO of one of those businesses, but I knew he was right.

I had gone to Brazil to ask its postal operator, Correios, to give my company an update to its address database. That had not worked, but in a stroke of serendipity, I met the owner of a business that maintained more complete address data than Correios and that refreshed its addresses constantly. (See that story here.)

This was exactly what the eCommerce executive had been asking for! And if it existed in Brazil, there must be similar services in other countries. I began talking with my colleague (and eventual co-founder) about creating a better global address verification system; one that used the local intelligence of best in-country sources of data; one that kept up with the constant changes of addresses by constantly refreshing its data. If we could build access to a network of these data sources, we could create an entirely new (and more reliable) model for global address verification.

If we could build something that met the lofty requirements of eCommerce, where every package counts and there’s no margin of error for bad addresses, we could also help the companies on which the eCommerce industry leans for help (logistics, fulfillment and delivery). We could help data cleansing services that need more reliable results than the older global address systems provided. Perhaps we could even help software companies that do mapping and navigation based on addresses.

I began sketching the blueprint for a company based on these ideas. It would be complicated, no doubt. We would have to…

  1. Identify the Right Partners and Build Relationships

Just as the best address provider in Brazil had been hard to find (really, there was no small element of luck that I met him on that trip!), so would its counterparts in other countries. I would have to rely heavily on my network of friends in the address data industry to identify the right partners.

And I would need to keep my passport up-to-date…this would not be a job I could do while sitting behind a desk. I was going to need to spend a lot of time traveling to meet data providers, vetting them face-to-face to establish trust and to feel confident they play by all the right rules in collecting and sharing their data.

  1. Test to Verify

Most data providers say they’re the best, so frequent testing was going to be critical to finding the actual best in-country partners. We would need to create clear testing parameters to demonstrate these companies provided more reliable address results than postal operators.

  1. Build Sophisticated Technology

Finally (and it almost seems funny that this comes third), we would have to invest in a robust cloud-based technology platform for integrating with our data partners and providing our customers with a single place to access the world’s best address data. This would be the only way to take full advantage of their refresh cycles (the feedback loops that keeps their address data current).

This was the basic blueprint, and later that year my partner Charles and I formed the Global Data Consortium. In the five years since, we’ve been executing on the plan, step-by-step. I flew around the world finding the best data providers for key countries. I developed friendships that turned into trusted partnerships. We tested everyone’s data to verify its quality and reliability. And we developed the GDC Worldview product – an API management engine and data validation platform – to provide our customers a single point of access to the world’s most reliable address data.

We’ve come a long way since Brazil! Worldview now has over 30 countries covered by best in-country partners, and we’re adding up to four new ones each month.

It’s a solid start, and we keep investing in Worldview to make it better for our existing customers and anyone for whom the old global address systems just aren’t good enough.

Here’s my challenge to consumers of global address verification services: If you’ve found that the generic systems aren’t providing the results you want; if bad address information is leading to mis-delivery or slow delivery; if your service isn’t formatting addresses in the way your global customers expect to see them…there’s no reason to be captive to “good enough.” You can do better.

If that describes you, let’s talk. Let’s set up a test to see how our best in-country data partners use their local intelligence to fix problems before a package ever ships.

Let us improve your world view.

Next: My final thoughts in this blog series…The innovator’s dilemma and predicting the future of the global address verification industry.

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Local Intelligence in Global Address Verification: History Lessons

I recently published an open letter to the address verification industry, a group to which I’ve belonged professionally for over 20 years. In it, I critiqued our lack of innovation over the years and suggested another way: making global address verification better by using local intelligence.

As hoped, the letter spurred a lot of interesting dialogue. In hopes to keep the conversation going, I’m posting a series of blog entries that dig deeper into the themes of technology, address data and how we can meet the needs of our most demanding customers.

History Lessons

Let’s start with some of the history that made me aware of the problems we have in the address verification industry.

In 2008 I received a call from an executive with a prominent eCommerce company. He had been piloting a cross-border initiative in which customers from other countries could order from his website and he would ship their products directly from a U.S. distribution facility.

The experiment was not going well, he told me. Deliveries were getting lost, shipped back, or just taking longer to arrive than he (or the customer) expected. The problems stemmed from addresses. “Could you help me?” he asked.

I had worked in the address data industry for 15 years at that point and was currently Chief Operating Officer for a leading provider of generic global address verification services. We had accumulated a massive database of addresses which we licensed mostly from national postal operators. It covered 240 countries and territories. We solved the very problems the eCommerce executive was describing. Or at least we thought we did.

I asked him to send me some address files, and I’d have my team run them against our database.

When the results came back, I was pleased. We had cleaned up his files nicely and our analysis said he could confidently ship his packages to nearly every address. But when I called him back to share what I thought was good news, he just sighed.

“No, this won’t do at all,” he told me. “You’re quick to tell me to ship, but I happen to know these addresses are incomplete. You’re asking me to put my packages into the postal stream and trust that the local infrastructure to do the dirty work to get it delivered.”

He had conducted the same test with other “generic” global address services, and they all came back the same. As hard as I tried, I didn’t have a good response to his points.

“When you figure out how to solve that last mile problem before I ship,” he concluded, “give me a call. But for now what you have just isn’t good enough.”

His criticism stung, but it wasn’t entirely unfair or inaccurate. Since the dawn of our industry in the 1960’s, we global generic address companies had struck a Faustian bargain with our primary customers – direct mail businesses and the vendors that provided them support. If we could supply them a good enough service for a cheap enough price, the bargain went, they would license our address data. But if we raised the price for any reason, they would just stop using us.

It sounded brutal (and it was), but it made sense for the problem they wanted us to help solve. They sent mailers en masse. These were inexpensive cards and envelopes that often went out in batches of many thousands at a time. It often didn’t matter if some percent of them didn’t get delivered. It was a volume game with everyone operating on tiny margins. Our job was not to get every envelope delivered. It was more of an actuarial calculation: if they could use us to cull out some small percentage of the bad addresses, the pennies they spent on us would save them at least that much in postage costs.

And then we had our dirty secret: our False-Positive Bias. If we could verify an address to a locality level, confirming, for example, that the street existed even if the number was wrong – we would call the result reliable and advise the customer to send it.

Why?

Because we knew most countries have impressive last mile delivery infrastructures. If you can get mail to the locality level, the people in the post office were really good at fixing your mistakes and getting the letter where it needed to go. It would take longer to get there because it had to go through exception processing, but the direct mail customers were generally okay with that. As long as the right percentage got through and our prices stayed low enough, the Faustian bargain held.

At the time the eCommerce executive contacted me, over 70 percent of our revenue came from customers related to direct mail. We were beholden to their requirements, and to be candid, we weren’t making very high margins ourselves. This was not exactly an environment conducive to innovation.

Without investing in a lot of improvements, we were never going to be good enough to satisfy the eCommerce industry’s needs. Their requirements were based on precision and spend – they expected every package to be delivered…and quickly! Mis-delivery cost them shipping and product losses and slow delivery cost them customers. The “good enough” approach that defined the generic global address industry – that False-Positive Bias – wouldn’t cut it.

For the next couple years I watched eCommerce trends closely. I saw cross-border shipping accelerate, growing rapidly quarter over quarter even while the address problem persisted. They hadn’t yet found good alternatives to meet their needs.

There is an opportunity here to do something useful, I remember thinking to myself, if only we can find a way to take the local intelligence that’s so good in delivery and apply it earlier in the chain of events for shipping packages. We needed to find a way to apply local intelligence in the address verification process. Before a package ever leaves the warehouse.

Two years later, during a trip to Brazil, I finally saw a way forward. More on that in my next post.

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The Importance of User Feedback in Address Verification Accuracy

We tend to judge the quality of international address verification software by the size of the reference database and the return values it generates. But these metrics are incomplete and have the potential to mislead.

What are better gauges of quality? Local user transactions and local user feedback.

A local address solution, built and maintained in its own country, will have a base of users from that same country. These local users are familiar with the address nuances of their markets so they know what constitutes a good address (and a bad one) based on what people like them expect to see.

Better yet, when they see something that doesn’t look right, they report it. In the nearly five years we’ve seen this dynamic at work, we’ve noticed that providers of local address solutions react quickly to input from their users by incorporating corrections into their address data. This creates a real-time feedback loop for tuning the local engine, ensuring its information is constantly improved and done so quickly.

Local address solutions consumed by local users creates a virtuous cycle where both sides work together to produce the most localized (and reliable) results.

Consider the following hypothetical: Two vendors have provided address solutions for a country for over ten years each. One vendor has a local staff of developers and has processed over 750,000,000 address transactions from a customer base of more than 10,000 users in its country. As a result it has developed a deep competency of experience in the area.

The other vendor has no local staff in the country even though it has a handful of customers there. This generates a significantly lower number of addresses being run and reviewed by users with a local mindset. The vendor’s knowledge of the market’s local nuances is developed from a distance and without the benefit of significant local feedback to help improve its results.

If you’re an eCommerce business shipping goods into this country, which vendor would you have more confidence in for verifying your customer addresses? Which one would you trust to make sure your parcel is delivered to your customer on time?

If you are vetting international address verification solutions, consider a different set of metrics. Local user transactions and feedback should play as much of (or perhaps more important role) than the simple measures of size of the reference dataset or the outputs of an engine.

Let local customers and local experience be your guide.

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Why Local is Better with International Address Verification

International address verification has a lot of applications, from ensuring the timely delivery of items to standardizing data in your CRM to giving drivers accurate directions when they’re using your mapping apps.

In every case, a localized country engine will always be better than a generic address solution. I’ve been having a lot of conversations on this topic recently, and three major reasons keep coming up on why local is better.

There are three defined reasons why a localized country engine will produce better results. A localized country solution will return results based on the perspective of the country or better said the results will correspond to user expectations. Depth of coverage by a local country engine tends to reduce inaccurate False Positive results as typically produced by generalized address verification engines. A local engine will also have a much stronger feedback dynamic for correction of errors and omission associated with address output results.

  1. User Perspective

User perspective is a fuzzy term to use here, but it’s important that we don’t lose perspective of the end user – the consumer – who actually makes final use of our address data.

An address output from any engine should look like the format of the country the address represents. In the United States, the typical format is Building Number, Street Name, Apt or Suite Info followed by City, State and Zip Code. Many other countries follow a format that begins with Street Name then Building number and then followed by other information.

Additionally if the address is a Japanese, Russian or other similar type address, representing it in Latin script characters will create some level of interpretation requirement by a local delivery representative or customer service agent who doesn’t have familiarity with non-local language and address formats.

Does this matter? Yes! The user perspective, the way they read and interpret the address on their package, parcel or in their map app matters. As I’ve witnessed recently with an invoice sent to my office, a letter whose address isn’t formatted to country standards often get delayed in delivery because it gets pushed into the exception processing queues in various postal sorting facilities. It requires postal workers to touch it, look at it, and make human decisions about where it gets delivered. That always spells delay.

Another example to consider on user perspective: In Finlandaddresses are denoted in both Finnish and Swedish. Depending on the nationality of the resident, misrepresenting a mailing address on a piece of correspondence (such as a hotel loyalty program marketing piece) affects perception of the sender. Google experienced this issue firsthand when it provided Finnish street address information in Google Maps that was in Swedish versus dual language representation (https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/maps/BtdWUJs1wpI[1-25-false]). Google was quick to correct the problem, but not before they generated some serious bad blood amongst users by not fully understanding the nuances of Finnish-Swedish culture.

They didn’t appreciate the importance of user perspective in presenting addresses. If they had been using an address engine that incorporated local rules and sensibilities, this never would have been a problem.

  1. Depth of Coverage and False Positives

Depth of coverage is a significant issue for the output results produced by many generic address verification engines. Most systems are only able to verify that a street may exist within a city and thus an address is more likely to be Deliverable and thus they label it “Correct.” This is a fallacy known as a false positive result.

A local country engine leverages a greater depth of coverage in the form of more data along with rules that reflect a greater understanding of local deliverability standards. More data means the ability to verify whether a building/house number exists on the street and whether there is enough information within the address to truly locate the address. This deeper level of detail reduces the risk of the false positive.

Take Toronto’s Yonge Street as an example. Yonge Street has been called the world’s longest street. While not accurate, itis over 50 kilometers long. Were a parcel addressed solely with a name, Yonge Street and a Toronto zip code is it likely to be truly deliverable? Not likely. But a generic address engine would likely give it that “Correct” label.

Would you want to chance an expensive parcel or important document to it being enough information?

Having more data and knowledge about the region you cover – as local data sources naturally do – ensures a better interpretation of the output information. It reduces this problem with false positives and thereby increases deliverability rates.

  1. Feedback Dynamics

Local country engines tend to be 100% focused on customers/users from the same local market. That’s the secret to their success. They create address engines that are much more specific than the generic alternatives.

Why? Because their business is about producing the most accurate data that, for example, can be sold to direct marketing mailers that need assurance that their brochure is actually getting to the reader. Or to the courier who must get a package to its final delivery point. These are their primary customers, and in building address data to serve them, it’s just much more reliable.

Let’s not forget the power of the feedback loop. Customers of the local address engines are also providing constant feedback about the accuracy of the local provider’s outputs. This is a great resource base for constantly improving the output results. Reliability is baked in.

Globalized generic solutions that don’t have a strong customer/user footprint in local markets don’t benefit from this same user feedback loop. That just can’t iterate improvements at the same rate as a local provider that’s directly accountable to its clients for results.

So there you have it – User Perspective, Depth of Coverage, Local Feedback Loops – the variables that best define why local sources of data is so much better when it comes to international address verification. They help to generate a more ACCURATE address output result and thus a BETTER result for users whether locally or globally located.

Global Data Consortium’s Worldview platform provides access to over 27 local country engines for address verification worldwide. We are adding solutions at a rate of 3-4 per month and expect to have coverage for over 40 countries and regions before the end of the year. Whether it is Mexico, Brazil, Poland, Spain, Italy, Australia, Finland or The Czech Republic, GDC can help provide you with a more ACCURATE address result in addition to other international results such as Identity verification. Create a BETTER Customer experience. Try Worldview and See More Clearly.

Advances in LATAM Cross Border Commerce Seeking to Extend Reach to Asia

Great article this week (http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v7/wn/newsworld.php?id=1013570) regarding the effort by LATAM’s open economics to create a trading bloc to not just firm their cross-border economic ties but to begin building commerce efforts with Asia. The alliance specifically takes the view that economic growth will occur by focusing outwardly versus inwardly for global trade and commerce growth. Pacifc Alliance The Pacific Alliance consists of Mexico, Columbia, Peru and Chile. This creates a market of almost 210 million people and a combined total of about 35% of GDP output for LATAM and the Caribbean. While the alliance is meant to reduce governmental barriers such as tariffs and regulations, it also will serve to create pricing and trade leverage for negotiations with Asian nations. Trade with Asia will enhance the dynamic export sectors on both ends of the Pacific. It is a natural outgrowth of existing population migration paths with large communities of Japanese, Koreans and Chinese establishing themselves throughout the LATAM community. More direct trade flows are also being stimulated by the growth of LATAM and by Asian e-commerce vendors beginning to focus on external growth—rather than a singular focus on internal growth. As vendors such as Rakuten, Alibaba and Mercado Libre extend their reach, there will be an enhanced need to strengthen their abilities to manage Identity of their prospective customers, validate the delivery location of the customer, and last, collect the payment in locally accepted payment vehicles. International customer data management is not one size fits all, but deployment of the right combination of technology can yield great results at a reasonable cost. Trade accords reduce the friction between global economies and technology solutions reduce the friction of managing customer transactions globally. Both have their challenges, but both also lead to growth and progress.

Alibaba’s play to control delivery in Chinese e-commerce market

Alibaba’s bid to acquire the outstanding shares of AutoNavi is one of the smartest moves to date in the competitive Chinese e-commerce market.

AutoNavi

AutoNavi holds one of the few government issued licenses for mapping streets and addresses in China. This data is valuable for everything from delivery routing logistics to Identity verification to payment management. Alibaba’s CFO has stated, “Recent competition from large well-capitalized Chinese Internet companies has made the online-mapping market increasingly challenging.”
While this move is seen as bulwarking the defense against other Chinese companies, this is clearly a move that would impact competition with Amazon, eBay and other international e-commerce vendors seeking to further their access to the Chinese consumer markets.
Location-based services are a key and fundamental component of long-term success in international growth markets. As witnessed by the investments by other players such as Ozon and Rakuten, investment in delivery infrastructure is a key component to e-commerce growth strategies.
How the SMB e-commerce players address this shifting landscape and gain the same competitive access to this information in the high growth markets is a question that has yet to be fully answered. The one definitive statement that can be made is if this question isn’t answered, smaller players will be shut out of those markets or be forced to service them through the larger platforms with whom they currently compete against.