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Portugal: A Population of Global Explorers and Diasporas

Vasco da Gama Bridge

Vasco da Gama Bridge

I am sitting in a nondescript office in the harbor sector of the city of Lisbon looking out at the beautiful Vasco da Gama Bridge. This bridge is the longest bridge in Europe spanning over 12 kilometers across the Tagus River in Lisbon. While this bridge is a modern wonder, the discussion taking p
lace inside the office is also a bit of a wonder in the world of global identity verification.

I am reviewing the results of a test file with our Portuguese Data expert. We had originally processed his file and achieved somewhat lower results than desired. The timing of the file processing and my trip to Portugal allowed for me to sit down directly with him and a colleague to review the results and better understand why the results were so low.

One of the first things we discovered about the data is that a percentage of the data was made up of foreign names meaning non-Portuguese in origin. As a result, these people were likely not citizens of the country but might still be residents. Portugal is unique in Europe because it has a large and growing population of ex-pats who retire there from the United Kingdom and France. The way our expert described it is that Portugal was a country where “many people are passing through”. Some stay for a little time and some stay forever. Given the temperatures, the beauty of its beaches and the great cost of living I completely understand this.

So while we could not accurately validate those people with our Portuguese Identity Verification we were able to architect within our system to run those people who did not validate in Portugal through our UK and then French Identity Verification providers all within the same system. This “waterfall” approach allowed for us to gain some immediate lift in the results and better validate the ex-pats that had settled in the region.

The next data validation challenge that was unique to Portugal (and likely unique to Brazil) was what I dubbed “The Maria Effect”. A large number of the women in Portugal are named Maria. This is a statement made by a guy who has spent more than 20 years working with consumer data in Portugal so I am going to choose to believe this statement of fact. Many of the Marias have secondary first or middle names which create differentiators (example: Maria-Theresa). Additionally the last name of her family and/or the last name of her husband might be used when completing some types of documentation thus Maria becomes possibly Maria Theresa de Salvo Carlos de Herrera. This a complete legitimate full name. At 32 characters this name likely would not even fit into most online data entry fields but that is the smaller of the concerns. Maria may also express her name as any combination of the above depending on how she choosing to distinctly represent herself. So she might be Theresa de Salvo or Theresa de Herrera or Theresa Carlos de Herrera. In all of these examples Maria may be substituted for Theresa creating a database of Marias that may or may not link back to a known identity in Portuguese data systems. This is where customized and localized fuzzy matching and rules logic are needed to ensure the best possible match result when attempting a identity verification for this country.

The next example of local data uniqueness is the “da Effect”. Many last names in Portugal have a preposition of da or de associated with them. Names can thus be represented in systems as Vasco da Gama or Vasco Gama. In both cases they are the same person. Many identity verification systems may choose to work with a hard 1:1 match and thus this would not generate a match on this particular name. Other systems may elect to drop the da/de as extraneous characters and not recognize them as part of the last name thus corrupting the name and likely generating a poor response.

After reviewing all of these examples we were able to ensure that we tuned our inputs to properly parse data going into our platform for Portuguese nuances. This allowed for us to create a better result and improve the overall match rates. This in turn helps satisfy our customer’s needs which at the end of the day was the goal of the conversation.

The above is a great view on how hyper-local knowledge and skills will produce quantifiably better results for global eKYC and identity resolution efforts. Whether it is mobile customer onboarding at BBVA or HSBC; or fraud risk analysis at Kreditech of fulfillment of European 4th Money Laundering Initiative compliance regulations between customer transactions. At GDC we enjoy learning these nuances from our local partners and much like the vision of da Gama we seek to spread this knowledge throughout the world.

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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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Three Simple Steps to Reduce International Shipping Costs

I recently read where almost half of UK online shoppers purchased from sites outside of the UK. To me that is an amazing statistic and it is reflective of the growth of cross-border ecommerce. The other statistic quoted was that the biggest barriers to further growth are Delivery costs and timescales for receiving goods. How global merchant brands reduce this friction will determine future growth and success in the market.

Three Simple Steps to Reduce Delivery Costs

Is it possible for merchants to reduce their delivery costs globally without increasing shopping cart abandonment or adding pressure on your margins? The answer is “yes” and here’s how:

Step One

Globalize your order entry fields to accommodate international address standards

Global ecommerce practitioners should be aware of the fact that address formats around the world are different. Using the U.S. standard fields for order entry on an international web site creates bad address data entry. For example in some countries Street Numbers precede Street Name but in a number of countries it is the reverse with Street Name preceding Street Number. . If your systems are not designed to handle the nuances then you are generating additional headaches. By adjusting your entry fields to international standard formats, a merchant can ensure that all of the needed data is entered in the transaction by the buyer.

Step Two

Perform a real time address standardization and verification check during the order entry process

During the order entry process (but behind the scenes) the address information can be checked and either automatically corrected or flagged for follow-up processing based on the merchant’s preferences. By flagging for follow-up the shopping cart process is not interfered with but the order data itself can be checked before the item is actually shipped.

Step Three

Post Order but Pre Shipping process flagged addresses through a robust Global Address Validation and Correction solution

Those orders that are flagged during order entry should be run through an address verification and correction solution. For about $.05-.08/address a merchant can improve the deliverability of an international address. For any order over US$20.00 in value this cost is well worth the effort the results. Ecommerce merchants are encouraged to select a solution that has the most localized understanding of their key “ship-to” markets.

For orders that are flagged after this process, request additional data from the customer.

By following the above, you will:

  • Reduce the number of bad deliveries based on poor address information
  • Reduce the impact of customers service inquiries related to undelivered orders
  • Reduce the cost of lost inventory due to incorrect delivery and then redelivery of a replacement item to the customer
  • Expand international revenue opportunities by engaging untapped markets previously considered too high-risk or expensive to engage due to mis-delivery concerns.

Practice these steps and your costs go down as well as your delivery timescales. Customers are happy and place more orders.

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The Age of Convenience: Don’t let your first shipment be your last

eCommerce, as an industry, is hitting that point of maturity where the smallest things count the most. The internet has delivered on its promise to offer virtually any product to any purchaser anywhere. The long tail grows longer and longer, but the ability for any individual eCommerce provider to distinguish itself on having the widest selection or lowest price is actually shrinking. The markets are remarkably transparent, making it rare that a consumer can’t find the exact same product you’re offering from a dozen other e-tailers with a simple Google search.

So when the playing field is leveled on price and selection, the consumer turns to the softer variables when deciding to buy products from one retailer instead of another. Convenience ranks high on that list, and few things define the buyer’s view of convenience more than quick and accurate delivery.
Well, that’s where there is a problem. According to a recent IMRG study, eCommerce is leaving a lot on the table when it comes to delivering product quickly and accurately. The IMRG Home Delivery Review for 2014, summarized here, tells us that failed delivery remains a hard problem and costs the eCommerce industry upwards of a billion dollars a year. According to Andrew Starkey, head of elogistics at the IMRG:
“Failed deliveries resulting from orders placed with retailers and marketplace traders each year create in excess of £¾billion of avoidable costs – we cannot afford to allow the pace of innovation to slow.”
Beyond the costs spread across the industry comes the problem that bad delivery experience creates for individual e-tailers. Yes, it creates the headaches of managing returns or re-shipments. But more importantly, in a market where it’s harder and harder to distinguish yourself from the competition, it damages the consumers’ perception of the convenience you offer. It makes them less likely to come back and buy from you again.
The first shipment could be your last shipment. At GDC we spend a lot of time perfecting the use of address verification, identity validation, geocoding, and other specialty services to ensure accurate and timely delivery with the first shipment. It can save e-tailers a lot of money, no doubt. But more importantly, it boosts their ability to compete on convenience in an otherwise leveled playing field, and that means shipping more product to satisfied repeat customers!