I was reading the recent Internet Retailer magazine this past weekend and spotted an advertisement from CanadaPost. They were pushing their e-commerce solutions, such as the BorderFree product, as a way to drive sales transactions from US merchants to Canadians. Their marketing message was great – “We deliver to every address in Canada and ensure your customers delivery experience is the best available.” This plays directly to CanadaPost’s strengths and strongest asset – “its network”.
Around the globe a number of other Postal operators provide similar or greater offerings. For instance, SwissPost offers address verification not just for Switzerland but for all of the DACH countries (D-A-CH countries are those defined as the dominant states of the German language per Wikipedia. They include Germany, Austria, Switzerland and also Liechtenstein).
To date, the USPS has eschewed fully leveraging international address verification technologies, such as Loqate or AddressDoctor or Uniserv, to provide this value added service to merchants who are engaging in international sales. Use of this type of technology would allow for customers to standardize and verify the address they are shipping to. Currently the USPS absorbs the costs of items that are sent out but then returned back due to inability to deliver. It would be interesting to determine how much costs could or would be saved by use of this readily available technology. With the growth of the seller market platforms, such as eBay, Esty and Amazon, it would be great to see the USPS adapt to the changing market, steal a page from CanadaPost playbook and do one better…”From your store to the world’s door.”