Gathering correct address details right at the start of your customers’ journey is commercially imperative for your business.
Duff data will compromise your customer relationships, limit your marketing activity and impact on your bottom line.
Having valid details of your share of the UK’s 29 million addresses within your database will mean your users’ identity has been checked and that you can contact them with ease.
And for them, being able to input their address with the minimum amount of clicks and hassle will speed them through your form and increase the chances of conversion.
So what’s the best way to achieve address accuracy? And how can adopting a sophisticated address look-up boost form UX for your business?
Address Input Options
Manual and Monotonous
Before technology supercharged our online forms, all users of every form needed to manually input their address line-by-line. The task of entering this precisely – sometimes down to a required field of including your county and country – was laborious, error-prone and unavoidable.
No form needs to make these data demands anymore – the alternatives are simple and infinitely superior – but some still do.
For example, our research into mobile registration forms for gambling sites shows that 37% of the 43 companies we analysed still use this old-fashioned method. These figures include four of the bottom five in our league table.
Chris Boaz, the Head of Marketing at PCA Predict agrees:
“Improved UX is vital when we consider that most gamers don’t want to be faced with long and complicated forms, particularly if they’re on a mobile device. By reducing the amount of time and effort required of gamers, you’ll undoubtedly see an increase in conversions and the likelihood that they will return to your site in the future.
“Using address validation on your online webforms ensures you are capturing accurate customer data which not only helps improve any marketing capabilities but also paves the way for identity checking, something critical in such a regulated and sensitive market.”
For those gambling sites still using manual entry, they’re missing a UX trick.
Pick Your Postcode
Postcode look-up was the first optimisation which began to turn the tide towards easier address input.
It requires a user to type in their postcode to trigger a drop-down of address options. Stored in the cloud, this list can appear within as little as 40 milliseconds. One more click and they can choose the correct one before moving through the form.
It’s a well-established API which reduces the time taken to provide an address as users don’t have to type their street name, town and county.
Quicker and more accurate than manual multiple-field entry, it’s still a good option and is used by 37% of the gambling companies we analysed.
But this original solution to the dilemma is fast becoming out-dated. It too has scope for error and takes longer than it could: you have to enter your postcode precisely and then scroll and click again to have your address successfully entered.
And what if you don’t know the required postcode? Or the postcode you know is correct but isn’t recognised?
Failed postcode validation can be a frustrating experience at a crucial stage within your form. They should always have the option to enter details manually which, naturally, brings the user back to the UX point they were at before address look-ups were developed.
Adopt Advanced Auto-Address
The latest address auto-fill APIs are packed with features which tackle more of the challenges your users could face in your form.
Described by Gareth McIntosh, managing director at PokerTribe.com, as
“an absolute must for address entry”
“The user registration process wouldn’t be the same without it”
, advanced address look-ups allow instant address entry with minimal user input./>
They can start typing any element of their address, not just postcode, into one field and immediately see their options appear and refine themselves below. The likelihood of the correct address being at the top increases as you type and reduces, or even eliminates, scrolling, especially if geotargeting is used.
For example, if a user lives on a road with a common name, arranging the options via an IP address will prioritise those closest to them so they don’t have to work their way through the dozens of “Station Roads” across the UK.
This predictive technique is more logical than postcode look-up: if someone asks you for your address, you don’t start with your postcode. But its flexibility means that if a user wants to type their postcode in, they’ll still get the same fast result.
Of the 43 mobile registration forms we analysed in our gambling research, 18% use this form of auto look-up, giving them the edge over their competitors because it:
- requires fewer clicks
- eliminates the need to remember postcodes
- reduces errors
- gives users more choice, putting them in control
- speeds up the overall completion process
Incorporating fuzzy matching logic into your address API can further improve form UX. This can overcome common typo errors such as extra spaces, transposed characters, abbreviations and misspellings – if these appear, its capabilities allow them to be overlooked.
You should also consider permitting alternative input formats if users choose to search by postcode. i.e. with or without a space or capitalised letters, to reduce frustration.
This smart look-up solution is gaining popularity. Indeed Dan Weits, head of core product at Ladbrokes, says their form “wouldn’t be the same without it”.
Address Verification for Security
As well as helping to create a clean database, ensuring accurate address information is crucial when it comes to confirming users’ IDs.
In the gaming industry, a name, address and date of birth is needed to complete ID verification and adhere to the laws set by the Gambling Commission.
This Know Your Customer (KYC) process confirms identity and therefore age, and helps to prevent money-laundering. It’s an unavoidable task but UX can help to make it run smoothly.
Incorporating an auto-address look-up will help here. Although of course this does rely on customers giving you their actual address.
Indeed, around 30% of form-fillers admit to intentionally providing the wrong address. Of these, 81% cite privacy concerns, 77% think requesting the information is intrusive and 75% do it to prevent receiving marketing messages.
For those honest folk who do want to play the game, making it easy to input their address via an advanced look-up is key.
It instantly validates, reduces form completion time, minimises errors, decreases instances of fraud and ensures your database is fully optimised.