Friday, September 23, 2011

Address Verification in a Multi-Carrier Shipping System Ensures Correct Rating

Address Verification in a Multi-Carrier Shipping System Ensures Correct Rating

I’m sure you’ve seen it before. You ship an order only to find it back on your loading dock a few days later with a giant red sticker: bad address. Or the package is delivered but your carrier bill has that costly “Address Correction Fee” added for that package. Not only did you pay to ship the package, you might have paid to have it returned or paid an additional fee for delivery. And you might have even lost a sale in the process. What might have been just an innocent typo turns into a loss for your business. To fix this problem of shipping to a bad address, address validation programs are available to check the address before the shipping label is applied. Let’s look at how Harvey Software’s Address Verification Module (AVM) works within the CPS shipping software to eliminate bad address charges and ensure on-time delivery by checking addresses against the Post Office master database.

Think of the Address Verification Module like the Autocorrect features in a word processor. If everything is correct, you may not even notice that AVM is checking the address. However, when an address does not match, the AVM shows additional information about it. Perhaps the ZIP doesn’t match the address, or the state code was entered incorrectly through manual entry. Maybe the address entered does not exist in the database. If the AVM knows the obvious fix to correct the address, it can do so automatically. If it cannot easily determine the correct address, it can warn the user about the address error so that it can be corrected by the necessary personnel. Either way, shipments are not sent out with addresses that are incorrect because the AVM warns the user before it happens.

How much do bad addresses cost shippers? One carrier charges $10 per package per address correction. Luckily, they cap that fee at $35 per shipment for ground services. However, select an Express service, and that cap jumps to $77! But with the CPS Address Verification Module available for less than $20 per month (with even larger discounts for annual licensing), address correction fees can be practically eliminated. If the AVM catches just two mistakes per month, it pays for itself. The carriers will continue to make money from shippers who send to bad addresses. They just won’t make that money from your business. With such savings adding up so quickly, one would expect that all multi-carrier shipping systems offer this important shipping verification feature. A quick survey finds that at least half do not! They can print shipping labels but are incapable of telling you about address mistakes on those labels.

AVM also benefits CPS shipping software customers who ship to both residential and commercial addresses. After AVM verifies the type of address, CPS then reports accurate rating for that destination. When an internet retailer confirms an address is residential, they avoid surprise shipping charges from the carriers when they were billed for commercial delivery. Look for more information about the benefits of residential and commercial address verification in a future post.

Using AVM provides access to a database of well over 140 million valid addresses in the United States, and this data is kept current with automatic updates occurring in CPS on a monthly basis. The AVM’s modest additional cost provides a constant return in dollars as well as satisfied customers who receive their packages on time. When you research multi-carrier shipping systems that best suit your business needs, make sure that address verification is part of your equation. For more information, visit

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