The USPS® is raising rates in 2012. What does it mean for your business?

Address validation has been the focus of direct marketers for quite some time. But as the cost of shipping continues to increase, the quality of address data becomes significant to businesses looking to reduce costs.

The USPS® has announced that it will raise shipping rates by approximately 4.6%, effective January 22nd, 2012. The increase comes amidst a chaotic financial outlook for the USPS®.

So what does this mean for your business? It means that your customer address data needs to be accurate.

As shipping rates continue to rise, the financial consequence for returned mail continues to increase. With over 43 million Americans moving, relocating and changing addresses every year, and over 1.8 billion is spent annually on undeliverable mail, organizations need to do a better job keeping track of customers and updating their database.

Organizations can do this in a few simple ways:

  1. Clean and standardize existing records – Businesses should go through their existing database and utilize software tools to clean and standardize existing records. This will allow them to clean up simple errors that can easily be fixed.
  2. Flag poor addresses – Organizations should flag poor address data. This not only allows organizations to clean up the information by reaching out to the customer, but also allows them to segment out poor data from campaigns until it can be cleaned.
  3. Implement address verification – The only way to prevent address errors is to cleanse information as it is being entered. Implement address verification software to ensure the address is accurate before it enters business processes.

By taking steps to clean address information, organizations can help avoid costly returned mail fees, especially as shipping rates move higher.