Sep
21
2012

Help Santa’s sleigh get to the right house

Consumers shop in many ways during the holiday season, and the online channel continues to grow in popularity. Each year, more and more shoppers make their holiday purchases on ecommerce websites. In fact, according to Experian Hitwise, Cyber Monday was a bigger online shopping day than Black Friday last year.

All of this online ordering means one thing – shipping. Retailers are now playing Santa, needing to make sure the sleigh arrives before Christmas, to the right location, with the right gift. As many retailers know, shipping can be expensive and time-consuming, especially during the holiday season.

With margins low and free shipping offers everywhere, retailers need to keep fulfillment costs low. One way to do that is through successful package delivery. Retailers can do this by ensuring their consumer information is as accurate as possible.

Data quality can seem boring when we think about the overall holiday season strategy. However, if incorrect or incomplete, this basic piece of information can cost retailers thousands of dollars in return shipping fees and lost employee efficiency, not to mention customer dissatisfaction.

Even with this knowledge, retailers are struggling to keep data accurate. According to a recent Experian QAS study, 86 percent of retailers suspect that their customer and prospect data might have errors.

Even with this knowledge, retailers are struggling to keep data accurate. According to a recent Experian QAS study, 86 percent of retailers suspect that their customer and prospect data might have errors. On average, respondents believe that as much as a quarter of all contact data might be inaccurate.

eRetailers are up against a unique challenge when collecting consumer information online. While you would think self-entered contact details would generally be accurate, information entered online is often the dirtiest in a database. This is because details are frequently entered quickly by untrained individuals – the consumers themselves. During the holiday season, information can be more at risk when consumers are entering addresses other than their own, like those of friends and family.

While many retailers already have verification processes in place, some use back-end techniques that validate details after a consumer has left the site. In this scenario, if an error is found, the retailer has to call the consumer to correct the address. Phone calls can waste valuable employee time and delay the shipment.

Retailers should check to see if current verification practices are providing a worthwhile ROI. Any percentage point of error can be exacerbated by increased volume at peak times in the holiday shopping calendar.

Stakeholders can check accuracy levels by reviewing data. Businesses should ask themselves:

  • Are addresses complete?
  • Are shippers charging extra fees because a suite or apartment number is missing?
  • How many packages are returned each month?

From there, retailers should optimize the verification process. Make certain that information entered during the checkout process is as accurate as possible. A small change can make a big difference.

This holiday season, make sure you are helping Santa by giving him good directions and accurate addresses to direct his sleigh!


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