Why is address standardization important?

The quest for uniform addresses

Let's start by exploring what address standardization is. It is the process of changing addresses to a uniform format. In mathematical and computer science terms, standardization is also referred to as a canonical model or schema that is a design pattern used to create an agreed data definition that will standardize communication for better business integration.

SQL Database queries are great at performing exact matches fast and accurately when addresses are in a standardized format. It is also easier for business analytics and developers to identify duplicate customers with uniformity to simplify the duplication (de-dupe) process to find and identify unique customers based on postal and delivery addresses.

In an ideal world, everyone would enter their full address in a consistent format but this is seldom the case. Below is a list of common user input inconsistencies that address data cleansing and address correction software resolve.

Capitalization in Addresses

Addresses capitalization formatting can include lower case, upper case, camel case and mixed cases:

  • 80 queen street, auckland, 1010 (lower case)
  • 80 QUEEN STREET, AUCKLAND, 1010 (upper case)
  • 80 Queen Street, Auckland, 1010 (camel case)
  • 80 Queen Street, AUCKLAND, 1010 (city in upper case)

It is common that only the city is entered in all capital letters.

Abbreviations of Address Segments

Abbreviations are one of the most common reasons for inconsistencies. Abbreviations can occur at any segment or fragment of an address, including the number, street name, road type, suburb and city:

  • Lvl 1, Unit 2, 123 Saint John Road, Auckland, 1010 (Level)
  • Level 1, 2/123 Saint John Road, Auckland, 1010 (Unit Number)
  • Level 1, Unit 2, 123 St John Road, Auckland, 1010 (Street name)
  • Level 1, Unit 2, 123 Saint John Rd, Auckland, 1010 (Road type)
  • Level 1, Unit 2, 123 Saint John Road, Akl, 1010 (City)

Spelling Correction

Spelling mistakes can lead to an undeliverable address so it is important to correct commonly misspelled words such as city names and street names with swapped letters, missing letters or incorrect letters:

  • Phoenix Road vs Pheonix Road (swapped letter)
  • Hamilton vs Hamlton (missing letter)
  • Boulevard vs Boulivard (incorrect letter)

Addy uses advanced fuzzy address matching techniques to correct a range of typos.

Uniform address names

Unit, street and city names can vary, yet still be correct:

  • Floor vs Level (Synonym)
  • Unit vs Flat (Synonym)
  • Hamilton vs Hamilton City (City suffix)
  • Quay Park vs Quay Park West (Street direction)

Number formatting

As shown in the abbreviation section, address numbers can vary greatly which will lead to inconsistencies:

  • 2/80 Queen vs 80B Queen vs 2-80 Queen
  • Unit 2, 80 Queen vs Flat 2, 80 Queen

Missing Information

Another common issue is when address information is incomplete, missing the suburb, city or postcode:

  • 88 Francis Street, Hauraki, Auckland 0622 (Full address)
  • 88 Francis Street, Auckland 0622 (Missing suburb)
  • 88 Francis Street, Hauraki, Auckland (Missing postcode)
  • 88 Francis Street, Hauraki 0622 (Missing city)

Postal Statement of Accuracy (SOA)

Even though the postal services may still locate a poorly formatted address, there is a potential for delivery delays and additional charges. For example, if an incorrect postcode is entered, the mail sorting team may look at the postcode first to sort the mail to go to the right city first before realising that the address must be corrected and redirected again.

Having accurate addresses is so important that NZ post offers discounts when companies have accurate mailing addresses verified through the statement of accuracy (SOA) programme.

Address Correction Software

Using Addy's address finder API will help your customers to find their addresses up to 80% faster and ensure that accurate, validated and standardized addresses are captured at the start.

Addy also provides an address cleaning excel spreadsheet software for bulk address correction.