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Address Standardization: Simple Guide & Details
Across the globe, there are many ways to format an address for mail delivery. Because there are so many variables, countries had to develop a system that helped to take the guesswork out of locating a recipient’s location. This allowed addresses to become easier to read, and thus, easier to deliver to.
What is Address Standardization
Address standardization is a process where an address is formatted in a particular way, dependent upon the country, that matches that local or national postal system. In the United States, the USPS determines how an address should be formatted. Address standardization, as defined by the USPS: “A standardized address is one that includes all required address elements and that uses the Postal Service standard abbreviations (as shown in this publication or in the current Postal Service ZIP+4 file).”
What Is Address Formatting?
Address formatting refers to the rules and parameters set by a country’s postal service that ultimately determine how an address looks. From the position of the recipient’s name, the use of abbreviations, and the ZIP+4 standard, the anatomy of an address is something that has been scrutinized down to a science. This mail formatting “bible”, developed by the USPS, is called Publication 28. Within this documentation are the instructions for formatting just about every possible option or combination of street names, house numbers, and secondary address corrections imaginable.
How it Works
There are two main ways to standardize an address based on the USPS’s standardization formats.
The first way is through a manual process without software. This way is incredibly taxing and grossly inefficient. The second way is with address standardization software. The software automates the process of address standardization by automatically correcting any spelling mistakes, capitalization issues, punctuation changes, and more. Additionally, the software will verify the address’s validity against a collection of addresses in a database.
Importing Address Data
While most software solutions have a way to manually import individual address data, say for a one-off location change or possibly a new construction, the power of address standardization software comes from its ability to handle a massive amount of data quickly and efficiently. This includes the importing and formatting of any number of address databases available. Additionally, there may be options to import address data from mailing lists or e-commerce software systems that, upon import, can be correctly formatted and verified.
Standardization vs Verification
Address standardization, as mentioned above, is the formatting of an address to USPS standards or the standards of a country’s postal service. Address verification is the process of validating an address as valid and deliverable. Utilizing databases in the same manner as the process of standardization, the verification process is made incredibly easy through the power of software. The verification portion of the software will check its database for an address match and determine whether that address exists, and if it does, can have mail delivered there.
This also takes any change of address requests, known move dates, and other specific criteria into consideration before delivering a satisfactory verification.
Another benefit of address verification that happens once an address is both verified and standardized is the ability to quickly and easily remove duplicate address entries.
For example, you may have duplicates after a mailing list import. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll always want to keep the address that has been standardized and verified.
The Power of Address Software
Address correction and verification might not be the most exciting thing in the world, but it’s critical to have the most accurate data possible when it comes to business. If you’re struggling with undeliverable addresses and are ready to reduce your revenue losses, send us a message so our address experts can show you the power of automated address management.