E-Commerce Growth Calls for Increased Efficiency in Contact Data
Retail e-commerce sales continued to skyrocket in 2011. While seemingly great news for retailers, it does create additional inefficiencies in a fulfillment system and drive up operational costs. To prevent those costs from cutting into revenue, retailers need to make sure they're running as efficiently as possible. One way to improve fulfillment efficiency is through accurate contact data.
This certainly isn't a new concept for retailers; it's a back-to-basics approach. Many retailers already have some form of address verification in place. According to a recent Experian QAS study of the top 100 online retailers, 72 percent said they use some form of address verification during checkout and all are using some basic form of email address verification.
Even with that verification in place, however, data quality is low. According to the study, 86 percent of retailers suspect that their customer and prospect data might have inaccuracies. In fact, information entered online is often the dirtiest in a database, as it's entered by the untrained consumer. While retailers may think the consumer has an incentive to get it right, data is often entered quickly and therefore inaccurately.
While many retailers already have verification processes in place, they should check to see if their current practices are providing a worthwhile return on investment. To do so they must test those systems on a regular basis. Dive into the data and see how clean it is. Are addresses complete? Are shippers charging extra fees to deliver to a suite or an apartment because that information is missing from the address? How many packages are returned each month?
From there, retailers should optimize verification and ensure that information entered during the checkout process is as accurate as possible. This prevents inaccurate information from entering any business processes while also saving the rework time needed to track down a consumer's accurate address.
As e-commerce continues to grow, efficiency becomes even more paramount. Retailers need to make sure that all of the basics are covered, including ensuring the accurate capture of contact information through the checkout process. Not only will this improve data quality, but your overall operational efficiency as well.