Global Checkout: International Address Format

Global Checkout: International Address Format

Why is the international address format so important?  International addresses are notorious for being too long, too short or too confusing. They feel like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. This is a serious issue for e-retailers that sell and ship outside of the United States.  What is the root cause? Global consumers are constantly trying to fill out address forms with states, zip codes and cities when they might be looking for a place to enter their parish, prefecture, or perhaps just their island.

Zip Code and Postal Code – Not the same thing

Recently, on a business trip in Canada, I was speaking with a few Canadians about their experience of shopping online on US. websites. They detailed some of the common issues Canadians experience and one item took me by surprise. “Canadians hate it when Americans ask for a zip code. We don’t have zip codes – we have postal codes!” The other Canadians concurred and laughed at the expense of their neighbors to the south.

The United States and its territories are unique in the fact that they use zip codes. Most countries use postal codes but some have no zip or postal codes at all.  More than 48% of countries do not use a state field and 19% of countries do not use a city or a state field.  Then you have a myriad of unique cases: Hong Kong only asks for an area, Japan a prefecture and postal code and the United Arab Emirates only asks for the emirate.

Breakdown of International Address Format:
48% City, Postal Code
28% Random Options
19% City
5% City, State, Postal Code

Keep it simple – Keep it clean

There are multiple solutions that can help with international addressing. World Vu provides forms and worldwide addressing. Global DM Solutions and Global-Z provides international data processing and address cleansing. iGlobal Stores provides an international checkout for the consumer with localized country addressing at the point of ordering. The businesses can get good data upfront from global customers by allowing them to fill out their local address with their respective country fields.

Improving the international consumer experience not only makes international consumers happy and improves sales but it can improve your bottom line by preventing mistakes at shipping and minimizing customer service after an international package has been sent.

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