WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR WHEN PURCHASING AUTOCOMPLETE
1. Beware GeoLocation has its flaws
AutoCompletion’s universal goal is to make entering an address quick and accurate. One way to do this is by using an AutoComplete tool that has a geolocation feature. A geolocation feature will approximate the location of the user based on their IP address. However, if you are working in a call centre, then the nearby results are not going to be the most relevant. Also, IP address locations change, which again can mean the ‘local’ result is not actually the closest. Using a provider that UNDERSTANDS every element and the hierarchy of an address, means that an accurate search can be performed, irrelevant of locality. The data used by Hopewiser is based on Hopewiser’s version of the base dataset, which has been cleansed, standardised, reducing the misalignment, typos and inconsistencies found within raw datasets.
2. Does the AutoComplete API allow for Apartment Numbers (Secondary Unit)?
Many AutoComplete tools will provide you with the primary address of a location. But, they may not provide you with the ‘Secondary Unit’ of the address (Apartment number within that building). You should ask “Do you need frontdoor accuracy or ballpark accuracy for your API?” If your application needs to verify the unit number of a user’s address in order to send mail, deliver services and goods. then you need “front door” accuracy. Using an API that can be controlled, to allow for secondary unit data, such as The Royal Mail’s Multiple Residence dataset,will allow you to tailor the search criteria to suit your company.
Many AutoComplete providers are mapping companies, they are less concerned with all the mailing points to which a customer might want to ship.If correctly handling all types of secondary unit designators is important to you, we recommend that you test any prospective AutoComplete API with some sample addresses that include PO Boxes and apartment numbers.
3. Providing Only Accurate, Real Addresses
You may think all AutoComplete APIs will work with accurate addresses. However, some providers will work with open source or mapping data. Meaning that the address may no longer exist if the data has not been kept up to date. Look for a provider that works with Royal Mail Postcode Address File. This is updated on a daily basis. Here is an easy way to understand and test this with a provider. Simply take a street address you know is real,and alter the building number by one digit and see if the provider’s tool shows that ‘fake’ address as a suggested ‘real’ address.