Ugh January. The most depressing month of the year. Christmas is over, the decorations are down and your trousers are feeling rather tight as you sit at your desk after all of the festive treats that you have consumed over the holiday. January sucks, right? What on earth is there to look forward to now? That’s right, nothing. And whilst we’re completely with you in the midst of those January blues, it’s no use just sitting there mourning the turkey and tinsel, is it? No, it’s time to shape up!
Now is the time to be proactive and help to get the company’s affairs in order. After all, someone has to get that promotion, so why not impress your directors by showing a little initiative on how to get ahead of your competitors in 2019? How, you may be questioning? Well, that’s where the team at Hopewiser is eager to lend a helping hand.
Luckily for you, if you’re lacking inspiration, we have a number of handy tips that will put your business in good stead to succeed this year. And with 36 years of experience in the address and data validation field, I think we can safely say we have you covered. So, stay tuned for how to get lean and mean this January.
Check your Address and Postcode Finder
Being lean and mean is another way of saying “work effectively to compete successfully”. Depending on what you deem as working effectively, some of the more conspicuous tasks could be planning your marketing campaigns, delving into your sales pipeline, and filling any skills gaps as soon as possible. Whilst we agree that these factors are imperative to your future success, you could argue that in order to remain competitive in the market you need to read between the lines and think more inconspicuously. After all, your customers will likely evaluate what your business does differently to your competitors before making a purchases decision, therefore, it’s important that you stand out from the crowd.
One way of doing this is by ensuring that your e-commerce website has an accurate address and postcode finder. Now, your reaction to this could go either of two ways. You may dismiss this as a stupidly obvious suggestion and cease reading, assuming that your website already has the requisite functionality. Alternatively, you may stop and realise “Ah, I didn’t even think about that”. We would hope it is the latter, because unbeknownst to many, addresses and postcodes are actually much more complex than one may think.
The UK was the first country to introduce postcodes, and today they play a fundamental role in our everyday lives. We rely on them to send letters and gifts to our loved ones in the same way that businesses rely on them to send their customers’ purchases to the correct address. Without them, who knows what would happen? We do. There would be delivery mayhem! And you think you hate delivery couriers now? The chaos that would erupt if they couldn’t pinpoint an address would send us all into a frenzy.
On a slightly more realistic scale, an address and postcode finder or lack thereof could be the make or break of your business in 2019. Did you know that 39% of consumers never shop with an online retailer again following a negative delivery experience? In fact, 54% of consumers state delivery defines who they shop with. That’s a lot of people! Therefore, it is vital that you put the correct measures in place in order to mitigate the risk of losing your customers.
Think of it like this, if a customer mis-entered their details during the checkout stage of making a purchase and your inacurrate address finder failed to highlight the error, then the likelihood is that their order will be delivered to the wrong address. The customer isn’t likely to accept the blame for it, right? The old adage “the customer is always right” and all. So you could potentially lose that sale if they demand a refund and they may subsequently refrain from repeat purchases in the future. “Ah, what’s losing one customer, eh?”, you’re asking? Well don’t.
Losing the odd customer may not bother you all that much, but neglecting such features on your website as address capture could lead to repeated mistakes, resulting in you losing more and more customers further down the line. Not to mention that 43% of consumers use social media to express their displeasure at a poor delivery experience. Amongst 18-26 year olds, the figure increases to 48%. Yikes! Once word of mouth begins to spread about the negative experiences that your customers have received with your brand, then you’ll be a goner!
This can all be avoided by simply using an online address lookup tool. Not only does this provide the fast and easy capture of accurate addresses, but it eliminates the need for storing data and also eradicates the burden of maintenance costs. Quick and efficient, perfect! With daily Royal Mail Postcode Address File (PAF) updates, you will also have the option to add such extras as international data, grid references, and bank account validation. Considering that card and account fraud levels have jumped 40% in a year, according to figures released in August 2018, it’s imperative that you reduce the risk of fraud with accurate data in order to prevent erroneous payments. Find out more about Hopewiser’s online pay per click Address Lookup tool here, and sign up for your FREE trial.
Clean up Your Company Data
Forget about Spring cleaning, that’s ages away yet! You should start 2019 as you mean to go on, and that means ensuring that your company’s data is clean and compliant with current legislation. Have you heard of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)? We would certainly hope so! The new GDPR is the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years. And whilst we say the “new GDPR”, the 25th May 2018 actually feels like a lifetime ago. But seeing as though 50% of firms are still not GDPR compliant, perhaps the regulations are still very new to some. If you’re one of the many organisations that fall under the non-compliant half, then now is the time to act and become compliant before you’re held liable to a huge fine. There’s no use burying your head in the sand or waltzing around thinking you’re invincible, because the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) will catch up with you eventually. The ICO is the UK’s regulatory body who ensures that firms are compliant with data legislation.
Did you know that anyone who is found to be non-compliant with the GDPR could be fined up to €20 million, or 4% of their total annual worldwide turnover? That’s enough money to sink a ship! Well, perhaps not, but it’s enough to sink you and your business anyway. Here at Hopewiser, we understand that the prospect of compiling and cleaning your data can be quite a daunting one, especially if you hold data in the masses. Therefore, to make life easier for yourself, why not utilise an online data cleansing solution? Not only will this enable you to quickly upload your files to the safe and secure system, but the tool will cleanse your data of any duplicates, deceased, and mover records by cross-matching them against a number of suppression files. Sounds good, doesn’t it? After all, you wouldn’t want to try and get in touch with someone who has died, as this would upset their nearest and dearest, right? Similarly, marketing to a customer who has moved house could be equally problematic. If you’re mailing an exclusive discount code to someone’s address, for example, and they have moved somewhere else, then they’re going to be rather put out when they don’t receive it after expecting to. Additionally, the new owners of the property may become irritated at receiving mail addressed to the ex-owners, which could result in a negative brand image for you. Not good.
As well as removing the necessary records from your data, a data cleansing tool also flags up any customers registered with the Mailing (MPS), Telephone (TPS), and Corporate Telephone (CTPS) Preference Services, so you’ll know not to send marketing to those people either. In October 2018, the ICO fined a Manchester firm £150,000 for making nuisance calls to people registered with the TPS. The company was found to be in breach of the Privacy and Electronics Communications Regulations (PECR), which sit alongside the GDPR. This highlights the importance of adhering to all applicable data legislation, and emphasises why a data cleansing solution can help you remain in regulatory bodies’ good books. Find out more about Hopewiser’s online Address Cleanse solution here and get a FREE sample analysis of your data today!
We hope that you have found this guide useful on how to remain lean and mean this January. The two most important things that you should take away from this blog today, are that an accurate address and postcode finder is integral to a successful e-commerce strategy in 2019, and secondly, that cleansing your company data regularly reduces the risk of you being fined large sums of money for being non-compliant with rules and regulations. If you enjoyed reading this article, please stay tuned into Hopewiser’s blog for many more upcoming guides on how to succeed in 2019.
, updated 16th January 2020.