At Universal Yums we ship over 100,000 packages each month. When printing shipping labels, we’d always have a few hundred rejected by the carrier as invalid. This meant we had to reach back out to the customer to get a corrected address or see if we could resolve the issue ourselves, which added time to fulfillment process.
A lot of orders with invalid addresses had fairly minor issues. For example, the city and zipcode correct, but the state was incorrect. Or the city name was spelled incorrectly. Or the zipcode had an incorrect digit. These types of issues can all be corrected automatically with address validation.
For other issues, where the address is truly incorrect, address validation can flag it and potentially have the customer correct before completing their order.
Shopify includes address autocomplete and address validation on all their plans, but with WooCommerce you need to either find or build your own integration.
At Universal Yums, we ended up building our own integration using the Google Places API. On our checkout page, we show the formatted address which often has all the address issues fixed.
Notice how the state was fixed, the +4 zipcode was added, and the address one line was formatted?
For addresses that don’t validate, we display a notice and require the customer to approve the un-validated address if they are certain it is correct.
All these changes have greatly improved the fulfillment process for our warehouse team and improved deliverability rates.
There are a number of different providers for address validation, like Smarty and Loqate. But Google Places API was by far the more affordable option at 0.017 cents per request.
I haven’t built a publicly released plugin for address validation yet, but let me know if that’s something you’re interested in. If you need something for just address autocomplete, check out my free plugin on WordPress.org.