Slice On Taking The Bite Out Of Address Verification During Onboarding

Clunky address verification measures can cause consumers to abandon their carts — or worse yet, not receive their orders — costing retailers business, says Preethy Vaidyanathan, chief product officer at pizzeria-focused technology services provider Slice. In the latest Digital Consumer Onboarding Tracker, she discusses how address verification APIs can help merchants ease their onboarding and checkout processes.

Merchants looking for reasons to streamline customer checkout and onboarding can find many — trillions, in fact.

eTailers around the world are estimated to lose between $2 trillion and $4 trillion annually due to cart abandonment, which sees potential customers leave websites without completing their purchases.

Pinning down the precise global total in sales lost to cart abandonment can be challenging, in part because approximately 60 percent of merchants lack the tools they need to adequately analyze customer conversions. Just 27 percent of companies assess the behaviors of shoppers who fail to complete sales, for example, while 45 percent of merchants cannot pinpoint the genders of potential customers who abandon carts. Thirty-one percent struggle to identify which month experiences the greatest level of cart abandonment, and 37 percent cannot determine which time of day results in the greatest share of consumers ditching their purchases.

Merchants may confront many unknowns as they fight to keep customers from abandoning their onboarding experiences or purchases, but there are several common culprits, including surprise shipping charges, slow and complicated checkout encounters and a lack of trust in site security. Filling in billing and shipping address fields can be especially frustrating for many consumers, especially those who are forced to tap their details into information fields on their tiny smartphone screens.

Failing to streamline these processes can create problems for merchants, as many consumers — including those purchasing food for delivery or takeout — seek smooth online ordering capabilities with minimal frictions, said Preethy Vaidyanathan, chief product officer at New York-based technology platform Slice. The company provides digital ordering-oriented technologies, marketing, data insights and shared services to more than 14,000 local pizzerias serving roughly 5 million U.S. consumers.

“Digitally minded consumers don’t want to call or talk on the phone, and they want to order their go-to [pizza] online without friction,” she explained. “In fact, 75 percent of consumers prefer to order online.”

Consumers’ rapidly growing appetite for digital ordering options means that merchants must adopt numerous digital tools to ease these processes. This starts with ensuring that they offer smooth onboarding experiences.

Minimizing Friction From The Get-Go

Vaidyanathan said the key to ensuring a smooth onboarding experience is to focus on a handful of major elements. These include leveraging user reviews to build trust in digital ordering, allowing customers to mark items as favorites and enabling feedback. She said Slice also employs a visual, food-first approach on its app and works to accurately communicate orders’ statuses to inspire confidence as consumers begin pondering their first orders.

“Onboarding is our first touch point with new customers,” Vaidyanathan explained. “We are constantly working to improve it, make it easier, faster and more personalized while collecting the information we need to set the customer up for a fantastic experience using the app and service in the future.”

Building trust is a key part of the onboarding experience, Vaidyanathan said, and one particularly crucial aspect of this is getting customers’ information right when they sign up. Slice works to achieve this by verifying consumers’ addresses at multiple points during the process, she noted, starting with onboarding and extending into additional parts of the service.

Autocomplete, Address Detection Safeguard Accuracy

Allowing customers to use autofill options and swiftly verifying their addresses requires adopting the appropriate technologies, Vaidyanathan noted. Using application programming interfaces (APIs) for address detection and autocomplete functions is a key component to ensuring accurate deliveries and happy customers.

“We take a holistic, multipronged approach to counter address mix-ups from happening because a poor customer experience leads to attrition,” she said.

This process extends into the next phase of the consumer journey, in which potential customers determine where to place orders. She said those who place orders outside their saved address ranges will be prompted to enter and confirm their new addresses. Order confirmations also list customers’ addresses, allowing them to swiftly make changes if they notice address mistakes after orders are placed.

Slice uses a combination of technology verification services, tools to prompt user review and easily reachable customer service, Vaidyanathan said, and these measures have allowed the company to cut its address-related error rate to 0.06 percent — just six in 10,000 orders. That is not to say that the APIs function flawlessly every time, however.

“Overall, while APIs make the user experience much better and also improve accuracy, they are not perfect,” she explained. “Additional confirmations of addresses are critical, along with … customer service that can process any changes immediately.”

Keeping the onboarding process simple, secure and frictionless can go a long way toward helping merchants engage consumers and convert them into paying customers. Several necessary steps — including address verification and filling out payment details — can make it challenging for retailers to offer quick and seamless onboarding and checkout, but merging APIs and old-fashioned customer service could mean the difference between a completed order and an abandoned one.