How address validation saves you a punch in the chops – real life reactions to website usability issues

On the face of it, putting address validation in your website checkout form might seem frivolous, a nice to have, or simply something you might try out to keep up with a competitor. In fact, there’s plenty of social proof out there to back up usability research and illustrate what a difference it makes even to the biggest brands. Join us for a tour through twitter to examine the true cost of user experience issues on address forms.

Negative brand perception

If someone has decided to spend money with you then can’t complete the checkout, this is understandably a major source of frustration. When attracting new shoppers and striving to build customer loyalty, first impressions truly count and customer satisfaction is directly impacted by how much you consider the user experience when designing your online checkout. Despite having address lookup, these well-known brands are let down by inferior data or poor implementation. If your address data isn’t bang up-to-date, at least enable customers to enter their address manually so they can place their order.

Just spent hours trawling the net for pending wedding gear only to find doesn't even recognise my postcode. Fantastic. - Glenda McCauley

yo @Dominos_UK the site doesn't recognise my postcode even though there's a dominos down the road!  - Nick Hadouken

So HMV doesn't recognise my postcode and keeps saying it's not valid, WTF?! So now I can't order anything. Great.


Losing business to the competition

It has been calculated that over 30% of customers will go to your competitor following a bad user experience online (Compuware survey), even more on mobile devices. It’s easy to pretend the statistics are just theory, but these very direct messages to Best Buy and AutoTrader leave us in no doubt that a bad experience costs you real customers. is a whole pile of fail. You can't find my postcode? Then I can't order from your site. To I go. - Gaston Rampersad

oh dear ebay doesn't recognise my postcode. #epicfail anyone else have an issue with wa6 6ax?? car selling back on @AutoTrader_UK - John Harvey

International growth

It can be even harder to make forms user-friendly when your checkout needs to cater for customers from other countries. With over 120 different address formats around the world, it’s important your address validation solution can deliver results that the local delivery agent will accept and understand. If you are exporting to customers in the UK then it may seem like all postcode lookup services are equal but this isn’t the case; Royal mail make hundreds of changes to their postcode data each day so a supplier with daily updates will give you the best chance of finding your customer’s address. Automatically detecting visitor location and language will also make things easier for your users.

@peta a little help please? I'm a US citizen living in the UK but this form doesn't recognise my postcode - Rad Dougall

@sciam The int. order page doesn't recognise my UK (valid) postcode, so I cannot order, any help? - Blooloop

Not just ecommerce

Address validation is a valuable asset for any web form, not just ecommerce checkouts. As these messages show, anywhere a user has to provide their address is an opportunity to optimise your customer journey.


Trying to see if my exchange is affected by the sky hd broadband issues, however the website doesn't recognise my postcode. Hmm... error - Steve doesn't recognise my postcode. Sigh. - James Aylett

Find it very odd how I can't seem to sign won't allow my postcode..Wonder why?? Am I blocked by GCHQ - Trudy

Increased operation costs

The impact of address related issues is not limited to your online conversion rates and reputation on social media, it could spell bad news for your customer service team too. Here we see a user turn to a good old fashioned phone call in search of resolution.

HMRC's online system doesn't recognise my new address/postcode. It's not a new address. 5 minutes into the hold music... #urgetoscreamrising - Matthew Judd

Delivery downfalls

As we’ve seen, being able to input the right address is important to your customers, but accurate customer addresses are vital at the point of delivery. When there’s a problem with the delivery address it can cause delays, disappointment and, in the worst cases a refund or replacement goods. As you can tell from the disappointment in these tweets, everyone looks forward to receiving their order in a timely fashion.

Just had an argument with the take-a-way driver by phone, he can't find my address and my postcode is wrong! #iknowwhereilivedickhead - karl green

@merchline my order went to another address and the postal service can't find it? I don't want a refund though. what can i do? - Kasey

Have currently got 5 parcels lost in the post, sent over two weeks ago, because couriers can't find my postcode? Wtf? - Sophie Hellyer

But seriously, a punch in the chops?

It’s true, people get really fired up when they’re tripped up by technology! Don’t create unnecessary obstacles for your users.

Using postcode lookup for addresses? If you can't find my address and can't let me input manually, you will get a punch in the chops. - James Young

Have you received feedback from your customers about web form usability?

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