Shipping Address Validation

For our U.S. and Canadian customers, Lulu has recently introduced a new address verification system into our checkout process. This new system will allows us to validate shipping addresses against the USPS (U.S. Postal Service) address database which will help prevent delays and other shipping related problems from occurring.

 

Sounds exciting right? Well, even if this is perhaps the most boring blog entry I’ve ever written, we’re pretty excited about making shipping more efficient (what can I say, we’re easily excited), but we also wanted to make sure everyone was aware of this change in case you run into problems later on. We believe this new system will improve our service and prevent shipping problems from occurring, but there may be a few cases where a customer runs into a problem even when entering an address that is technically correct.

 

Unfortunately, a computer isn’t as smart or adaptable as your local mailman and so they can’t always validate an address that is technically deliverable because of a minor misspelling or omission of info. When entering your shipping address, please be sure to include your full address, including the correct abbreviations where applicable for your St., Blvd, or whatever type of road you live. Also, be sure to include such terms as apartment, suite, floor, room, etc. Avoid simply omitting these terms, replacing them using “#” or just including the number.

 

A full list of the common and correct abbreviations can be found here on the USPS website.

 

If, for any reason, you run into any issues entering your address during checkout, please see our Common Shipping Validation Errors and Solutions page in Help.

 

-Adam

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4 Comments

  1. Steven Doerfler

    This is the correct way to use USPS address validation:
    1. If the USPS database offers a correction, ask the user if they want to use it, or use the address as entered.
    2. If the USPS database doesn’t recognize the address, ask the user to confirm that they want to use it anyway.
    Well-designed web sites (including the USPS’s own site) don’t assume that the USPS data is up to date and always correct. The hubris of assuming they know better than the customer is a continuing source of problems at Lulu. We’ve seen this with Lulu misformatting foreign postal codes, rejecting APO/FPO shipments, and in diverse other cases. Just take what the user types and print it on the label without screwing it up, and things will work much better than these recurring attempts to be “smart”.

  2. V

    I’ve been on a website that wanted me to input my address but I tried a million variations and the computer rejected each one of them. If the computer isn’t flexible, you’ll find a lot of customers giving up in frustration. As I did.

    It’s really hard to read the “mind” of a computer.

  3. I agree with “V”. It didn’t work for me. As I told a friend who asked me why I was so frustrated wuth Lulu, I answered “I usually get everything shipped to my job since I can’t really get packages at my new apartment. Lulu’s ordering system wouldn’t accept my work address, telling me that an apartment number was required. I tried to trick their little system a thousand different ways, but it wouldn’t accept whatever I tried to enter. I e-mailed their support and they essentially told me tough luck. So I ordered the book shipped to my apartment, where I might not get it.” Of course, that was just the beginning of my frustration.

  4. Marianne Ruane

    Having just wasted over 45 minutes with Lulu’s absolutely incompetent livechat staff regarding this issue, I have to agree with the last 2 posts. My parents live in a very small town and their address is not listed in the USPS database. I had the book I made shipped to my aunt’s house instead, and I am EXTREMELY annoyed. I have better ways to spend my time this holiday season. A simple button that allows the customer to override the USPS database notification and send the item to the address as listed would have saved me (now) over an hour. I will not be using Lulu’s services again.

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