Featured at 'Growing Global' Conference, Ecommerce Leaders Discuss Strategies to Reduce Shipping Costs and Fraud Through Better Customer Data

Rancho Santa Margarita, CALIF. - July 9, 2014 - Melissa Data, a leading provider of contact data quality and integration solutions, today announced it is hosting a panel discussion focused on the data quality challenges of global customer data and addressing, slated for July 16 at 2:30 p.m. at the Growing Global industry conference. In addition to Melissa Data, the panel will feature ecommerce leaders OrderCup, a web technology company that streamlines and automates order management and fulfillment for ecommerce companies, and General Medical Company, a medical device manufacturer with more than 250,000 devices sold in over 40 countries. Together the three firms will provide insight on technology tools and strategies used to verify and correct international customer addresses in ecommerce platforms - ensuring smooth business operations with faster, easier order entry, fewer delivery errors and reduced online fraud.

Aloke Nath, co-founder and CEO of OrderCup, as well as Thomas F. Greany, president of General Medical Company, will participate in the presentation. Melissa Data's Global Address Verification capabilities integrate with OrderCup's ecommerce platform used by General Medical, providing the engine for real-time data quality in the online shopping interface. Melissa Data also integrates with other ecommerce platforms such as Magento, Shopware and Demandware, enabling online merchants to verify and correct addresses as they are entered, validating information from more than 240 countries and territories in real-time.

"Address data is delivery data, and maintaining its accuracy ensures the best online experience for both shopper and merchant. Yet the data can differ significantly from country to region, territory or prefecture, and may even be stored in different languages or character sets. This creates a significant, ongoing challenge for global business relying on customer data as the foundation for growth and profitability," said Charles Gaddy, director of global sales and alliances, Melissa Data. "Data quality is job one and must be managed with a global perspective - for ecommerce platforms, that means integrating smart tools that eliminate bad data at the source and before it permeates business operations."

The panel event is titled "Getting the Package Delivered," and will offer a broad look at international address requirements. Using automated, integrated data quality tools, online merchants can instantly validate and cleanse international addresses, correcting and standardizing them into the official postal format of each geographic locale, and adding missing components such as postal codes or region.

The Growing Global conference takes place July 15-16, 2014 at the Renaissance Long Beach Hotel in Long Beach, California.

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Online Merchants Can Now Verify and Correct Worldwide Customer Addresses; Better Customer Data Reduces Shipping Costs and Eliminates Online Fraud

Rancho Santa Margarita, CALIF. - June 25, 2014 - Melissa Data, a leading provider of contact data quality and integration solutions, today announced a new data quality plug-in for users of Shopware, ensuring powerful contact data quality for e-commerce applications. The Shopware plug-in enables online merchants to verify and correct addresses as they are entered, validating information from more than 240 countries and territories in real-time. The plug-in is based on Melissa Data's Global Address Verification capabilities and was developed by NetzTurm GmbH, a service provider for the implementation of online stores, search engine optimization and web design. The two firms are now engaged in an exclusive partnership for data quality in Shopware-based ecommerce sites.

Online merchants can instantly validate and cleanse international addresses, correcting and standardizing them into the official postal format of each geographic locale, and adding missing components such as postal codes or region. Data fields are populated automatically using an efficient type-ahead feature that auto-completes entries after the first few digits or letters have been entered. Data entry is not only correct, but also up to 50 percent faster with reduced keystrokes, improving the customer's online experience and increasing website conversions.

"With data quality integrated into Shopware, online shoppers have only one step between shopping cart and checkout, which can drastically reduce the drop-off rate during the checkout process. Bad data is eliminated at the source, improving the customer's overall shopping experience with faster, easier order entry and fewer delivery errors," said Gary Van Roekel, COO, Melissa Data. "For the online merchant, accurate shipping and billing information is everything - reducing online fraud, enabling smooth operations and ensuring the best overall customer service."

In addition to ensuring lower shipping costs, timely deliveries and lower return rates, better customer data also improves the success rate of merchants' direct marketing activities. The solution also supports online shops in reaching new markets and customer groups. Both Melissa Data and NetzTurm also plan to develop further joint plug-in technologies for other e-commerce platforms in the future.

Click here to download the Shopware data quality plug-in, available as a stand-alone product, or bundled with "One-Page-Checkout" from NetzTurm. The plug-in is available at a net price of 759 € including 5,000 queries valid for one year and the auto-completion feature for international addresses.

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Named to DBTA 100: Companies that Matter Most in Data, as well as SD Times 100 for Innovation and Market Presence

Rancho Santa Margarita, CALIF, June 18, 2014 - Melissa Data, a leading provider of contact data quality and integration solutions, today announced it was named for the second consecutive time to the DBTA 100, Database Trends and Applications magazine's list of the companies that matter most in data. SD Times has also recognized Melissa Data with its third consecutive appearance in the SD Times 100, acknowledging firms demonstrating innovation and leadership.

"Melissa Data's comprehensive data quality solutions, both onsite and cloud-based, recognize data quality as a global challenge," said Gary Van Roekel, COO, Melissa Data. "Whether you're a start-up or major international brand, trusted data is a powerful business tool that can accelerate company performance and provide the ideal foundation for global growth. These industry acknowledgements validate the reasoning that for business intelligence and governance initiatives to succeed, there needs to be the proper foundation of data quality, enrichment and accuracy."

Judged by DBTA's editorial staff as the top companies in data and enterprise information management, organizations are selected for the "DBTA 100" based on their presence, execution, vision, and innovation in delivering products and services to the marketplace. All 100 companies are highlighted in the special June edition of Database Trends and Applications magazine and on the DBTA.com website.

The "SD Times 100" spotlights industry leadership and influence in a range of essential enterprise business categories, and is based on reputation, product leadership and overall innovation. By examining newsmakers of the previous year, SD Times editorial staff reviews company achievements to determine the stand-outs. Each organization's offerings and reputation are considered, as well as industry "buzz" which demonstrates market leadership. Melissa Data has again been recognized in the Database & Database Management category, acknowledging top firms supporting developers; Melissa Data's development tools help create seamless data quality integrations, enabling custom applications to capitalize on clean, enhanced customer data.

For more on Melissa Data and its global contact data quality solutions, visit www.MelissaData.com or call 1-800-MELISSA (800-635-4772).

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Customer Profiling

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By David Loshin

In my last post I suggested that reviewing the exchanges of value at different customer touch points exposed opportunities for improvement, depending on the context. One of those contexts is framed by who the customer is, what that customer likes and dislikes, and how that customer's decisions are influenced.

This is more simply referred to as a customer profile. We have already looked at some aspects of customer profiling in previous blog entries, mostly concentrating on the relationship between location and generalizations that can be made about transactions that take place at a specific location.

However, a specific customer's profile must encompass more than just location data. The most comprehensive models for customer profile take into account all aspects of the decision-making processes presented to the customer, ranging from small decisions such as which links to click though on a web site to large decisions such as committing to buying a product.

The result of each decision presented to the customer adds to the profile, and can be used in analytical models to look for probabilities that certain kinds of decisions will be made at each touch point.

Managing customer profiles implies two things: that at any touch point, the identity of the entity involved can be discerned, and that that entity's profile can be located and accessed as part of the process. Both of these assertions require identity resolution, and that will be the topic of the next post.

Melissa Data Launches Listware for Salesforce

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Powerful Data Quality Plug-In Cleanses, Validates and Enriches CRM Information; Increases Customer Intelligence with Property and Mortgage Data

Rancho Santa Margarita, CALIF. - June 10, 2014 - Melissa Data, a leading provider of contact data quality and integration solutions, today announced Listware®for Salesforce®, its powerful data quality plug-in that integrates data cleansing, validation, and enrichment directly into Salesforce.com's CRM software. Now available on the Salesforce AppExchange, Listware for Salesforce drives a more intelligent approach to customer data, arming users with unprecedented access to real-time data quality; features include cross-matching contact records, address verification and appending of missing name, address, email and phone information, and updating of addresses for customers that have moved. Listware also validates and cleanses international addresses - standardizing them into the official postal format for each geographic locale, and adding missing components such as postal codes or region. Salesforce users can also enhance their CRM data with detailed, up-to-date property and mortgage information on more than 140 million U.S. properties, improving their customer intelligence for better service and a competitive edge.

"Listware enables high performance CRM, improving opportunities to connect with clients and prospects based on better data. Clean, complete, and enhanced data not only offers greater customer insight but also assures the most fruitful application of sales resources," said Bud Walker, director of data quality solutions at Melissa Data. "Property and mortgage data enrichments help sales teams know their customer more personally - allowing them to act immediately and respond with more competitive services."

Listware for Salesforce verifies names-to-U.S. addresses and further cross-matches the elements of each contact record including address, name, phone, and email; this significantly improves validity and performance of CRM data by verifying identity and ensuring addresses are deliverable. Options for property and mortgage data enhancements cover the spectrum of parcel, lot/land, and subdivision information, including a wealth of data generated from trust deed records.

Listware for Salesforce is available for a $95 license fee which includes 50,000 credits applied to each of its various integrated data quality processes. Click here to purchase and download Listware for Salesforce; for more information call 1-800-MELISSA (635-4772).

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Business Users Can Seamlessly Cleanse and Enrich Customer Data During Transformation; Reduces Resources Needed for Enterprise Data Quality

Rancho Santa Margarita, CALIF - June 5, 2014 - Melissa Data, a leading provider of contact data quality and data integration solutions, today announced its strategic relationship with EXTOL International Inc., a provider of end-to-end business integration software and services, to enable seamless data quality operations in tandem with electronic data interchange (EDI) and other integrated business processes. This partnership gives EXTOL users the option to access Melissa Data's sophisticated, native data quality functions, adding value by eliminating the need for separate data quality resources and assuring data quality immediately as customer information enters the enterprise system. With Melissa Data's suite of data quality tools, EXTOL users can cleanse, validate and enhance customer information as data is being transformed. This allows more intelligent use of customer contact data for significantly better segmentation, targeting, fraud detection and identity verification. The relationship between EXTOL and Melissa Data expands Melissa Data's market through direct access to EDI, and other data syntax communities, while also enabling business users with ideal, streamlined access to powerful data quality services and operations.

"Anytime you're migrating data from one source to another, cleansing and enriching the information allows better results as the data moves forward into the enterprise," says Gary Van Roekel, COO, Melissa Data. "EXTOL and Melissa Data are solving this data quality challenge for the business user, by offering integrated processes that simplify data quality operations from step one."

Connection to Melissa Data's cloud-based data quality tools and services is available through referral from EXTOL. During data transfers, users can simultaneously validate, cleanse and augment multi-national customer contact information across countries, languages and character sets - including verification of emails and international phone numbers, and geocoding street addresses by adding precise latitude and longitude coordinates.

"By offering EXTOL customers a data quality solution through our strategic partnership with Melissa Data, we are providing a tangible advantage for database administrators to simplify data quality operations for the range of CRM, marketing automation and ERP applications," says Mark Denchy, Director of Worldwide Partner Program at EXTOL International. "Achieving intelligent customer data is faster, painless and more cost-effective, ultimately raising data quality as a true business priority."

Melissa Data and Extol have joined together to launch an Educast on how to improve the quality of customer data. The webinar will be held on June 24th at 1 pm EST. To register for free, go to: http://www.extol.com/educast.

Your contact data is perhaps your organization's most valuable asset. But how good is your data?

At least 25 percent of most companies' data is probably inaccurate, according to industry analyst Gartner. Bad data is likely caused by the fact that contact data is always in flux - as people move, get married, retire or pass away. This poses a tremendous challenge when migrating data from different sources. You might be introducing bad data into your data systems without even knowing it.

With this in mind, there are ways to improve the quality of your data. Melissa Data and EXTOL International Inc., a provider of business integration software and services, teamed up to help business users easily clean and enrich their customer contact information during the data transformation process. The deal eliminates the need for separate data quality resources - ensuring users have the most accurate data around before it enters the enterprise system.

In this webinar, learn how to correct, clean, update, and complete your contact data to improve customer communications, increase marketing ROI, and create better opportunities for growth.

During this webinar, learn how to:

  • Verify your customer records are deliverable
  • Connect a name to a corresponding address, email or phone data
  • Add missing data to complete contact records
  • And more!

Webinar airs June 24th at 1 pm EST.

Register Now!

The impact of bad data isn't hard to miss. The signs: marketing efforts with poor response rates, undeliverable mail, email bounce-backs, low customer retention, decreased revenue - the list goes on. According to TDWI, bad data costs U.S. businesses an estimated $611 billion annually. The main cause of bad data? Contact data is always in flux. Roughly 40 million (1 in 6) Americans move annually. As a result, the quality of stored U.S. addresses declines 17 percent per year, as people move, get married, retire or pass away.

There's also more than 100,000 changes to the postal delivery database each month. So the chances of introducing bad data into your CRM database rises exponentially, as the need to integrate data from different sources becomes necessary.

Melissa Data and Scribe Software, a global data integration solutions provider, recently teamed up to offer businesses with real-time access to high quality customer contact data for better segmentation, targeting, fraud detection and identity verification.

In this webinar, learn how to empower data quality and improve marketing ROI under this unique partnership. Our data quality analyst Joseph Vertido will highlight how to get the most complete, correct, and current contact data using Personator, Melissa Data's flagship full contact data quality solution.

During this webinar, learn how to:

  • Find the half-life of customer data
  • Identify accuracy, normalization, and timeliness problems
  • Correct and update address, telephone, and email information
  • Complete records by filling in missing contact information
  • Understand the 6 Cs - the benefits of basic data quality

Webinar airs June 12th at 2 pm EST.


Notorious ZIP Codes

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ZIP codes are something that people have learned to live with, something that simply needs to be looked up whenever filling out a form or sending a letter. While they may be of tremendous help when it comes to shortening the time a letter spends in transit, the average consumer often doesn't have room in their memory for any ZIP code other than their own.

Other ZIP codes in the U.S. have developed a certain kind of notoriety, however, either for their rate of celebrities per capita or for being unique in some way. These ZIP codes stand out from the pack and have managed to ingrain themselves in the American collective consciousness one way or another.

We have an infographic, provided by VirtualPhone-Number.com, that covers a few of these ZIP codes and explains the history and details that make them stand out. From 10001 to 90210, these five-digit sequences may sound familiar for good reason. These standouts are located on both sides of the country and in one strange case, even floats above the water.

Take a look at this interesting bit of geography trivia and you might learn something new about what makes this half-dozen pack of ZIP codes a part of Americana:

Infographic by Ivan Serrano

Customer Touch Points and the Exchange of Value

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By David Loshin

I would like to suggest that every customer interaction involves a potential exchange of value between the organization and the customer. The canonical example is the decision to buy a product. In this scenario, the customer exchanges money (which has value) for the purchased item (which also has value). And we can look at some other scenarios to consider the exchange of value:

  • Customer complaint, in which a customer engages the customer support team to complain about the product or service. The customer is looking to trade feedback about the product (which has value for the company) for support for the product (which, of course is valuable for the customer).

  • Prospect query, in which a prospective customer engages a salesperson for information about the product. The customer is seeking information or insight (which has value in terms of gaining knowledge about the product and the company), while the salesperson is provided with qualifying information about the prospect (which is valuable as part of the salesperson's engagement process).

  • Customer payment, in which the customer provides money (which of course has value to the company) in return for settlement of the purchasing agreement (which is somewhat valuable to the customer).

Note that in each of these cases there is an exchange of value - both parties get something out of the transaction. In some cases the exchange is even, such as paying for the product. In some cases the value on party receives is greater than what the other party receives. In other cases the parity (or disparity) between value is not clear. Those areas of potential confusion represent opportunities - either look for ways to eliminate the disparity in exchange of value, or seek to improve different aspects of the value exchange.

A good example is the last scenario we looked at: customer payment. The immediate perception is that the value of receiving a payment is much greater for the company than giving it is for the customer. This bears further review - perhaps the value is greater to the company the earlier the payment is made, and therefore an incentive might be given to a customer who pays ahead of schedule. And in fact it is not uncommon for agreements to include a discount for early payments.

The upshot is that reviewing business processes to identify the customer touch points and evaluating the exchange of value will expose opportunities for improvement that can be evaluated based on the context of the process and the identity of the parties involved. More on this next time...