Q&A: Matthew Furneaux, Director of Location Intelligence, Loqate (a GBG solution)
Matthew Furneaux is responsible for strategy and innovation and has over 20 years’ experience in the location data space, particularly in the retail sector.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
After an early foray into the emerging mobile telephony world, I started working in location data in 1998 and have never looked back. Back then, location tech – or address validation as it’s also known – ensured that billions of letters and pieces of direct mail reached our homes. Now, location tech helps to drive the multi-trillion-dollar global eCommerce market and I’m excited every day to be a part of that.
What does your company do? / What is your USP?
Loqate is the world’s most trusted location intelligence specialist. Combining leading technology with the richest global data, our aim is to help every business reach every customer in the world. From address verification to geolocation, our products and services work with retailers’ existing platforms to help them improve data quality and user experience, boost operational efficiency, and increase sales.
What’s special about the platform and your approach?
We’re the only single, simple-to-use source of the best quality data in the world. Our address data is sourced from only best-in-class and official providers, including Royal Mail, United States Postal Service, Canada Post and Australia Post. Data is updated daily, and our global API is available in 130 different address formats, 3,000+ languages, and 245 countries and territories.
What advantage does it add?
Achieving clean addresses, in particular global addresses, is complex due to the multitude of formatting and alignment variations. By validating addresses and other customer data, retailers can quickly and easily enhance user experience, increase checkout and form conversions, reduce failed deliveries and mailings, enhance sales and marketing efforts, and streamline logistics operations.
What does a product/service implementation actually look like and how do you measure success?
Our address verification product can be implemented in minutes, without the help of a developer. It also works smoothly alongside other checkout integrations. Retailers just need to be able to add a piece of code to their website and our quick setup guides demonstrate step-by-step how to do this.
We measure success in a variety of ways but ultimately, success to us is knowing that our solutions have had a direct impact on a customer’s bottom line. Whether it’s better data quality, UX or an increase in conversions, our technology plays a key role in improving businesses across the world.
How are retailers using your systems to gain competitive advantage and what does best practice look like? Can you share a case study with us?
Over 19,000 businesses rely on Loqate every day, including Hotel Chocolat, IBM, Ralph Lauren, Bank of America, giffgaff and GymShark. Our type-ahead address technology is particularly popular with retailers as it reduces friction for the customer but also ensures addresses are captured correctly at the point of entry, avoiding poor data quality and the cost of missed deliveries.
Bloom & Wild is just one of many retailers to have experienced the benefits of integrating Loqate technology within its eCommerce site. Bloom & Wild prides itself on the freshness of its flowers so it’s vital that recipients receive them on time. Rescheduling a delivery is expensive and time consuming, even though the addressing error might not have been their fault. Using our address validation product has not only reduced keystrokes and therefore improved user experience, it’s also eliminated failed deliveries and doubled conversion rates.
Are there other companies you partner with?
Yes – we work with hundreds of partner companies who use our services to enhance their own data capability and products across a variety of applications. We have a global partner program which enables our partners to deliver their best product to market, increase customer satisfaction and grow revenue by fully utilising our premium global address data solutions.
What challenges and opportunities do you see in UK retail for 2021?
The pandemic had a huge impact on the retail sector and many high street retailers sadly weren’t able to make it through the lengthy closures. On the other hand, digitally native brands, or those with a strong online presence, didn’t just survive – they thrived. In addition, we saw some brands being acquired to be run online only, or developed as marketplaces, such as Boohoo and its acquisition of Debenhams’ eCommerce assets.
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s the importance of truly understanding customers, their needs and their behaviours. For retailers going forward, it’s not good enough to simply have an online presence now. It needs to be uncluttered, intuitive and simple for customers to use – not only to meet the demands of seasoned online shoppers, but also the new wave of eCommerce converts who migrated online last year due to convenience and necessity.
How will you address these challenges and turn them into successes?
Loqate plays a vital role in simplifying the checkout. Shoppers have high expectations and low tolerance for friction. Almost 50% of online shoppers will abandon a checkout if there are too many fields to complete, and the worst offender is the address. Adding intuitive autocomplete address capture at the checkout increases conversion, builds trust, and removes this friction.
In the UK, some 85,000 businesses went online in the last year, and competition is fierce. But the great news is that the type of location technology that would previously have been affordable only for larger companies, is now within the reach of even the smallest start up.
What is on the horizon for you as a company?
Loqate has a simple mission – we help every business in the world, reach every customer, wherever they are. As well as making our tech even more simple to integrate and use, we are constantly adding more global location data so that every business can connect with their customers to create strong, long lasting relationships. As a global business with incredible scale, we have the resources in place around the world to ensure Loqate makes eCommerce simple and successful wherever our customers operate.
Any final thoughts?
As I look back over the last 20 years or so, it’s exciting to see that the work we do is more important than ever. As eCommerce grows and businesses start trading cross-border, consumers will demand a more seamless and friction-free experience. Right now, we serve over 19,000 customers around the world, but really, we are just getting started.
To find out more about how Loqate can help your retail operation, click here.