How to use FedEx Address Validation on your Online store?

fedex address validation

It’s important for a package to reach its correct destination safely. FedEx, in particular, puts in a lot of effort to ensure it happens every time. They have FedEx Address Validation service to determine locations and get shipments delivered to their right addresses.

We will explore FedEx Address Validation service and look at the benefits of using it along with your WooCommerce or Shopify store. We will see how this service works in WooCommerce FedEx shipping plugin and Shopify FedEx App.


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What is FedEx Address Validation service?

FedEx offers its users with a premium service called FedEx Address Validation. With this enabled for your account, you can confirm if the address entered into the form is a valid address or not. This is similar to how certain softwares notify the user when a wrong password is entered. 

Notifications, error messages and pop-ups generally appear in instances when an address that is entered fails its FedEx Address Validation check. This prevents the customer to proceed with their checkout until and unless a valid address has been entered.


How does FedEx Address Validation work?

This service checks if the entered street, city, state (province in some cases), or postal/zip code is correct or not. In some cases, FedEx Address Validation may be able to add missing information depending on the verification of the provided information against reference data. However, it cannot add missing secondary information (i.e. apartment or suite).

It also checks if the street number is within a valid range for the street entered. The service informs you when an address cannot be resolved (address verified against reference data) based on the street number, street name, city, state or province, or postal/zip code entered.

To sum up, here are the details required by the service to validate.

  • Address with at least 1 address line
  • City
  • State/Province (if applicable)
  • Postal/zip code (if the country is postal aware)
  • Country

How to enable FedEx Address Validation service for your FedEx Account?

The process of enabling FedEx Address Validation is really simple. You would find it as an option while setting up your FedEx Account.

  1. Call 1877 339 277
  2. Once you are in contact with a FedEx Web Service Representative, ask him or her to enable the FedEx Address Validation service for your account. For this, you will be asked to provide your FedEx Account and Meter number, your company name, address and phone number. 
  3. Ask for a reference number, and save it for future reference in case you need to follow up with them later.
  4. The changes should be completed while you are on the phone so you can have a product in the checkout with an address. When they tell you it is complete, click on the zip code field and then scroll down to the shipping area. The FedEx methods should appear. If not, let them know you are not getting rates yet.

For the Address Validation service to work on your website, it’s necessary to ensure your online FedEx shipping solution, like WooCommerce FedEx shipping plugin or Shopify FedEx App, is integrated with FedEx API. You can refer to this article on FedEx production credentials, to learn how to do that.


What are the benefits of using FedEx Address Validation service on your online store?

As a store owner, it is important to make sure that your customers have a seamless experience while completing their checkout formalities. Here are some of the benefits of using this service.

  • Provides street level matches
  • Receives monthly updates to its address database
  • Checks addresses in several countries in these regions – U.S., Canada, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and the Asia Pacific
  • Can distinguish between business and residential addresses (for the U.S. and Canada addresses only)
  • Up to 100 addresses can be checked in one Web Service request

The FedEx Address Validation helps both the shipper as well as the Recipient on an e-commerce level. It helps you by,

  • Speeding up the checkout process for customers by cutting keystrokes by nearly 80%
  • Restricting duplicates addresses and ensuring that the addresses entered are done so in a standard and consistent format
  • Populating accurate addresses and ensuring that deliveries and invoices get shipped to the right place thus cutting down on missed deliveries
  • Utilizing an advanced search logic which provides accurate addresses regardless of the spelling entered by customers

Note: FedEx does not normally deliver to P.O. box addresses for U.S. or U.S. inbound shipments. However, FedEx may deliver to post office boxes in some rural locations if the P.O. box is associated with an address.

You may also use P.O. box addresses for certain international locations, including shipments to Puerto Rico, but you must include a valid phone, fax or telex number on the label. You can read more about FedEx international shipping if you want to know more.


Does FedEx Address Validation support international addresses?

Yes, FedEx Address Validation works with international/overseas locations. It provides users with the ability to choose language and format for the specific country. Here are the countries where it supports.

Antilles Guatemala
Argentina Hong Kong
Aruba Italy
Australia Jamaica
Austria Malaysia
Bahamas Mexico
Barbados Netherlands
Belgium New Zealand
Bermuda Norway
Brazil Panama
Canada Peru
Cayman Islands Portugal
Chile Singapore
Columbia South Africa
Costa Rica Spain
Czech Republic Sweden
Denmark Switzerland
Dominican Republic Trinadad and Tobago
Estonia United Kingdom
Finland United States
France Uruguay
Germany Venezuela
Greece Virgin Islands

So, you can have the addresses on packages sent to international addresses in their appropriate language and format. Doing this will also decrease the chance of misspelling.


What is the difference between a Commercial and Residential address?

In general, FedEx ships items to two types of locations; Commercial/Business and Residential. Depending on the type of address, FedEx determines the shipping cost. So it is important you understand both of them.

Commercial addresses are generally the locations which are considered as commercial real estate. These locations are usually classified as a warehouse that has tractor-trailer access and a loading dock.

Residential addresses, on the other hand, are any business location that is operated from a home, apartment, or any other similar area where people live. Delivery trucks usually enter these areas to perform the final delivery. In addition, the overall shipping charges are slightly higher than that of commercial addresses.

Let’s see how the WooCommerce FedEx shipping plugin helps in determining a commercial and residential shipping address.


How does FedEx Address Validation work in WooCommerce?

WooCommerce does not provide FedEx Address Validation service as a standalone feature. In fact, it does not support FedEx shipping and you need to install the WooCommerce FedEx shipping plugin to enable such feature.

With the WooCommerce FedEx shipping plugin, you can enjoy an end-to-end FedEx shipping experience. You can have FedEx real-time shipping rates displayed on your cart/checkout page, print FedEx shipping labels right off your store, schedule FedEx pickups and much more.

In particular, you can use the FedEx Ground for commercial addresses and FedEx Home Delivery for your residential addresses. Let’s take an example to see it working in real-life.

Note: Given that FedEx Address Validation service works only under a live/production environment, you cannot use your test account. Please follow the FedEx production credential setup process to do that. 

The FedEx Address Validation is pre-defined within the plugin. It will automatically determine if the Zip/Postal code entered is valid and matches that of a location which is serviceable.

A real-life example

Proceed to the cart page and try entering a wrong or incorrect ZIP. The error message will appear above the cart as shown in the red banner (below). Stating ‘No shipping options were found for…‘.

fedex address validation

But when you enter a correct one, you should be able to see the shipping rates. Check out the image shown below.

fedex address validation

The customer is notified when a wrong/incorrect ZIP is typed out on the checkout page. The same message again reappears saying, ‘No shipping method has been selected. Please double check your address, or contact us if you need any help.‘ This will not permit a customer to proceed to complete payment for the order.

In the instance where there is Flat Rate shipping services or Free Shipping services; the order will get processed and is up-to-the Store owner to get in touch with the customer to obtain the right address or the order will get canceled.

checkout fedex address validationThe store owner will receive this error message in the Order Details page of his store. This will not permit the store owner to ship the product nor Generate packages and create Shipping labels.

How to default the delivery address to Residential?

WooCommerce FedEx shipping plugin provides an option for FedEx residential shipping. If your account has the FedEx Address Validation service enabled, this will be turned off/on automatically.

But let’s say you ship to both business and residential addresses. Then how will the shipping cost is passed from FedEx be the residential or commercial delivery rate? And what if you want to default to the residential address rate in case the FedEx API fails to detect?

Well, the address validation service identifies whether the address is commercial or residential. To get accurate rates, it is considered a good practice to have the address validation service. If you have address validation enabled, it does not matter whether you marked the address residential or not, the FedEx API will validate the address on its own and return the rates on the basis of that.

fedex residential delivery

In addition, the ‘Default to residential delivery’ option allows you to set the fallback address as residential. So if ever the FedEx API doesn’t work or is broken for some reason, the entered addresses would be defaulted as residential. You can read more about the FedEx residential delivery and FedEx Home Delivery.


How does FedEx Address Validation work in Shopify?

Shopify shipping provides shipping with carriers like UPS, USPS, and DHL. But, it does not provide advanced features like the FedEx Address Validation. You need to install the Shopify FedEx App to do that. The app allows you to provide real-time FedEx shipping rates on your checkout page, generate and print FedEx shipping labelsshipment tracking, FedEx pickup, and much more.

The Shopify FedEx app automatically identifies the address type by interacting directly with the FedEx APIs. The app uses the FedEx address validation API to classify the address as commercial or a residential address and automatically provide FedEx Ground or FedEx Ground Home Delivery at the checkout page.

FedEx Calculated Rates

Coming back to the point, the app sends the request for residential address check to FedEx API every time a customer enters an address. FedEx then checks for the address and validates the request if correct. It sends the valid shipping service along with rates back to the app which is then displayed on the checkout page. Also, you need to ensure that both residential and business addresses are enabled under the “Rates settings” in the app, so that rates are displayed accordingly.

Enable both addresses

Let’s see how the app displays rates based on commercial and residential addresses. 

FedEx Ground at checkout

In the above image, you can see that the address entered is a commercial address and the app display FedEx Ground at the checkout.

FedEx Home Delivery

Here, the address entered is a residential address. So, the app display FedEx Ground Home Delivery at the checkout page.

However, Shopify shipping process focuses on making the shopping experience better. The process is different when compared to that WooCommerce, where the customers can see the shipping rates on the Cart page.

In Shopify, customers would have to enter the address before they can see the shipping rates. When a customer enters an address, it is validated before the rates are shown. Have a look at the image below.

Address Validation at checkout

This means that customers would not be allowed to see the FedEx shipping rates unless they enter a correct address. In addition, letting customers know about the incorrect address right then and there is good practice.


Conclusion

In this article, we discussed how the FedEx Address validation works in FedEx and how it identifies a commercial and residential address. We also saw how the WooCommerce FedEx shipping plugin and Shopify FedEx App help you achieve FedEx address validation on your store.

If you have any query regarding this article, feel free to contact our customer support.

Happy selling!

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