Eircode: why a short code can make a big difference

Ireland might not be far away, but years ago when my family and I holidayed there we got pretty lost driving around, despite the aid of a map. I remember being surprised that a country so close to home was so tricky to navigate.

Interestingly up until July 2015, Ireland was one of the few developed nations without a postal code system. That might not seem like a big deal but when you think about it, not having the ability to pinpoint a specific address has huge implications… and that’s not just for Irish postmen. There’s also a big knock on effect for organisations such as delivery firms, who don’t have the local knowledge to plan optimal delivery routes, or even deliver at all.

When I think back to those family holidays we’d probably use a sat nav now but I wonder how well even that would have worked without a postcode.

So the need for more accurate address data was pretty clear and that’s why Eircode was created. It’s a brand new advanced postcode system which can locate every home and business address in Ireland. With Eircode you can locate every individual address in the country using a single code at the end of a current address, like postcodes in the UK, helping to effectively direct mail and services to Irish addresses.

This isn’t just good news for the Irish – it’s a great development for any organisation that collects and holds Irish addresses.

So how does an Eircode work?

It’s worth explaining a bit about how Eircode works. Each is a seven character alphanumeric code. The seven characters are divided into two parts: a Routing Key and a Unique Identifier.

Part 1 – A Routing Key consists of three characters and defines a main town’s span of delivery.

Part 2 – A Unique Identifier is unique to an address and distinguishes one address from another.

Each Eircode can identify an individual address in both rural and urban locations, showing exactly where it is located.

Three ways Eircode could benefit your organisation

Communications may be becoming more digital but there’s no getting away from the fact that addresses still matter. At Experian over 2,000 organisations use The Postcode Address File® (PAF) from the Royal Mail through our tools to validate the accuracy of the UK address data they hold and that’s testament to the fact that for them, having accurate address data is important and, in some cases, business critical.

What’s exciting about Eircode data is that it opens up the same sort of accuracy to Irish addresses. If your organisation relies on addresses and you already use PAF data, then extending your data assets to include Irish addresses is an opportunity worth taking. Here are some ways that Eircode could give you the edge if you do business in Ireland or hold Irish addresses:

1) It’s a great way to improve logistics and distribution

With each Eircode being unique to a property you’ll have improved consistency of address information making it a far more straightforward process to accurately identify delivery and pick-up points.

What does that mean for organisations? Operations and productivity will undoubtedly see improvements as a result of being able to manage more dynamic routing. More importantly, that means less chance of letting customers down with late deliveries and risking the reputational damage that can cause.

2) It enables better planning of service provision

For public service organisations, an Eircode can be invaluable when it comes to logistics planning and delivering important services within communities such as social education, housing and health services. Equally, financial organisations will be able to undertake better assessments based on location and improve accuracy for checking addresses against other databases. This offers benefits in terms of fraud detection, operational savings and customer analysis.

3) It can provide a better customer experience

From a customer service perspective using Eircode means it’s much quicker to capture customer’s detailsonline or in call centres. That makes life easier for your customers and gives you the confidence you’ve got it right first time.

For retailers in particular it’s going to be really important, not just in providing more efficient address capture during checkout but also to provide more accurate data for customer analysis. Ireland is one of the fastest growing digital economies in the world, with consumers spending €850,000 an hour online, so anything that can help more effective targeting and customer service has to be a way of getting a competitive advantage.

Hopefully, I’ve convinced you that there’s more to postcodes than meets the eye. Addresses still have a vital role in today’s digital environment, perhaps even more than ever in a world where customers now demand more of organisations and expect accuracy. We’ve got more information about Eircode in our product sheet which you can download here.