Indian Addresses Part 1 (With Screenshots)
There is no standard format for addresses in India. Addresses may or may not have particular details like building no. or street name. The address formats used by merchants in India usually have two address lines excluding city, state, and zip code details. It helps to have a landmark mentioned in an Indian postal address as it makes it easier to locate the address. Screenshots of the address form for desktop and mobile browsers for each merchant have been provided in this attached document.
ISSUES WITH ADDRESS FORMATS
Addresses in India do not have a standard format and can vary across localities and regions. While some parts of India are well-defined and are easy to locate by street names and house numbers, many streets have no name and buildings are often without numbers.
Postal codes have enabled automation and enhanced efficiency in developed markets, but in the case of India, they have been ineffective as a single postal code covers a very large area—the median area covered by postal code in India is 90 sq. km.--and may comprise up to a million households. As cities expand pin codes may change, but residents remain unaware of such changes. This results in 20-30% of pin codes being incorrect. Google maps may show different pin codes for adjacent buildings and be wrong in both cases.
On testing a geocoding API of a top online maps company, it was found that only 40% of addresses in tier-1 cities in India “got resolved to a geocode with 500m precision”. The performance is worse in tier-2 and tier-3 cities. There are 22 major languages in India. Although people know how to pronounce their locality in the local language, they may not know its transliteration in English, which can result in spelling variations if the locality.
ADDRESS FORMATS USE BY MERCHANTS
The address formats used by merchants can vary. We have listed the address formats for the three e-commerce merchants in India (Flipkart, Amazon, and Myntra), a food ordering app (Zomato), a courier company (DTDC), and the Government of India’s unique identification number enrollment form (Aadhaar).
10-digit mobile number:
Address (Area & Street):
City/ District/ Town:
Alternate Phone (Optional):
Street Address (2 rows):
(row 1: Flat/House No./ Floor/ Building)
(row 2: Colony/Street/Locality)
Complete Address: (house no., street name, landmark)
Address line 1:
Address line 2:
AADHAAR ENROLMENT FORM
The Government of India’s unique identification number enrollment form is the most detailed address form.
In the case of Amazon, we made comparisons of the Amazon US address form and the Amazon India address form. We found that the two are identical. Both forms have two lines/rows for filling the street address. Everything other than the city, state, and zip code/ pin code can be entered in the two lines/rows. However, while the Amazon US prompts consumers to enter the “street and number, P.O. box, c/o” in line 1 and “apartment, suite, unit, building, floor, etc.” in line 2, Amazon India prompts consumers to enter “Flat/ House no./ Floor/ Building” in line 1 and “Colony/ Street/ Locality” in line 2. Only the prompted suggestions have been customized to India, otherwise, the form remains identical in both countries. Any part of the address other than city, zip code and the state can be entered in the street address section, which makes it versatile enough for any address format. This is the same format followed by DTDC, an Indian courier company.
On the other hand, Flipkart, an ecommerce company of Indian origin, specifically ask for the landmark and locality separately (in separate fields). Given that in India people identify an address based on neighborhoods and places of interest, a landmark may be especially useful. For example, saying that an address is opposite or adjacent to or behind or near a landmark like a mall or a school will make the address search simpler. Zomato, an Indian online food ordering company, prompts users to provide the landmark.