AO is pilots deliveries to what3words addresses | what3words
05/03/2020

Delivering to customers isn’t always straightforward, with addressing inaccuracies being a major cause of frustration for both drivers and customers. To help people say exactly where they’d like their goods delivered and make it easy for drivers to find these precise locations, AO is piloting a new addressing system: what3words.

What’s wrong with addresses?
When addresses are typed into online maps, pins tend to drop somewhere close, but not exactly at the entrance of the house or building, and in the case of large buildings, the pin will drop in the centre of the building instead of a specific delivery entrance. Street names are often duplicated, meaning mistakes are easy to make, and the UK’s many unnumbered houses can be hard to find. Cities are constantly evolving, but new builds take time to be added to postcode databases or to be visible on maps. In the countryside, postcodes cover huge areas.

These addressing challenges mean that packages take longer to reach customers, sometimes don’t reach their intended destination at all or are delivered to the wrong address.

what3words makes it easy to give precise delivery locations
what3words has divided the world into 3m squares and given each square a unique address made of three words. For example, ///games.bunks.invest is the what3words address for a bench in Roundhay Park in Leeds.

Every home or office entrance now has a simple address that customers can find on the free what3words app or at what3words.com and easily communicate to delivery drivers.

The pilot
AO’s pilot of what3words will run over six weeks in Leeds and Avonmouth, testing whether the system makes it easier for drivers to find tricky delivery locations in rural areas and newly built housing development zones.

During these six weeks, when customers order a large item for delivery, they will receive an SMS asking them to find and save the what3words address for where they’d like their goods delivered. Thirty minutes before their scheduled delivery, they will get a phone call from the delivery driver asking for that what3words address.

The drivers covering these areas have been trained ahead of the pilot to use what3words to navigate to delivery locations. They have the what3words app installed on their phones, so all they have to do is type or say the three words into the search bar, and tap ‘Navigate’ to get directions to that exact 3m square using their preferred navigation app such as Google Maps, Waze or Citymapper.

Find out more about what3words for e-commerce and logistics.