Walmart seeks online edge with 35-second returns
If Walmart is loved for anything it is low prices. But the retailer has been also making a clear push to get some love for making the lives of its customers more convenient, as well. Along that line, the retail giant has announced a new, easier and faster system that it claims will reinvent the return process at retail.
Beginning next month, customers who place orders online will be able to use Walmart’s mobile app to process returns, the company claims, in 35 seconds or less. Customers bring unwanted items to any Walmart store and scan a barcode with their phone. They then drop the items off with an associate at the store’s express lane or customer service desk. Walmart plans to offer a similar service for items bought in its stores next year.
In December, Walmart will be following Amazon.com’s lead by issuing refunds for some lower priced damaged products without requiring they be returned. Here too, shoppers scan the item with their phone and instantly receive a refund.
As of now, Walmart is only covering items it sells directly as part of its return process, although it says it is working on a system to do the same for products sold by third-parties on its marketplace.
“We know that returning an item and waiting for a refund, especially for a product purchased online, isn’t always seamless, so we’ve completely transformed the process for our customers — whether they are shopping in stores or at Walmart.com,” said Daniel Eckert, senior vice president, Walmart services and digital acceleration, Walmart U.S., in a statement.
“By leveraging our physical stores and the Walmart app, we’re changing the returns game in ways that only Walmart can do,” added Mr. Eckert. “Throughout the year, we’ve added features to our app to make it an even more powerful, time-saving tool for our customers shopping online and in our stores; Mobile Express Returns is our latest enhancement.”
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does an easier return policy correlate to more sales for retailers? Will the launch of easier online returns along with other steps Walmart has made to make shopping more convenient — Pickup Towers, home delivery, etc. — be rewarded with more purchases by consumers?