Wal-Mart to Expedite Returns for Items That Were Bought Online

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On Monday, Wal-Mart Stores Inc announced that it was launching a process to expedite returns of items that were bought on its website, in time for the busy holiday season, as it looks to compete better with Amazon.com, the e-commerce giant.

Starting in early November, under the Mobile Express Returns of Wal-Mart, customers can make use of the retailer’s app to return an item. The said process can then be completed at “express” lanes in a store by scanning a QR code and handing over the item that is due for return.

The head of Wal-Mart’s U.S. services and digital acceleration business, Daniel Eckert, said that the new process lessens the time needed for returning products at the stores to as little as thirty seconds from the five minutes that was required by the previous process.

The new returns process also enables customers to receive refunds as soon as the following day. Some items, including colour cosmetics and shampoo, will be eligible for instant refunds even in the absence of the products that are being returned in store.

Wal-Mart is investing billions to get its online business right in order to shave off its market share losses to Amazon, which has rocked the industry with its purchase of Whole Foods, the upmarket grocer.

Wal-Mart announced that it planned to extend the new returns process to items that are bought in its stores by early 2018, and is working on a similar returns policy for items that are bought from third-party sellers on Walmart.com.