Walmart streamlines returns process with new mobile effort

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Walmart streamlines returns process with new mobile effort

By Deena M. Amato-McCoy - 10/09/2017

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Eager to streamline the often frustrating task of merchandise returns, Walmart will introduce Mobile Express Returns. Starting Nov. 9, the new service will enable online customers to use the Walmart app to begin the returns process — before even heading to their local store.


Here’s how it works: Customers follow prompts on the Walmart app to find their transaction and pinpoint the merchandise they want to return. Once completed, they can go to their local Walmart store, and enter the Mobile Express Lane.


Here, they scan a QR code displayed on their Walmart app directly onto on a dedicated card reader. The refund is credited back to the shopper’s payment account by the next day, according to Walmart.


The returns process, which the company estimates will take 35 seconds or less, can be completed across Walmart’s more than 4,700 locations.


The discount giant plans to streamline the process even further in December, when it enables customers to instantly receive their refund without even making a trip to the store to physically return the item. This service will initially be available on select household items, such as shampoo and color cosmetics, and others items to be added over time, Walmart said.


“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 VP, Walmart services and digital acceleration, Walmart U.S. “By leveraging our physical stores and the Walmart app, we’re changing the returns game in ways that only Walmart can do.”


To ensure that shoppers don’t abuse the system and keep merchandise they have already been reimbursed for, the discounter has invested in technology to make sure the service isn’t exploited and even detect shoppers who might be abusing the privilege, according to The Street.


Looking ahead, store purchases will be integrated into the program in early 2018. The company also is creating a similar streamlined returns process for items sold by third-party sellers on Walmart.com, according to the discounter.