Walmart has indicated that it is taking steps to simplify the process by which customers return merchandise they bought online to brick and mortar stores. While making returns currently takes around five minutes the retail giants wants to reduce that to half a minute according to Walmart Services and Digital Acceleration senior vice president, Daniel Eckert.
Towards this end Walmart will next month launch Mobile Express Returns which will be applicable for items that were purchased on Walmart.com. The integration into the system of items bought from the brick and mortar stores will occur early next year.
“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 Eckert in a statement.
To make a return all that online shoppers will be required to do is initiate the process on their mobile device using an app provided by Walmart before they head to the brick and mortar store. They will then be require to use Walmart’s Mobile Express Lane where a prompt for a refund will be credited to the payment account of a shopper once a QR code is scanned.
The Mobile Express Lane was announced by Walmart earlier in the year and two months ago the processing of rolling out these lanes had been completed. Originally the lanes were meant for the money service and the pharmacy customers of Walmart but the lanes will now serve an additional function of handling returns.
According to Invesp, about 30% of all items purchased online end up being returned. The return-rate from items purchased in stores is 9%. Shoppers consider the return process of defective or unwanted purchases inconvenient and too much of a hassle.
Beginning in Decembers Walmart shoppers will also be able to get instant refunds on certain items without having to make store returns via the Walmart app. This includes items such as cosmetics, household cleaning supplies and shampoo. The retail giant is also planning on adding other items which can be reused the moment they are damaged or opened.
According to Eckert, Walmart has made technological investments to ensure that shoppers don’t abuse the returns policy with regards to items they don’t have to take back to the store. So far none of Walmart’s peers issue refunds without taking items back on such a big scale.