Walmart announced new moves Monday to speed up the return process for online purchases, including letting some shoppers keep the stuff they don't want and still get a refund.
The first change will come next month, when customers will be able to start the return process on Walmart's app. After that, they can bring the item to a store, scan a barcode with their smartphone and drop it off with an employee at an express lane at the customer service desk. Walmart said the new process will take about 35 seconds or less. Walmart said returns can currently take nearly two minutes, not including the time shoppers have to wait in line.
Online retailers have been looking for ways to make the return process more convenient, with the hopes that easy returns will make people buy more online. Amazon.com Inc., for example, signed a deal recently that lets Amazon shoppers drop off their returns at some Kohl's stores in Los Angeles and Chicago and have employees pack and ship items for free.
In December, Walmart shoppers may not have to return certain items at all. Customers will be able to keep items ordered online that the retailer would discard if returned, such as opened makeup, a rotten fruit or a bottle of floor cleaner that was damaged during delivery. Shoppers would scan the item with their smartphone and get an instant refund. Walmart said its technology would be able to sniff out folks who try to abuse the system.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., based in Bentonville, Arkansas, also said it plans to make returns faster for items bought in stores by earlier next year.
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