Let’s be honest: returning something to the store is rarely a pleasurable experience. For one, it is typically pretty inconvenient, as you have to make an additional trip back to the store, usually when you weren’t planning to or don’t really have the time. Second, you have to wait in line (and we already know how much fun that can be).
Indeed, returning a product to the store is never a pleasure cruise. Sure, in some cases it can be easier than others but it is rarely something that people want to do.
With all that in mind, though, Wal-Mart might be looking to change your opinion in less than a minute. Well, at least, when it comes to online purchases.
In a bid to leverage its massive brick-and-mortar presence and 24-hr operations, Wal-Mart has announced a new way of handling online purchases that, they say, could shrink processing times down to no more than 35 seconds.
If you want to return something at a Walmart, then, you can start the process on your app before you even get in your car to drive to the store—and the company has 4,700 in the United Stores. When you get to the store, they scan a barcode using a smartphone camera and quickly hand off the returned item(s) in a newly-dedicated express lane at the customer service desk.
This new program is called Mobile Express Returns and should speed refunds and returns to under a minute per customer. It is important to note, however, that this service can only be applied to products you buy directly from Walmart.com and not a third-party partner. It is also important to note that this only involves products you bought online and came in to pick up; but the company has already commented on plans to add store-bought items maybe in the next six months.
Walmart has made other moves to improve service times by developing the Mobile Express phone app. This provides expedited Mobile Express Money Services right now and will shorten pharmacy times with the upcoming Mobile Express Pharmacy.
Yes, it seems that Walmart is really making a dramatic shift to capture more of the online and mobile market, which makes a lot of sense when you consider just how much business its closest competitor, Amazon.com, manages. But since 90 percent of the US population lives within 10 miles of a Walmart, the company appears to be banking on this new combination of traditional and online retail.