Walmart launches Mobile Express Returns to refund or exchange items online in physical stores – TechCrunch


As Walmart continues to grow its e-commerce business to rival that of Amazon, its latest development will build on some of the retail giant’s most established operations: Walmart is launching a new in-store return service called Mobile Express Returns.

People who buy items online and then need to return them can do so by logging them into the Walmart app, generating a QR code for the transaction, and then going to a physical Walmart store to quickly return or exchange the items. . In some cases, such as orders with large items, customers may just keep them and still get a refund, a program he called “keep it” in an interview last week.

Mobile Express Returns is set to launch in November of this year and roll out to all of Walmart’s 4,700 stores in the United States. But Walmart confirmed to me that there were “no plans” to add, an Amazon-style marketplace that Walmart acquired for $ 3 billion last year, to this service.

Mobile Express Returns isn’t the first time Walmart has tried to accept returns of items online in stores, but Daniel Eckert, SVP, WalmartServices and Digital Acceleration, Walmart US, has said it will be. ‘a new system that will work much faster.

“Time has become the new currency in retail as much as the economy of money,” he said on a call with reporters before today. “It’s about thinking about how we can create a smoother shopping experience… WWhen something is purchased online and attempted to be returned to the store, customers … expect [that they] can come back to the store and return it. We didn’t appreciate how sophisticated we had to be.

Walmart has embarked on dozens of new services and other initiatives over the past year to accelerate the shopping experience for online shoppers.

They included testing with smart lock maker August to bring groceries and other items into your home; use Uber to deliver groceries; and arrange for store staff to make deliveries.

It has also launched various services to directly tackle Amazon’s fast, low-cost delivery models: discounts on a million products (but only if you pick them up in store) and free two-day delivery for them. orders over $ 35, such as as well as skipping the queue in stores for the pharmacy and cash withdrawals when purchasing with the app.

And of course, there have been the acquisitions of many digital first startups to accelerate the pace and target new customers: for example, and more recently Parcel for delivery services.

The technology behind Walmart Pay, the company’s mobile payment offering, has actually been the basis for this latest product to speed up in-store returns.

Making the connection between Walmart’s online and offline activities makes a lot of sense. Big rival Amazon wasted no time in setting up a similar system with its new retail subsidiary Whole Foods, which began accepting returns from Amazon last month. Amazon is also working with Khol’s to accept returns. And while this is just the start of a physical return network for Amazon, Amazon is likely to expand it if it proves popular.

The new service is useful for Walmart in another way: it will serve as a new avenue to get people in physical stores to buy more globally – not just to redeem items, but to pick up other products you might need. (or be drawn into buying the ones you might not need, as I often do).

And the same goes for the app: if you use the app to make a return, there’s a chance Walmart could trick you into using it to buy something more.

We asked, and Walmart told us it wouldn’t detail how it would monitor “keep it” returns for fraud.

“We will use technology to help us spot irregular behavior,” a spokesperson said. “We are unable to share additional details for competitive reasons.” I guess people will be watched if they make repeated return requests under this one.

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