Wal-Mart deploying shopping app to simplify returns process for holidays

Wal-Mart deploying shopping app to simplify returns process for holidays

First, customers will use a smartphone app to indicate that they will be coming into a Wal-Mart store to make a return. Refunds will be credited to customers' payment account as soon as the next day, although beginning as early as December select household items will be refunded instantly, even before returning them to the store.

If you're exhausted of waiting in Walmart's return line, you'll be glad to know Walmart announced Monday that it's reinventing its return process. But the discount retailer is on a mission to slash that to 30 seconds, said Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of Wal-Mart Services and Digital Acceleration. Walmart is leveraging its huge brick-and-mortar presence to make returning unneeded items less of a hassle for its fan base.

Wal-Mart Stores, the retailer's parent that also operates the Sam's Club chain, said it expects profit for fiscal year 2019 to increase about 5% over the expected adjusted earnings of $4.30 to $4.40 per share for the current fiscal year. In addition, in some cases like with bulky items, customers can simply keep them and still get a refund.

Moody's lead retail analyst Charlie O'Shea said Walmart is giving shoppers a "compelling online alternative to Amazon" and views its online sales forecast as "an impressive goal, especially on the heels of the 30 percent outlined at the 2016 investor meeting, which at the time seemed aspirational". "We can detect those folks that may be trying to take advantage of that system and we have the appropriate checks and balances". The company declined to say how many customers use its app, and doesn't share data on the volume of items returned.

The more consumers shop online, the more they return.

Wal-Mart's investments in e-commerce have already helped boost sales.

Shares of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

"We're combining the accessibility of our stores with e-commerce to provide new and exciting ways for customers to shop", CEO Doug McMillon said in the release.

Spieckerman pointed to one other potential hitch as well.

All customers need to do from this point on is to take their unwanted products to the nearest Walmart store. This new programs is basically to better serve the in-store returns, named as "Mobile Express Returns" for the online purchases. Returns right now are about quadruple that time, not including any wait in line. The older the historical return data is, the more likely it is to be less useful when predicting future returns.

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