Shares of Walmart are up 2.71% at $US81.20 on Monday following the announcement that the company will begin offering a tech-savvy way for customers to return purchases.
In November, Walmart will begin allowing customers to return items they purchased through Walmart.com to physical stores with the help of an app. The app will allow customers to enter all the necessary information about the return before heading to the store, where a Walmart employee will finish the process in about 30 seconds, according to the company.
Walmart is calling its new service “Mobile Express Returns.”
The move is an important step in the company’s battle over the future of retail. Walmart is leveraging its massive brick-and-mortar footprint to make returning unwanted items less of a hassle for consumers. Instead of finding a box, packing an item securely, attaching a return label and dropping the item at a Post Office, a customer just has to return the item to one of Walmart’s 4,700 stores. It’s estimated that 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart, which is the key advantage of the program.
Walmart has been ramping up it e-commerce efforts lately. The company now offers in-store pickup for online orders as well as free two-day shipping for many online purchases in an effort to take on Amazon. At the same time, Amazon has been working its way into traditional retail, most notably with its $US13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods.
Walmart is up 18.14% in 2017, bucking the general decline that has hit many retailers this year.