Walmart Stores shares advance as it unveils digital expansion plans

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And, it seems the big-box retailer is onto something.

The way Wal-Mart's 30 second return will work is customers will start the process on Wal-Mart's mobile app before going to the store. In addition, according to a study by InfoScout, Walmart Pay now ranks as the No. 2 mobile wallet, despite launching chainwide only 16 months ago, and now offers customers instant access to their Walmart credit card.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.is introducing a simplified return process in early November for items sold and shipped by Walmart.com, to be followed by a simplified process for store purchases early next year. The retailer also says that it will be adding 1,000 additional online grocery locations in the U.S.in fiscal 2019. "But we also know returning an item and waiting for a refund, especially for a product purchased at Walmart.com online, isn't always seamless".

While Wal-Mart, Target, Costco and others look to make returns easier for customers, Amazon is trying to grow its brick and mortar presence.

The Mobile Express Returns option only applies to purchases completed through Walmart's website and will be for select items. It's also rolled out curbside pickup of online grocery orders in about 1,000 of its USA stores, putting it way ahead of rival Target Corp., which only offers the service for non-perishable items in its hometown of Minneapolis. On top of that, the company will endorse immediate returns of certain products such as shampoo.

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Wal-Mart has "unmatched physical resources, including stores and supply chain, and in the process is providing consumers with a compelling online alternative to Amazon", he said. At the store, you can fast-track through the line via a Mobile Express Lane at the customer service desk.

The new system is meant to shave the average time it takes to process a return from about 5 minutes to 30 seconds. It reported growth of about 62 percent for the first half of fiscal 2018, up from 12 percent in the year-ago period.

"Wal-Mart customers think of Walmart.com as "Wal-Mart" regardless of where the products originate and will expect Wal-Mart to accept returns for any items available on its digital platform", Spieckerman said.

With more than 4,700 stores, Walmart hopes to win over Amazon customers who chafe at the expense and time needed to exchange items.

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