Wal-Mart sees 40 pct online sales growth next year, shares rise

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Chances are you're still there. The US retailer giant introduced a new in-store returns service called Mobile Express Returns.

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.

First, customers will use a smartphone app to indicate that they will be coming into a Wal-Mart store to make a return. They added that customers will no longer have to send their products and wait for the online return to be refunded to the account.

The new feature is expected to be offered as early as November for the products sold and shipped by its e-commerce-site, followed by in-store purchases in early 2018. The company expects to reach USA online revenue of $11.5 billion this year. "We're combining the accessibility of our stores with ecommerce to provide new and exciting ways for customers to shop".

According to Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of Wal-Mart Services and Digital Acceleration, the system is meant to cut the average processing time for online returns from five minutes to 30 seconds since time has increasingly become the new currency in retail.

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In the meantime, the retailer will expedite returns even faster starting as early as December when it will dole out refunds as soon as returns are initiated through the app-even before the goods are physically back in stores. He said what Wal-Mart is doing is trying to take advantage of being brick and mortar by loosening the return policy and getting people into their store.

But the online push has come at a cost: Profit margins on online orders are narrower than those for in-store sales, due to fulfilment expenses.

The in-store express option is just one part of Wal-Mart's revamped return plan, which is being rolled out ahead of the Christmas shopping season. This will include items damaged during delivery, or delivered not as described such as off foods and opened makeup. Mobile Express Money Services is now available chainwide and Mobile Express Pharmacy will be available nationwide later this year.

Beginning next month, customers who place orders online will be able to use Walmart's mobile app to process returns, the company claims, in 35 seconds or less.

In summary, our initial impression of WMT's recent results and plans for next year reinforce our view that WMT is taking seriously the need to invest in technology and integrate it into it stores.

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