Walmart’s trying to make its return process as speedy as possible.
The big-box giant plans to roll out a program next month called Mobile Express Returns that will let customers refund online orders in seconds by scanning auto-generated QR codes in any of Walmart’s nearly 5,000 stores.
The company claims the streamlined new approach will slash the time it takes to return an item from roughly five minutes to just 30 seconds.
“We know that returning an item and waiting for a refund, especially for a product purchased online, isn’t always seamless, so we’ve completely transformed the process for our customers – whether they are shopping in stores or at Walmart.com,” Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of Wal-Mart Services and Digital Acceleration, said in a statement.
The tool will officially roll out in November, and the company plans to expand it to returns of store purchases starting next year.
The move is the latest example of how Walmart is trying to position its thousands of stores as an advantage in its battle against arch-rival Amazon. The company has allowed the option of returning online orders in its stores for months, and it’s also experimented with ways of expediting store pick-ups such as giant vending machines and self-service kiosks.
While Amazon still can’t match Walmart’s massive physical infrastructure, it’s made some headway towards catching up by allowing online returns in each of its nearly 500 newly acquired Whole Foods stores and inking a deal with Kohl’s to allow them at certain Los Angeles and Chicago locations.
Returns remain a huge area of competition for the country’s two biggest online retailers. Reports estimate that as many as 30 percent of all online purchases are later returned and any hassle in doing so can be a major deterrent to consumers considering shopping online.