- Walmart has started offering a new service to make the returns process easier for customers.
- Walmart shoppers will now be able to start returns online, print their shipping label at home, and leave the parcel at their door for FedEx to pick up. The service is free and available anywhere FedEx offers its small parcel pick-up service.
- The new returns option should eliminate the biggest pain point of online shopping at a time when customers are ordering online more than ever before.
- It should also give Walmart a leg-up against Amazon, which does not offer a competing service.
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Walmart is introducing a new service that should eliminate the biggest hassle of online shopping: returns.
The retailer announced Monday a new, free service called Carrier Pickup by FedEx, which enables shoppers to return an item without leaving the house: Now, customers will be able to leave a package at their door for FedEx delivery drivers to pick up.
Customers can start the return process online, select a date for their item to be picked up, print out and attach a shipping label, and leave the item for FedEx to pick up. Those who don’t have a printer at home will be able to drop their package at a FedEx Office location, where a label will be printed for them.
Walmart says the new carrier pick-up option is free and will be available to customers in regions where FedEx offers its small parcel pick-up service.
The company said it has also worked to speed up the refund process so customers can get their money back as soon as the next day.
The new item-return service comes at a time when many customers are hesitant to leave their homes or visit crowded indoor locations, which has resulted in a surge in online shopping. According to analysis from eMarketer, online shopping is expected to grow 35.8% by the end of this year, making up $190.47 billion of the total $1.013 trillion analysts predict will be spent on holiday shopping this year.
By comparison, in-store sales are expected to drop 4.7%.
Despite that spike in online ordering, major retailers like Walmart and Amazon have still relied on customers manually returning items — printing a label at home or at a drop-off location and bringing the item to a shipping center. While Amazon offers the option to have your parcel picked up by UPS, the service costs extra to use.
Read More: Here’s why a former Amazon exec says Walmart Plus won’t threaten the Prime model, despite the big-box store’s dominance in grocery.
Walmart remains the biggest retailer in the US, but it has faced tough competition from Amazon when it comes to online shopping, particularly in terms of the easy, speedy buying process. While Walmart has offered free shipping on orders over $35 in the past, Amazon has built a loyal base of Prime members over the last 15 years who rely on the company for free shipping and other membership perks. Walmart launched its own Prime competitor, Walmart Plus, in September.
But as industry experts told Business Insider’s Steven John, Walmart’s returns process has historically been more seamless than Amazon’s, due in part to the company’s vast network of brick-and-mortar locations — which has come in handy in 2020 as the pandemic has resulted in a flood of online orders. Now, with its new service and emphasis on making the return process easier for customers, Walmart has one more advantage in its ecommerce battle with Amazon.