12.22.2020

Walmart At-Home Returns - How Brick and Mortar Can Win

Written by Austin Chegini

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This week, Walmart announced a new return method that will help the retailer compete against large e-commerce companies like Amazon. Thanks to a partnership with FedEx, customers can now do free at-home returns. They simply leave the returned item at their door, and FedEx will deliver it to Walmart at no cost. 

The company said this program is perfectly timed to alleviate some stress during the holiday season. Return lines for unwanted gifts and ill-fitting items can be long, lessening some of the excitement during this time of year. 

With free home returns, you can skip the line and spend more time with loved ones. Best of all, you can stay safe during the ongoing pandemic.

How it Works

The Walmart return program is available to all customers who purchased goods on Walmart.com. 

If they must return an item, they can start the process on Walmart.com or the Walmart app. Then, they will need to use the “Carrier Pickup by FedEx” return option to get their shipping label. Once they affix the label to the box, they leave their item outside at the appointed pickup time. 

What if you don’t have a printer?  

Customer without a printer can follow these steps to avoid the store:

  1. Start the return process and choose “Drop off at FedEx” 
  2. Obtain their return code / QR code
  3. Take their packaged return and QR code to any FedEx Office location
  4. The FedEx associate will scan the code and print a free return label 
  5. FedEx will then send the return back to Walmart

The company states they will credit most online returns on the following day. In-store returns will be credited that same day. 

How this Approach Can Help Brick and Mortar

Amazon and other online sellers have dominated the online market. With things like 2-day shipping and very liberal return policies, consumers are confident in using these retailers. 

But Amazon has yet to provide this level of convenience. Currently, customers who want to return Amazon products need to visit a mailing center or drop-off the item at a participating store like Kohls.

During the panicked holiday frenzy, it can be safe to assume that people do not want to deal with this added hassle.

While Amazon certainly makes it easier to buy things and see them fast, it loses out on personal interaction. Customers cannot touch goods or try on outfits, so they end up being hesitant to buy certain products. If Walmart can blend their in-store experience with this convenient return method, they can show how brick and mortar will thrive during the upcoming years.

What can other retailers learn from this?

Walmart’s new partnership with FedEx shows how retailers can stay competitive with e-commerce giants. Although the program is only available for online purchases, Walmart does not explicitly state it will remain that way. As the program hits its stride and Walmart evaluates its efficiency, they can easily allow all purchases to be returned this way. 

On top of this, the “Carrier Pickup by FedEx” is a new service that the store provides, but any store can mirror this model. 

While we do not know how much FedEx charges for this service, it may be a viable option for other stores. As the company evaluates the program, FedEx could begin offering this return service to all retailers. Eventually, it might be the normal way for people to shop and return goods in our omnichannel economy. 

Get your brick and mortar store ready for the future with Epos Now

With online shopping being the new normal, businesses need to stay competitive. Shoppers want a fast, simple experience. Investing in the right technology can connect you with more customers and keep them satisfied.

With the Epos Now point of sale system, brick and mortar stores can provide an outstanding experience to customers and streamline operations at the same time. 

Our cloud POS is perfect for:

  • Selling Online: You can connect with leading online sales platforms like BigCommerce to do more business.
  • Simplifying Returns: We help you process returns via mail or in-store, making shopping more convenient.
  • Tracking inventory: Take stock in minutes, and spend less time updating inventory since all levels automatically adjust with each sale.
  • Online marketing: Integrate with MailChimp and customer loyalty programs to stay in touch with your valued customers.
  • Tracking customer data: Identify trending products and create customized offers based on consumer spending habits.

Learn more by speaking with a point of sale consultant today!