Walmart is Working on a Way to Let Customers Return Groceries from Home
Walmart hopes to make it easier for customers to get refunds on select items!
Even the savviest grocery shopper gets it wrong sometimes. Maybe you grabbed some meat that looked fine but failed the smell test once you got it home and opened the package. Perhaps you opened a package of bagels to find mold that wasn’t visible from the outside. Or maybe you just grabbed a can of decaf coffee by mistake.
Finding the receipt, driving back to the store, and standing in line for a return can be a time-consuming hassle. Many shoppers may just toss an inexpensive item and take the loss, rather than sacrificing the time and effort required to get their money back. For Walmart shoppers, there may be a more convenient way to process returns coming soon!
Walmart is developing a new online returns process that will allow customers to return damaged or unwanted groceries without ever leaving the house! So far, this new process is only in the developmental stages, but the company has applied for a patent that gives us a peek at how this new system of returns might look.
Under the new system, customers would be able to use an app to scan a product’s bar code, provide a reason for the return, and request a refund. The app would then perform a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether an in-person return is required. Sometimes it costs more to process a return than an unusable product is worth. In these cases, customers will receive a refund or credit without having to return their item to the store!
Some in-store returns would still be required under this system. If it’s decided that you do need to return a product back to the store, Walmart is hoping to streamline this process for in-app returns with a “speedy return counter or a kiosk” mentioned in its patent application. Here, customers with preauthorized refunds could easily drop off their return and skip the long line at Customer Service.
Walmart’s new return process would have built-in fraud protection, too. Anyone requesting too many returns in a certain time period would be flagged and prevented from using the online return process in the future.
It’s interesting that Walmart had to apply for a patent for this process, because it appears that other online retailers are already doing something similar. If you do a lot of shopping on Amazon, you know that once in a while, the company will issue a refund for an inexpensive item without requiring you to send it back.
There’s no word from Walmart regarding when they hope to have this new return process up and running, but it looks like it has been in the works for a while. Although the patent application was only recently published, the company applied for the patent back in January of 2019.