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Walmart to expand free two-day shipping

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Millions of third-party marketplace products to be eligible

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart is expanding its free two-day shipping program to include millions of products sold by third-party sellers in the Walmart Marketplace section of its e-commerce web site. The retailer is also simplifying the returns process for items purchased from many of those third-party sellers, including launching the ability to facilitate returns at any of its 4,700 stores.

Walmart’s free two-day shipping program applies to orders of more than $35.

“When customers shop Walmart.com, they trust us for low prices and free two-day shipping on the items they buy every day,” Scott Hilton, chief revenue officer at Walmart eCommerce U.S., wrote on the company’s web site on Tuesday. “And, regardless if the item is shipped by Walmart or a third-party, marketplace seller, we know they expect the same, seamless shopping experience.

“With that in mind, we’re making two significant changes to our marketplace shopping experience. We’re working with our marketplace sellers to make millions of items available for free two-day shipping without a membership fee and simplifying the returns process for items purchased from marketplace sellers, including launching the ability to facilitate returns of these items at any one of our 4,700 stores. The improvements will begin to roll out this November, just in time for the holiday season.

Walmart Marketplace was launched in 2009 to compete with Amazon’s version, and it has allowed Walmart to dramatically expand its e-commerce offerings with items sold and shipped by third-party sellers.

Walmart has begun making the returns process simpler for customers who buy marketplace goods. The company is rolling out a system through which these customers just log on to their Walmart account, print out a return label and ship the item back to the seller. Beginning in November, customers will also have to the ability to facilitate eligible returns at a Walmart store. The customer packages the product for return and brings it to the store’s Services desk. The store will then ship the item back to the seller, who will process the return and provide the customer with a refund.

“With 90% of Americans living within 10 miles of a Walmart store, we think this is going to be a real game changer for our customers,” Hilton said.



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