Use Walmart app and head to front of the line

USA TODAY US Edition - - MONEY - Charisse Jones @charis­se­jones USA TO­DAY

In its lat­est move to com­pete in the new dig­i­tal world of re­tail, Walmart will soon let shop­pers set up cash trans­fers and pre­scrip­tion re­fills from their smartphones, then let them skip to the front of the line in stores to com­plete the trans­ac­tions.

The change will come via an app up­date and new ex­press lanes start­ing next month. Full roll­out will come by fall, Walmart ex­ec­u­tives said dur­ing a demon­stra­tion here Mon­day.

The moves mark a fresh vol­ley in the bat­tle be­tween Walmart, the world’s largest re­tailer, and ecom­merce gi­ant Ama­zon. Walmart is en­hanc­ing the ef­fi­ciency of its mo­bile of­fer­ing while high­light­ing its abil­ity to use its network of stores to of­fer es­sen­tial in-per­son ser­vices.

“Our cus­tomers con­tinue to tell us that the need to save time has be­come just as im­por­tant as the need to save money while shop­ping with us,’’ said Daniel Eck­ert, Walmart’s se­nior vice pres­i­dent for ser­vices. “By us­ing the network of Walmart stores, and in­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies such as the Walmart app ... we’re cre­at­ing a set of ser­vices un­like any other in re­tail.’’

Walmart shop­pers will be able to use the app to set up a pro­file and then place or­ders for med­i­ca­tions. They can view prices and re­ceive up­dates telling them when re­fills are ready. Once they get to the store and go through an ex­press lane, the shop­per opens the app, scans a code at the counter and re­ceives the pre­scrip­tion. Pay­ments and re­ceipts are de­liv­ered elec­tron­i­cally.

Money trans­fers will work much the same way. Money ser­vices trans­ac­tions are pop­u­lar at Walmart, and those want­ing to trans­fer money will be able to in­put per­ti­nent de­tails into their smartphones in­stead of fill­ing out pa­per­work at the store.

At nearly all of the 1,200 stores that have ar­eas ded­i­cated to fi­nan­cial ser­vices, cus­tomers will be able to ac­cess a spe­cial line where they can pay for their trans­ac­tion. Be­cause of the in­for­ma­tion sub­mit­ted through the app, a cus­tomer can shave the time spent on a money trans­fer in the store from six min­utes to 40 sec­onds, Eck­ert says.

In Jan­uary, Walmart an­nounced on­line shop­pers could now get free two-day ship­ping of the re­tailer’s most pop­u­lar prod­ucts if they spend at least $35.

BREN­DAN SMIALOWSKI, AFP/GETTY IMAGES

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