Soon after Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) announced its new in-car Whole Foods grocery pickup service, another retail giant, Walmart (WMT - Free Report) , shared its plan to make returning products easier for customers.
Although the two companies have their differences, they both have well-known e-commerce marketplaces which enabled third party sellers to sell their items to customers. Starting this fall, customers will be able to print the shipping labels right from the Walmart.com website, even if they are buying goods from third parties. The website will also clearly indicate the return policies.
This will enable third party sellers on Walmart’s marketplace to utilize the company’s “Returns Shipping Service,” which offers discounted shipping rates, according to a memo released today and obtained by CNBC. It does also give some autonomy to the sellers in that they can set their own returns windows and shipping fees.
Walmart competitor Amazon made an amendment in its return policy around a year ago for its third-party sellers. The policy made it much easier for customers to return items, but the burden of the cost would fall on the merchants. This resulted in outcry from sellers.
In general, Amazon has been more involved with the shipping and return process of its sellers than Walmart has been. However, with its new policy, Walmart is shifting more towards getting involved in the process to “significantly improve the return experience for both customers and… marketplace sellers.”
Amazon and Walmart have started out from different places—Walmart from an offline retail background, and Amazon from an online background. But bow, with technology and convenience infiltrating consumers’ lives in every aspect, the two battlegrounds are getting blurred.
Amazon is expanding into offline stores with items such as books, toys, and even groceries, and dominating them with its membership service Amazon Prime. On the other hand, Walmart’s online marketplace is growing day by day thanks to its continuous effort to make its digital experience as convenient and easy as possible.
The two may have different strengths, but one thing for sure is that this fierce rivalry for convenient e-commerce is good news for consumers. With this intensifying competition between the two retail moguls, each company is trying more and more to implement new services to get ahead of each other in the industry playing field. This arms race could ultimately result in better service for customers.
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