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Walmart plans express lanes, new Rx app functions

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BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart plans to launch new pharmacy and money services functions in its mobile app that will take advantage of new “express lanes” coming to its stores.

Walmart said Tuesday that the express lanes will give customers a “new store experience” by enabling them to skip its traditional checkout lines. Meanwhile, the new app features will allow them to perform their prescription drug and money transfer orders before they enter the store and then go to the front of the line at the Walmart express lanes to complete their transactions.

Plans call for the new app functionality and express lanes to begin rolling out to customers in March, with the capabilities expected to be available in almost all of Walmart’s 4,700 stores by the fall.

“These capabilities are the latest example of how we’re bringing together all of the conveniences of Walmart — great stores, convenient pickup, easy checkout and a top-notch app — to deliver one seamless shopping experience for customers,” Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of Walmart services, said in a statement. “We’re delivering a new and better experience in areas of our business that are essential for busy families. By making them faster and easier, we’re living up to our promise to save customers money and time.”

Walmart app pharmacy screen

The Walmart mobile app’s easy refill feature will allow pharmacy patients to order their prescriptions ahead of time and use an express lane to pick them up.

In the pharmacy, the Walmart app’s easy refill feature will allow patients — after a simple, one-time setup — to quickly refill prescriptions, track order status, and view pricing and pickup details via their mobile device.

Once their prescription order has been placed, patients can use express lanes to finish the transaction in three steps: tap “prescription ready for pickup” in the app and enter a PIN or use Touch ID to activate the camera; scan the code displayed at the register; and receive the medication from the Walmart associate. The payment is processed via Walmart Pay, and an e-receipt will be sent to the app and can be viewed at any time.

“What our pharmacy business is likely most well-known for is our $4 prescription program that has saved our customers nearly $5 billion,” according to Paul Beahm, senior vice president of Walmart health and wellness operations. “Starting today, we’ll be known for saving them more than just money. By developing and combining the best of our app with a service that our customers depend on daily, we’re driving change that makes living better easier.”

The enhanced Walmart app will also remove the hassle of paperwork for the millions of customers who transfer money in a Walmart store each month. Customers now will be able to enter the money transfer information in the app — from home or on the go — and then head to the store, where they no longer will need to fill out paperwork.

Once at the store, money transfer customers can use the express lane to move to the front of the line. Walmart said these lanes will be available at nearly 1,200 of its Money Services locations. In stores without a Money Services desk, customers can go to the customer service desk.

Completing a Money Services transaction also entails just three steps: tap “money ready to send” in the Walmart app and enter a PIN or use Touch ID to activate the camera; scan the code displayed at the register; and then verify the information and pay. A receipt and reference number is sent to the app and can be texted or emailed to the recipient.

Walmart noted that the express lanes and new app functionality follows a series of other technology-focused updates to ease shopping, including the expansion of the its online grocery pickup service, additional investment in store pickup, and free two-day shipping on millions of items without a membership fee. The retailer added that more shopping and service functionality is upcoming.


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