Well, summer is officially over. So it’s time to start thinking about the holidays.
Ok, fine, go drink all the pumpkin lattes you want. Put on a sweater, listen to Taylor Swift’s “Folklore” and go pick some apples if you really need to defend the sanctity of the fall season.
Back-to-school and Halloween are busy times for the retail sector. But nothing compares to the holiday season. There was a time when that technically started the day after Thanksgiving, and ran through Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice all the way through New Year’s Eve.
But the sales boost from the holidays is so potent that retailers both online and in brick-and-mortar are incentivized to keep moving up the definition of when the season begins. There hasn’t been an official cultural ruling on this or anything, but generally as soon as Halloween ends, all bets are off, and you’d best hustle if you want to get your loved one the latest PlayStation (SNEJF) or Apple (APPL) doodad.
In case you think we’re being a bit hyperbolic here, well, one of the nation’s largest retailers has already announced new policies for the holiday season.
What Return Policies Has Walmart Announced?
Walmart (WMT) has announced three new return policies, as part of its “Holiday Guarantee,” so parents can worry less about picking up the wrong “Minecraft” edition. These policies will kick in on October 1.
- Holiday Guarantee: Now purchases made either in store or on Walmart on or after October 1 can be returned through January 31, 2023.
- Curbside returns: Time is money, so if you’re the type to pick up your weekly groceries outside the store, you can also return your holiday purchase there.
- Return Pickup from Home for Walmart+ members: In some cities, subscribers to Walmart+ will have the option of using the Walmart+ app to schedule a return from their home. Members won’t need to provide a box or a label, they can just hand it off to a delivery driver. But, again, only in certain areas.
Walmart To Lower Prices For The Holidays
Walmart has been criticized for decades for everything from alleged mistreatment of employees, especially during covid, to taking a heavy, censorious hand in the CDs it sells.
But a large number of people, especially those living within a tight budget or not ideologically inclined to care about the criticism, continue to patronize Walmart, due to the chain’s low prices.
As part of its latest holiday initiative, Walmart has plans to offer deep discounts on toys, home, electronics and beauty products, among other items.
Walmart has added 1,400 new toys to its toy assortment, including over 500 Walmart-exclusives, and this assortment will feature items from Star Wars, Barbie, Transformers, EGO, Cocomelon, Jurassic World, Paw Patrol, L.O.L. Surprise, Magic Mixies. More than half the toys on Walmart’s Top Toy List are under $50, and several are under $25.
Additionally, customers can check out the new Flash Picks section, which highlights the latest, limited-time only deals available online. The company has also introduced a feature where customers can create and manage registries, including a new ‘Scan to Add’ which lets customers scan items in store using the Walmart app to add directly to a registry.
Customers can also use Walmart.com’s new virtual experiences virtual try-on and "View In Your Home," to get a sense for if an item works in their home.
Finally, in the spirit of the season, Walmart has introduced its Spark Good charity initiative, as a way to offer support for charities their customers support.
- Spark Good Round-Up: Customers can round-up their purchase total, either in person or online, and donate the change to the charity of their choice.
- Spark Good Registry: Similar to a wedding registry, nonprofits can manage registries for products they want and need from Walmart customers. The Nonprofits can also send charitable receipts and thank their donors all through Spark Good.