Editors' pick: Originally published March 1.
Executives at the world's largest retailer revealed a new feature to its mobile app that will allow its pharmacy and money services customers to sidestep long lines, TheStreet learned at an event attended on Monday. Whether it's refilling a prescription or wiring money, the onerous tasks of filling out paperwork and checking prescriptions can all be done before stepping foot in the store.
While customers will still have to come into the store to pickup prescriptions and verify payments made through money services, express lanes will be set up, reducing wait times to as little as 40 seconds compared to six to 11 minutes, Walmart estimated.
The app and express lanes will roll out to 1,200 locations in March, with expectations of it being introduced to all of 4,700 U.S. stores by the fall.
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"The need to save time has become just as important as the need to save money," Daniel Eckert, senior VP of Walmart Services, said on Monday, touting the retailer's already-in-place $4 prescription program, which has saved customers nearly $5 billion.
If you are a pharmacy customer, click on "prescription ready for pickup" and either create a pin or use Touch ID to activate the camera and snap a picture of your prescription. Then, go to the store and, using the express lane, scan the code you are given on the app at the register and an associate will deliver your medicine.
For money services, Eckert said customers enter their account information "securely" through the app, instead of filling out tedious paperwork in the store. Then, they simply tap the "money ready to send" option in the app, enter their pin or use the camera function, go to the store, use the express lane, scan the code at the counter, verify their information and pay.
Jordan Sweetnam, VP of Walmart's Customer Service, said that the company is also testing its scan-and-go technology at three stores. Scan and go allows customers to scan items while shopping and pay through the app, so they only have to stop once at the door to have receipts and purchases checked.
Walmart Pay, the retailer's mobile payment feature that launched in December 2015, is key to these new initiatives. While Eckert said customers do not have to use Walmart Pay to use scan and go or the pharmacy and money services app features, he did say the company is hoping to eventually move to a completely cashless system.
Walmart's Sam's Club has already launched scan and go on Alphabet's Google (GOOGL - Get Report) Android and Apple's (APPL) iOs devices, but Eckert said the company didn't currently have details on how the feature is performing at the members-only warehouse chain.