NEW YORK (AP) - Walmart will be rolling out a program that allows its staff to check out customers and provide receipts right on the spot in the busiest sections of the store.
The world's largest retailer first tested the service in its Lawn & Garden Centers in more than 350 stores this past fall. The new service is for customers who have a few items and want to check out quickly. Staff, armed with mobile devices and Bluetooth printers, will help customers pay by swiping their credit card and provide them with a paper or electronic receipt.
The moves come as Walmart, like other retailers, look for ways to speed up the checkout process, a source of frustration for shoppers.
One other source of frustration for those who prefer online shopping are the shipping fees. Amazon is following Target and temporarily dropping the minimum amount shoppers need to spend to qualify for free shipping.
Typically, Amazon shoppers need to spend $25 to qualify for free shipping or pay $119 a year for a Prime membership. Amazon's offer, which started Monday, applies to hundreds of millions of items and on orders that arrive in time for Christmas. Shoppers who aren't Prime members will get slower shipping, though, which can take five to eight days.
Retailers are competing hard for holiday shoppers, who increasingly expect fast shipping that's free. Target dropped its minimum purchase amount last week, offering free two-day shipping on hundreds of thousands of items until Dec. 22. Walmart, which offers free two-day shipping on orders over $35, told reporters after the Target announcement that it has no plans to change its shipping policy.
Amazon also said Monday that it has expanded the number of items and locations where Prime members can get free same-day delivery.