Walmart is today rolling out an updated app that will allow those visiting the store’s Pharmacy or Money Services desk to skip having to wait in line, the company says. After entering their personal information in the app, customers can order prescription refills or fill out other necessary paperwork from their phone. When they arrive at the store, they will then get in a new “Express Lane,” which lets them move to the front of the line, ahead of those already waiting.
The update comes at a time when many businesses are learning how to leverage their mobile presence to facilitate faster transactions at their stores.
Already, quick serve restaurants like Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and Chipotle have introduced “order ahead” in their apps, where customers can place orders and pay ahead of their arrival, for example. Meanwhile, CVS this past summer introduced a way to pay for products, pick up prescriptions and earn loyalty rewards from its app as well.
While Walmart’s app is not about ordering food or drink items, or general shopping, the concept is similar: it’s using mobile to make it quicker to perform real-world transactions.
After entering in your prescription information in the revamped app, customers will be able to complete their transactions in just a few steps, the company explains.
For prescriptions, they’ll open the app and tap “prescription ready for pickup,” then enter their PIN or use Touch ID to activate the camera. At the register, they’ll scan the code displayed there, which connects the app to the current transaction. The Walmart associate will hand over the prescription and the transaction is done. Payments are handled by Walmart Pay and the eReceipt is sent to the app.
Previously, customers could refill prescriptions in the app, but couldn’t track order status, view pricing, or manage their pickup details as they can now.
Walmart Pay, as a reminder, is Walmart’s own mobile payments service. The service relies on scannable QR codes, which have made a surprising gain in retail stores as means of connecting phones to registers. Walmart’s mobile payments service was first announced in December 2015, and rolled out nationwide to all U.S. stores in July of last year, following the retailer’s more disastrous attempts to work on a consortium-backed Apple Pay competitor called Current C, which fell apart last year.
Like the Walmart Pharmacy, the Money Services desk will use similar technology for sending funds using the app. Today, millions of customers transfer money from a Walmart store each month, the company says. Now, they’ll be able to fill out their paperwork in the app, then tap “money ready to send” to start the transfer process.
Again, they’ll use a PIN or Touch ID to activate the camera, and scan the code at the register. Customers will then verify their information and pay. The receipt and reference number is sent to the app where it can be texted or emailed to the recipient.
Money Services via mobile won’t be available in all Walmart locations, but the company says that nearly 1,200 stores will feature the Express Lanes for the Walmart app users.
The new capabilities, including both the Money Services and Pharmacy “Express Lanes,” will start to roll out this March, with support for nearly all of Walmart’s 4,700 stores expected by this fall. The app, which reaches over 26 million customers monthly, will introduce the new features on both iOS and Android.