Wal-Mart Upgrades App to Add Pharmacy Refills, Money Transfers

  • New designated express lanes to expedite shopping experience
  • Company has worked to improve stores under CEO Doug McMillon

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., looking to lock in more customers with its mobile-phone app, is updating the software so it can be used to refill prescriptions and skip the line at the pharmacy counter.

The upgrade also will let users sign off on medical forms and view prescription pricing on the application, Wal-Mart said on Tuesday. Once their pharmacy orders have been placed, customers will be able to use new express lanes at the store. They’ll scan a code once at the register and can pay with their Wal-Mart Pay account on the app.

The software is part of Wal-Mart’s bid to improve the experience at its 4,700 U.S. stores, which suffered from disorganization and stocking problems in recent years. In addition to the pharmacy changes, the app will work with the retailer’s 1,200 wire-transfer centers, letting customers cash checks, pay bills and send money without paperwork.

“We’re bringing together all of the conveniences of Wal-Mart -- great stores, convenient pickup, easy checkout and a cutting-edge app -- to deliver one seamless shopping experience,” Senior Vice President Daniel Eckert told reporters at a store in North Bergen, New Jersey.

The money-transfer feature will eliminate what is currently an average 11-minute wait time, Eckert said. And customers will cut their time checking out at the register to about 40 seconds, from six minutes currently.

Wal-Mart’s brick-and-mortar stores have begun to rebound under Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon, who took the helm three years ago. When it released fourth-quarter results last week, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company posted its biggest same-store sales increase in more than four years.

Wal-Mart will begin rolling out the new app features in March, and they should be available in almost all of its U.S. locations by this fall.

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