Walmart one-ups Amazon: You don't need to leave home to return packages for free

From press release: Just in time for the busy holiday return season, we are excited to announce that customers can return items purchased online* (shipped and sold by .com) without ever having to leave home. Now, customers can schedule a return through our new service, Carrier Pickup by FedEx, which is an incredibly convenient way to make that unwanted gift *magically* disappear. Even more magical, this new return option is not only super-easy but also free, and here to stay beyond the holiday season.

(CNN) -- Walmart is attempting to solve one of the biggest pain-points of online shopping — the dreaded return — with a new service.

The retailer announced Monday that it will pick up items shipped and sold by Walmart.com from customers' homes through a new partnership with FedEx. Walmart said the "incredibly convenient" option is free and will remain in place beyond the busy holiday shopping season.

To use the new service, called "Carrier Pickup by FedEx," customers have the initiate return process on Walmart's website or app, schedule a date for pickup and print a label. Then it will be picked up by a FedEx employee.

For those that don't have a printer, customers can also make a return at any of the roughly 2,000 US FedEx Office locations by getting a QR code from Walmart's website and a FedEx employee will print a free return label and ship it back — a similar service that is already offered by Amazon and UPS.

The new shipping options comes as Walmart's US online sales soared 79% in the most recent quarter, signaling that it's in the midst of another strong holiday season especially as people shift their habits online during the pandemic.

Walmart is attempting to heed off challenges from its largest rival, Amazon. Customers who buy items on amazon can drop off packages without a box or label at some Whole Foods markets, Kohl's and UPS stores and lockers. Some items are also eligible to be picked up at home through UPS with a fee.

FedEx also recently partnered with Happy Returns, an e-commerce return technology company, to return products in person without a box or label from various retailers.

Companies are tweaking and enhancing its parcel delivery services "in order to remain an attractive partner with those shippers," Matthew Young, equity analyst at Morningstar Research Services, previously told CNN Business.

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