Walmart upgrades app to add pharmacy refills, money transfers

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New York - Walmart, 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, Walmart 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 Walmart Pay account on the app.

The software is part of Walmart’s bid to improve the experience at its 4 700 US stores, which suffered from disorganisation 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 Walmart - 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.

Walmart’s brick-and-mortar stores have begun to rebound under CEO 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.

Walmart will begin rolling out the new app features in March, and they should be available in almost all of its US locations by this fall.

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