- The Amazon and Walmart ecommerce offerings are almost identical from a consumer point of view with some significant differences at this time.
- However, when it comes to returns, the two retailers could not be more different
- Walmart offers free returns and gives almost two months longer to return most items.
It's no secret that retailers prefer not to return customers the items they buy.
Still, for better or for worse, the returns belong to the American shopping culture. As online shopping moves in to increase the proportion of purchases in the US, more items are sent back by post than simply being returned to the store where they were purchased.
Two of the largest online shopping vendors, Amazon and Walmart, offer very different strategies to get unwanted items back. Although both sides offer a two-day shipping and a wide range of important items, their return policies could not be more different.
I decided to return the same item to the two different retailers to see which one did better.
Amazon's earnings are slippery but expensive
Amazon gives buyers some ways to return articles on its website. You can get a UPS return label from Amazon, go to a UPS store and have it printed and attached for you or schedule a UPS pickup.
You can also drop it off at an open Amazon locker in the participating areas or simply send it yourself.
Some clothing returns are free, but Amazon generally pays customers for the return. Exceptions apply to certain circumstances, eg. For example, if you return something that has been accidentally damaged or sent.
Amazon generally only gives 30 days from the date you receive the item to return it, and I ran against that deadline during the trial.
It cost $ 5 to return my item – a Bluray of $ 20 – to Amazon for a grand total of only $ 15. Worse, if I wanted to return another item of the same order, I could not match both Send time back. It would have cost another $ 5 or so to send the other item.
Walmart offers fewer options, but those who have them are very generous
First of all, Walmart has a big edge over Amazon: thousands upon thousands of stores where you can bring your unwanted item. Walmart has made this even easier by adding "Mobile Express Returns" in his app, which means customers just have to submit the item.
But even if you decide to return the article, Walmart has a few things to make it easier for customers.
First of all, the site sometimes offers so-called early-refund returns, which means that customers are refunded almost immediately, while they agree to return the item quickly. I chose No because I did not want that pressure.
Walmart will then give you a label that you can use for a free return so that the item can be delivered to either the US Postal Service or FedEx.
Walmart will give you most items back for 90 days – two months longer than Amazon.
If you're not sure whether to order or vote at Walmart or Amazon, the choice is obvious: Walmart.