Walmart’s Christmas present to you: 6 big changes coming to the store

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Santa Claus poses for selfie with Walmart shoppers
Image Credit: Walmart
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Walmart is locked in a fierce battle with Amazon, Target, Toys R Us and just about every other retailer and e-tailer out there for your holiday shopping dollar!

Here’s how the nation’s biggest retailer plans to win the fight.

RELATED: Early Black Friday 2017: Stores open on Thanksgiving

Black Friday will be a whole lot more colorful

For the first-time ever, Walmart will try to streamline the Black Friday rush by color coding sections for different product categories.

Toys, electronics, apparel are among the categories where you’ll see the color codes, according to Reuters. Codes will be available on Walmart’s Black Friday circular and store maps.

This year, Walmart’s Black Friday deals will kick off one day early, on Thanksgiving.

Cyber-shoppers will get their crack at the deals starting at 12:01 a.m. EST online on Thanksgiving.

In-store shoppers, meanwhile, will have to wait until 6 p.m. local time on November 23 for their chance at the sales.

Some returns will only take half a minute!

Walmart’s new Mobile Express Returns is being called the fastest and simplest in all of retail.

So far the initiative has been rolled out for online purchases, and there are plans to expand it to physical store purchases by early next year.

With this new program, you can begin the return of an online item on your phone using the Walmart app. That will generate a QR code. Then just take your return item and your phone with the code to the customer service desk at your local store.

Dedicated “Mobile Express Lanes” will be available so the whole process should only take about 35 seconds!

New in-store experiences are coming

Walmart is hoping to gain an edge over the online competition by hosting a series of in-store experiences this holiday season.

On December 2, a “Parties that Rock” celebration will take place at every one of the retailer’s more than 4,700 stores. This day will focus on tips and demos for entertaining in your home during the holidays.

Following that, a “Gifts that Rock” event on Decemeber 16 will feature curated gifts for every budget. This will be chain-wide, too.

Meanwhile, the inaugural “Toys that Rock” celebration already took place November 4. That first-ever event saw Santa Claus roaming the aisles to take selfies with shoppers as kids tried out the hottest new toys with a series of in-store demos.

Need free two-day shipping? Walmart’s got it!

Walmart has free two-day shipping on all orders that meet a $35 minimum this holiday season. This is not just for toys; this includes more than two million items sold on Walmart.com.

The holiday helpers are back!

If you have questions about a product, look for holiday helpers on the floor this season in popular departments like toys and electronics and at the front of the store at checkout.

Walmart is planning to have more of them on the floor than ever before!

Walmart holiday helpers
Walmart holiday helpers

Layaway can help you budget for gifts

Finally, Walmart’s layaway plan is again up and running through December 11.

In case you’re not familiar with the idea, layaway gives you the chance to put down just $10 or 10% on holiday purchases.

There are no fees to get started and you get to pay off your purchases without interest during the holiday season!

If you don’t pay off your items in full by December 11, they’ll be returned to the shelves and you’ll get your down-payment and payments back — minus a $10 cancellation fee.

RELATED: 62 shopping malls to close for Thanksgiving 2017

Clark’s holiday predictions

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo is director of content for clark.com. He has co-written 2 books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times.
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