Walmart storeWalmart store, Clarkston, Washington, USA - 11 Jun 2018

Walmart Inc. on Wednesday said it will start the all-important holiday season earlier than ever — Oct. 25 — in an effort to make the most of a period with six fewer shopping days and cut-throat competition from peers such as Target as well as digital Goliath Amazon.

On a conference call with editors, Steve Bratspies, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, Walmart U.S. ticked off new features designed to help consumers save time or money, or both.

New platforms for gift searches include Gift Finder on walmart.com, which can offer options for 40 different types of gift recipients.

A new scannable toy catalogue for shoppers with iOS devices will allow them to use their phone store to shop for items in the highly contested toy category when it drops Nov. 1.

In the saving time category, expanded Check Out With Me is now available at Walmart Supercenters, allowing shoppers to avoid lines at registers.

New this season, customers can order hundreds of thousands of eligible items to be delivered the next day without a membership fee using Free NextDay delivery.

An expanded DotCom Store is now available at all Walmart Supercenters, where customers can work with associates to place an online order at the store if the item they’re shopping for can’t be found at the location. Items are then sent to customers’ homes or to their nearest Walmart store for pickup.

Bratspies said, so far, Walmart hasn’t seen any effects from the ongoing tarriff negotiations between the U.S. and China, adding that the retail giant is well-positioned to manage any issues that might arise in the future.

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