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Walmart's "Check Out With Me" service brings a personalized check throughout the store to get you out of the shopping shopping lines.
Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY

Walmart adds up to a shorter holiday shopping season by launching online deals earlier than ever.

On Wednesday, the store giant announced its plans to help consumers get an early start on buying gifts with new and expanded services, more exclusive toys and events including Santa's visits. There are six fewer days this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas than in 2018.

"We're going to offer more savings, more ways to shop, more gifts to shop and more fun in our stores than ever before," she said Steve Bratspies, executive vice president and chief executive of Walmart USA, during a conversation with reporters. "It's all in an effort to make the shopping experience simple, the prices low and this holiday the happiest for our customers yet."

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The holiday season is the most important time of the year for retail, and stores are fighting for every last customer by making the shopping experience as convenient, easy and fast as possible.

Starting at midnight Eastern on Friday, Walmart launches Early Deals Drops on Walmart.com, something Bratspies said is earlier than ever. He shared some of what the company called "top deals," which includes a VIZIO 55-inch Class M Series Quantum 4K Ultra HDR Smart TV for $ 398, a $ 100 savings.

More holiday decor and items will be available in stores after Halloween, Bratspies said.

Bratspies said that Walmart simplifies the shopping experience with nine technically enabled ways to shop, including free NextDay delivery and an extended check-out with me, which allows shoppers to avoid long lines and check out with a colleague where they shop.

This is the first holiday season that Walmart offers free next-day delivery on eligible orders over $ 35 and upwards of hundreds of thousands of items including electronics and membership-free toys. By comparison, Amazon Prime, which offers next-day delivery, costs $ 119 a year.

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New and Extended Features

In addition to free NextDay delivery, here are other features that Walmart says will make holiday shopping easier.

  • Gift Finder: New this year, search for gifts on Walmart.com with Gift Finder, which provides customized gift options for 40 different types of gift recipients based on information consumers provide.
  • Scannable Toy Catalog: For the first time, customers with iOS devices can use their phones to shop for the hottest toys of the season straight from the pages of Walmart's seasonal toy catalog, which will be available Nov. 1.
  • Extended Check Out With Me: Check Out With Me is now available in all Walmart Supercenters, allowing consumers to avoid lines in the registry and check out with an associated right where they shop.
  • Expanded DotCom Store: The DotCom store, now also available in all Walmart Supercenters, allows customers to partner with affiliates to place an online order straight from the store if the customer does not find the item they are shopping for. Items are then shipped directly to the customer's home or to their nearest Walmart store for pickup.

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Walmart buyers will be able to bypass the cash register and find the items faster during this holiday season.
USA TODAY

More top gifts

Walmart says this year offers more exclusive and new brands in stores and online, including SwissTech, WoodWick, Hobby Kids Adventures, Hello Bello, Kindi Kids and Bobbi Brown. Walmart also wants more than 500 exclusive toys, 20% more than last year.

More events

As of November 2, Walmart says they will offer more "retail" events throughout the holiday season. The dealership will host movie-themed events, including Pokémon and Star Wars November 16-17 and Frozen 2. 23-24. November.

Santa will also stop at Walmart stores nationwide on 9 and December. 7.

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Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @ KellyTyko

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