For many retailers, back-to-school (BTS) represents the second biggest sales opportunity behind Christmas to boost their top and bottom lines. This year promises to be as competitive as ever as consumers alter traditional patterns of shopping and retailers look for ways to win their business. Among those retailers is Walmart, which announced yesterday that it has taken steps to make it faster and easier for customers to shop for BTS.

Walmart announced it has “substantially” expanded its selection of BTS and back-to-college (BTC) items that customers can order online using its Online Grocery Pickup and Pickup Today services. A new dedicated section on walmart.com called “TeacherLists” provides parents and kids with their school’s official supplies list.

The retailer is also positioning BTS “helpers” in stores — think the checkout elves it deployed during Christmas — to help customers who didn’t order online find the shortest lines and add any items that may have been forgotten while…