Neiman Marcus; UPS Returns; Amazon's Virtual Mirror

The numbers you need to know today

January 4, 2018

New Appointment: Neiman Marcus, which has been struggling with debt and declining sales, is planning to appoint a new chief executive, according to The Wall Street Journal. Karen Katz, who has held that position since 2010, is stepping aside. Per eMarketer Retail's companies database, Neiman's comparables fell 5.2% in 2017. 

Abundance of Returns: UPS said it expected 1.4 million returns on January 3, or—as the day is better known—National Returns Day. That's up 8% from a year prior. Last month, consumers returned over 1 million packages to retailers daily, a pace that's expected to continue throughout early January, UPS reports. Its recent "Pulse of the Online Shopper" study found roughly eight in 10 respondents said free shipping on returns is a critical component when choosing which online retailers to shop. In fact, nearly half (44%) of consumers polled said one of the main issues they've come across when returning a product was having to pay for the return shipping.  

A New Way to Get Dressed: Amazon gets that trying on clothes may not be everyone's favorite thing. To help solve that issue, the ecommerce giant is looking to simplify the process for consumers, with the help of technology. Amazon has patented a blended reality mirror, which virtually puts a consumer into a scene, and then puts them in a virtual version of whatever they want to try on. So if someone wanted to know how that Norma Kamali swimsuit would look while they're vacationing on Mykonos, the mirror would essentially do that. And that can help limit the number of returns consumers are sending back. Recent data from Happy Returns found that—not surprisingly—consumers don't like returning items. Nearly two-thirds of digital buyers said they had returned something after a purchase, and 39% avoided purchasing from that retailer again.