SUPPLY CHAIN

Returns to reach record levels this year

BY Staff Writer

New York – Jan. 3 promises to be the longest day of the year for UPS employees as they process a record level of returns to retailers.

According to UPS estimates, package shipment volumes will reach a record level of 520,000 returns to retailers on Jan. 3 and total return volume will reach two million packages the first week of January. The record level of return activity isn’t surprising considering online sales also are expected to set new record this year. In fact, UPS said it expects to ship an estimated 135 million packages worldwide this week with approximately 28 million deliveries are forecast to occur on Thursday, Dec. 20.

With all that package volume, computer systems at UPS will also be working overtime to process tracking requests and more than 400 additional flights per day have been added to process some three million express shipments that will pass through the company’s international air hub in Louisville, Ky.

"We’ve seen a 15% increase in retail returns over last year," said David Sisco, UPS retail marketing director. "UPS research shows that 63% of online shoppers review a retailer’s returns policy before making a purchase."

It’s somewhat surprising that figure isn’t higher, but UPS arrived at that figure after commissioning online measurement firm comScore to conduct an online customer experience study. In addition, the study also found that 48% of online purchases would shop more often with a particular retailer if they were to offer a lenient, easy-to-understand returns policy.

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OPERATIONS

Louis Vuitton CEO resigns over significant health issue

BY Staff Writer

New York — Luxury group LVMH announced Tuesday that Louis Vuitton’s new CEO has resigned suddenly, citing a “significant health issue” as the reason for the departure.

Jordi Constans would be replaced by Michael Burke, CEO since February of Bulgari, the Italian jeweler that LVMH added to its stable of brands in 2011.

Burke served as CEO of Christian Dior USA from 1986 to 1993, when he took charge of Louis Vuitton North America, becoming deputy CEO of Christian Dior Couture worldwide in Paris in 1997.

Following the acquisition of Fendi by LVMH in 2003, he was appointed CEO.

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News

Pier 1 Imports teams with Demandware for omnichannel commerce

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Burlington, Mass. — On-demand e-commerce solution-provider Demandware said Wednesday that Pier 1 Imports has delivered the initial phases of its omnichannel strategy, which includes its new e-commerce-enabled Pier1.com website (launched in July 2012), and its mobile commerce site, both of which are run on the Demandware Commerce platform.

Pier 1 Imports now benefits from an enterprise-class, software-as-a-service platform that serves as the digital commerce backbone to connect consumers to its brand regardless of location, device or channel.

The new Pier 1 Imports digital commerce sites convey the same brand experience found in its stores. “Our goal at Pier 1 Imports is to provide our customers with the best shopping experience possible, and this includes making it easy for them to find the Pier 1 Imports products they love, no matter where or how they shop,” said Laura Coffey, SVP business development and strategic planning for Pier 1 Imports.

Pier 1 Imports’ current omnichannel operations include several Demandware-powered cross-channel shopping experiences, such as e-commerce site-to-store program, e-commerce direct shipping, and “endless aisles,” which allows shoppers to browse and purchase merchandise from the company’s broader selection available online.

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