The holiday season is now in the rear view mirror. But there are plenty of lessons for small business owners to glean from the trends of the holiday shopping season.

This year, eCommerce returns reached an all-time high. But Amazon also claims that this was its best Christmas season in terms of sales. You can read more about these items and more below in this week’s Small Business Trends news and information roundup.

Retail Trends

Customer Returns Reach All Time High — But That’s a Good Thing, Says UPS

Retailers and manufacturers enjoyed record eCommerce sales in 2016, but those record sales come with another record that will usher — record returns of holiday packages to retailers. But wait. That’s not as bad as it might sound.

McDonald’s and UberEats Partnering on Delivery Service

McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) is teaming up with startup giant Uber to provide a new home delivery service in Florida starting in January. The new partnership between McDonald’s and Uber will see nearly 200 restaurants across markets in Tampa, Orlando and Miami take part in the trial scheme.

Green Business

50 Ways to Make Your Business Greener This Year

If one of your 2017 resolutions is to make your business greener, you’re in luck. There’s no shortage of ways you can improve your business practices to help the environment. And as a bonus, many of these improvements can also save your business some money. Here are 50 different ways you can make your business greener in the new year.

What Your Business Can Learn From Paris’s Pollution Problem (Watch)

Paris has a major smog problem. And an organization that monitors air quality in France estimates that pollution levels will reach even higher levels by the end of 2016. So the city is trying to do something about it. On December 29, officials offered free parking to residents throughout the city to encourage ride-sharing and the use of public transportation.

Small Biz Spotlight

Spotlight: Ben’s Soft Pretzels Turns Old Family Recipe Into a Business

There are plenty of options out there for snack foods. But the entrepreneurs behind Ben’s Soft Pretzels think their options stand apart from all the rest. The company uses an old Amish recipe to make huge soft pretzels and other treats. You can learn more about the business and the journey of these entrepreneurs in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

Small Business Operations

70  Percent of Small Business Owners Do Not See a Holiday as a Vacation from Work

Etymologists believe the word VACATION was first used around the year 1350. For a lot of small business owners, that’s the last time they’ve taken one. If you think that the end-of-year holiday season is the perfect opportunity to maybe sneak away from the business for a day or two, or maybe three, you didn’t read the beginning of this article.

SpaceX’s Latest Statement Demonstrates the Importance of Transparency (Watch)

SpaceX has finally explained what caused one of its rockets to explode last September. The company said in a statement that a buckled liner trapped oxygen inside one of the fuel tanks, which caused friction that made the oxygen explode. The explosion made plenty of headlines back in September.

Social Media

Periscope Introduces Live 360 Video

Both Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) and Periscope are taking live video broadcasting to another level by introducing 360-degrees live video streams. You can now watch 360-degree live video on both platforms, but only select partners can currently broadcast 360-degree videos.

62  Percent of Small Business Owners Say Facebook Ads Miss Their Targets, Weebly Reports

Does your small business have presence on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB)? It makes sense. If everyone and their grandmother is there, your small business should be, too. The trick is reaching all these people. And Facebook’s targeted marketing tools seemingly allow you to do just that.

Startup

Model for Success? Dress Swap Company Raises $60M for Growth

Could a company that doesn’t actually sell anything secure a major round of funding? Rent the Runway recently proved that this is possible by raising $60 million in Series E funding, led by Fidelity Investments. Rent the Runway is a fashion brand — sort of. But instead of selling high-end clothing and accessories, the company just rents them out.

Could China’s Uber for Trucks Pave the Way to Similar Service for Small U.S. Haulers?

There seems to be an Uber for everything these days, and the trucking industry is no exception. Take China, for example. Truck Alliance, Inc., an online trucking logistics company that provides services to truckers and shippers in China, has earned the reputation “Uber for trucks” due to its similarity to the popular ride-hailing service.

Taxes

10 Tax and Budgeting Moves to Start the New Year Off Right

While the prospect of comprehensive tax reform looms large, there are some actions that you can take now that will help you and your business do well under current or new tax rules. In addition, law changes and other factors may influence actions you need to take now. Here are 10 ideas.

Technology Trends

Checklist of Essential Small Business Technology in 2017

A growing number of small businesses rely on technology to increase efficiency, manage expenses, grow profitability and improve performance. According to SMB Group’s 2015 SMB Routes to Market Study (PDF), 29 percent of all small businesses view technology as helping them to improve outcomes significantly.

Nearly Half of Small Businesses Expected to Adopt Mobile Apps by 2017 (Infographic)

Just a couple of years ago, it was impractical for most small businesses to create a mobile app. Most didn’t see any real value in it. A lot has changed since then. Thanks to app development software tools, many businesses are building apps. And the trend is expected to continue.

New MacBook Pro Ports Don’t Work with Your Devices? Meet HyperDrive

When a Kickstarter campaign collects nine times its intended goal with 14 days left, it is safe to assume the idea has hit a chord. And the makers of HyperDrive so far have raised more than $970,000 from their initial ask of $100,000.

Only 47 Percent of Customers Are Interested in Drone Delivery, Survey Claims

Amazon is in the test stages. And 7-Eleven is already doing it. But should you consider drone delivery for your business? Before you make your decision consider this: less than half of Americans (47 percent) say they’re interested in deliveries using the technology. That’s according to a new study by technology company ReportLinker.

Could Business Meetings of the Future Be in Virtual Reality?

A new offering from virtual reality company Oculus, now owned by Facebook, could have interesting implications for small businesses. Oculus Rooms and Parties are new features for Gear VR users. They’ll also be available on Oculus Rift devices in 2017. Parties are essentially group voice calls that take place in virtual reality. You can add up to three friends to a party and chat over VR.

Shipping Boxes Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Holiday Returns Reach Record Levels, McDonald’s Offers Uber Delivery and More” was first published on Small Business Trends