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Internal and External Drivers of Consumers’ Product Return Behaviors

Description: Product return is a necessary part of the exchange process between companies and customers. It accounts for approximately 16% of total sales and a reduction in retailer / manufacturer profits by 3.8% on average. However, industry data also indicates that a significant portion of products are returned for reasons other than product failure – e.g., change of mind, found a lower price elsewhere, or fraudulent and unethical reasons. Consequently, many firms (e.g., REI) have altered their generous return policies to protect their profits. However, it’s been found that the restricted return policy could also reduce customer satisfaction, increase the perceived risk, and thus negatively affect customers’ loyalty towards a particular store or firm. Thus having a restrictive return policy does not help either. Extant literature mainly focuses on return policies. Little attention has been devoted to the product return behavior itself, thus missing the consumer’s perspective. This study, therefore, focuses on understanding consumers’ return behaviors, including different types of return behaviors, and the drivers and consequences of these different return behaviors. Towards this goal, this study first categorizes all possible types of consumers’ return behaviors into two broad categories - legitimate return behaviors and opportunistic return behaviors. Second, both internal (i.e., variety seeking, impulsiveness, perceived uniqueness, materialism, level of morality, and self-monitoring) and external drivers (i.e., product compatibility, returning cost, perceived risk, complexity of procedure, and social group influence) of consumers’ product return behaviors are identified. Third, the relationship between these drivers of return behavior and the type of return behavior are examined. Finally, the influence of these two different types of return behaviors on consumer’s re-patronage intention is examined. This study uses a survey method to collect data in two phases - pilot phase and main study. In the pilot phase, data were collected from students and used to ...
Date: August 2015
Creator: Pei, Zhi
Partner: UNT Libraries