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Typology of practices for managing consumer returns in internet retailing

Hjort, Klas LU ; Hellström, Daniel LU ; Hall Karlsson, Stefan LU and Oghazi, Pejvak (2019) In International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management 49(7). p.767-790
Abstract
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore, describe and categorise practices of managing product returns empirically in internet retailing.
Design/methodology/approach – A multiple case study was conducted involving 12 e-commerce firms and 4 logistics service providers. An integrative data collection approach of semi-structured interviews, documentation and observations was used to gain comprehensive managerial and operational descriptions of returns management (RM) processes.
Findings – The findings show inconsistent RM processes, with a plethora of practices implemented and organised differently across firms. RM processes are ambiguous; their design is a result of incremental changes over time, lacking strategy and goals.... (More)
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore, describe and categorise practices of managing product returns empirically in internet retailing.
Design/methodology/approach – A multiple case study was conducted involving 12 e-commerce firms and 4 logistics service providers. An integrative data collection approach of semi-structured interviews, documentation and observations was used to gain comprehensive managerial and operational descriptions of returns management (RM) processes.
Findings – The findings show inconsistent RM processes, with a plethora of practices implemented and organised differently across firms. RM processes are ambiguous; their design is a result of incremental changes over time, lacking strategy and goals. There is a mismatch between how they are described and understood in the literature and how they are actually used. Practices in gatekeeping, avoidance and reverse logistics are defined and categorised. These serve as a typology of practices for managers to (re)consider, along with 15 propositions on how RM is practised.
Research limitations/implications – The range of RM practices and the processes reflect a lack of scholarly attention and strategic view. Research is needed to develop clear goals on how the RM process can be better aligned with business strategies.
Practical implications – The typology of practices is a benchmark for internet retailers in their design of efficient RM processes.
Originality/value – Systematic and empirical research on RM is scarce compared to forward management. The study bridges this gap as one of the first to describe RM practices in depth, define service as a key activity, and identify a mismatch between theory and practice. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Service, Reverse logistics, Case study, Returns management, Avoidance, Internet retailing
in
International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management
volume
49
issue
7
pages
24 pages
publisher
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
external identifiers
  • scopus:85070265839
ISSN
0960-0035
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
606cae58-c372-4a11-8b34-8ffbdc5d7b1e
date added to LUP
2019-08-20 07:53:24
date last changed
2019-10-27 05:24:47
@article{606cae58-c372-4a11-8b34-8ffbdc5d7b1e,
  abstract     = {Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore, describe and categorise practices of managing product returns empirically in internet retailing.<br/>Design/methodology/approach – A multiple case study was conducted involving 12 e-commerce firms and 4 logistics service providers. An integrative data collection approach of semi-structured interviews, documentation and observations was used to gain comprehensive managerial and operational descriptions of returns management (RM) processes.<br/>Findings – The findings show inconsistent RM processes, with a plethora of practices implemented and organised differently across firms. RM processes are ambiguous; their design is a result of incremental changes over time, lacking strategy and goals. There is a mismatch between how they are described and understood in the literature and how they are actually used. Practices in gatekeeping, avoidance and reverse logistics are defined and categorised. These serve as a typology of practices for managers to (re)consider, along with 15 propositions on how RM is practised.<br/>Research limitations/implications – The range of RM practices and the processes reflect a lack of scholarly attention and strategic view. Research is needed to develop clear goals on how the RM process can be better aligned with business strategies.<br/>Practical implications – The typology of practices is a benchmark for internet retailers in their design of efficient RM processes.<br/>Originality/value – Systematic and empirical research on RM is scarce compared to forward management. The study bridges this gap as one of the first to describe RM practices in depth, define service as a key activity, and identify a mismatch between theory and practice.},
  author       = {Hjort, Klas and Hellström, Daniel and Hall Karlsson, Stefan and Oghazi, Pejvak},
  issn         = {0960-0035},
  keyword      = {Service,Reverse logistics,Case study,Returns management,Avoidance,Internet retailing},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {08},
  number       = {7},
  pages        = {767--790},
  publisher    = {Emerald Group Publishing Limited},
  series       = {International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management},
  title        = {Typology of practices for managing consumer returns in internet retailing},
  volume       = {49},
  year         = {2019},
}