Taking stock of consumer returns: A review and classification of the literature

July 2019 | Abdulla, Huseyn

Coincident with the rapid growth of consumer returns and their corresponding importance in the retail marketplace, academic interest in the area of consumer return policy design has significantly increased. In fact, the growth in academic publications has been tremendous, with almost half of the published works appearing within the past 6 years. The influx of new and evolving research spans across multiple disciplines and various methodologies. To provide clarity for the continued evolution of the field, we provide a comprehensive review and classification of the literature predicated on a holistic conceptual framework. The scope of the review includes all peer reviewed journal articles published prior to the end of 2018, along with any working papers cited therefrom, that specifically address (a) managerial decision‐making related to return policies or (b) consumer behavior in response to such decision‐making. Examining the state of the literature and practice on return policy design through the lens of a unified conceptual framework—a framework that spans both analytical and empirical research—reveals numerous managerial and theoretical opportunities for future research.



  • Michael Ketzenberg
  • James D. Abbey


Journal of Operations Management

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