Online retail returns management: Integration within an omni-channel distribution context

BERNON, M, CULLEN, J and GORST, Jonathan (2016). Online retail returns management: Integration within an omni-channel distribution context. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 46 (6/7).

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Online retail returns management: Integration within an omni-channel distribution context Purpose With the rapid growth of consumer sales being fulfilled through omni-channel retailing, this paper explores the subsequent impact on the levels of consumer retail returns experienced through online sales and the emergent returns management strategies being affected by retailers in relation to network configuration and returns management processes. Design/methodology/approach We use a mixed methods approach from an interpretive perspective. It is appropriate to describe our approach in terms of convergent design, since we have collected both qualitative and quantitative data. Findings Return rates for online retailing can be double those for stores, while return levels for ‘considered purchases’ remain similar. Our findings suggest that omni-channel returns management has yet to fully mature and we find challenges for network design and returns processes in offering a seamless solution. Research implications For practitioners we identify a number of challenges and offer insights to improve performance in returns management process, while for academic colleagues we propose a number of avenues for further research both in the qualitative and quantitative fields. Originality/value While a significant body of extant literature exists, in researching the generalized retail returns management process this paper make a contribution by addressing the emergent managerial implications of omni-channel retail returns. Keywords: retail, reverse logistics, multi-channel, omni-channel, product returns, performance

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Business School Research Institute > People, Work and Organisation
Departments: Sheffield Business School > Department of Finance, Accountancy and Business Systems
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Depositing User: Jonathan Gorst
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2016 15:57
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2019 14:23

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