Retail returns management strategy: An alignment perspective

Stefan Karlsson, Pejvak Oghazi*, Daniel Hellstrom, Pankaj C. Patel, Christina Papadopoulou, Klas Hjort

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This research aims to shed light on the formulation of returns management strategies and to identify key returns management components in developing more effective returns management strategies. Anchored in supply chain orientation and supply chain alignment research, we use a multiple confirmatory case study of six retailers operating in online commerce. Interviews with fifteen managers provided the primary empirical data source for the study. The results confirm the presence of alignment in establishing effective strategies for managing product returns and suggest a return policy. The findings provide detailed insights into seven existing misalignments that curb the strength of alignment. These serve as strategic elements for managers to consider in formulating returns management strategies and goals. The results may assist retail and supply chain professionals in their quest to develop effective strategies for managing product returns. Research on returns management strategy is scarce. This study offers a conceptual framework and provides new empirical insights into returns management strategy formulation and, in particular, potential misalignments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100420
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Innovation and Knowledge
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 04.08.2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Consumer returns
  • Gatekeeping
  • Retail
  • Reverse logistics
  • Strategy
  • Supply chain orientation


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