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Optimal quality improvements and pricing strategies with active and passive product returns

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  • De Giovanni, Pietro
  • Zaccour, Georges

Abstract

A manufacturer invests in product quality to encourage consumers who have purchased in the past to substitute their current product version with a new release. Since price deters the adoption of an upgraded quality product, consumers evaluate both the quality improvements and the new release price before deciding whether to return a good. The returns can be either voluntary (passive returns) or dependent on the firm’s controls (active returns), while the pricing strategies can be either fixed (constant intertemporal pricing) or varying over time (updated intertemporal pricing) depending on the quality improvements. By combining these two ingredients (return type and pricing policy) we formulate a two-period model in which a manufacturer invests in quality improvements and sets the product prices over time. Our results show that when consumers passively return old product versions, the manufacturer should always update its pricing strategies according to the quality improvements. However, when consumer returns are sensitive to quality improvements and price, the manufacturer can be indifferent between setting a constant or an updated pricing policy depending on the effect that quality has on returns. If the manufacturer can choose between a market in which consumer returns are passive or active, it decides according to how quality impacts the returns: When the consumers’ willingness to return according to the quality effect is negligible, the manufacturer prefers to work in a market with passive attitudes towards returns. While the choice of updating the price is always dominant from an economic point of view, it turns out to be suboptimal from an environmental perspective when the effects of quality and price on returns are balanced. When the price effect on returns also depends on the discount granted to consumers, then the discrepancy between economic and environmental returns is amplified.

Suggested Citation

  • De Giovanni, Pietro & Zaccour, Georges, 2019. "Optimal quality improvements and pricing strategies with active and passive product returns," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 248-262.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jomega:v:88:y:2019:i:c:p:248-262
    DOI: 10.1016/j.omega.2018.09.007
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Pietro Giovanni & Georges Zaccour, 2019. "A selective survey of game-theoretic models of closed-loop supply chains," 4OR, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 1-44, March.
    3. Shin, Youngchul & Lee, Sangyoon & Moon, Ilkyeong, 2020. "Robust multiperiod inventory model considering trade-in program and refurbishment service: Implications to emerging markets," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 138(C).
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    5. Jalali, Hamed & Ansaripoor, Amir H. & De Giovanni, Pietro, 2020. "Closed-loop supply chains with complementary products," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 229(C).

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