When to carry eccentric products? Optimal retail assortment under consumer returns
To understand whether retailers should consider consumer returns when merchandising, we study how the optimal assortment of a price-taking retailer is influenced by its return policy. The retailer selects its assortment from an exogenous set of horizontally differentiated products. Consumers make purchase and keep/return decisions in nested multinomial logit fashion. Our main finding is that the optimal assortment has a counterintuitive structure for relatively strict return policies: It is optimal to offer a mix of the most popular and most eccentric products when the refund amount is sufficiently low, which can be viewed as a form of risk sharing between the retailer and consumers. In contrast, if the refund is sufficiently high, or when returns are disallowed, optimal assortment is composed of only the most popular products (a common finding in the literature). We provide preliminary empirical evidence for one of the key drivers of our results: more eccentric products have higher probability of return – conditional on purchase. In light of our analytical findings and managerial insights, we conclude that retailers should take their return policies into account when merchandising.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Jeffrey D. Shulman & Anne T. Coughlan & R. Canan Savaskan, 2009. "Optimal Restocking Fees and Information Provision in an Integrated Demand-Supply Model of Product Returns," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 11(4), pages 577-594, December.
- Wallace J. Hopp & Xiaowei Xu, 2005. "Product Line Selection and Pricing with Modularity in Design," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 7(3), pages 172-187, August.
- Train,Kenneth E., 2009.
"Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation,"
Cambridge University Press, number 9780521766555, December.
- A. Gürhan Kök & Yi Xu, 2011. "Optimal and Competitive Assortments with Endogenous Pricing Under Hierarchical Consumer Choice Models," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(9), pages 1546-1563, February.
- V. Daniel R. Guide , Jr. & Gilvan C. Souza & Luk N. Van Wassenhove & Joseph D. Blackburn, 2006. "Time Value of Commercial Product Returns," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(8), pages 1200-1214, August.
- Gérard P. Cachon & A. Gürhan Kök, 2007. "Category Management and Coordination in Retail Assortment Planning in the Presence of Basket Shopping Consumers," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(6), pages 934-951, June.
- Sridhar Moorthy & Kannan Srinivasan, 1995. "Signaling Quality with a Money-Back Guarantee: The Role of Transaction Costs," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(4), pages 442-466.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1272. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.