The impact of consumer returns policies on consignment contracts with inventory control

W. Hu, Y. Li, Kannan Govindan

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

We consider a consignment contract with consumer non-defective returns behavior. In our model, an upstream vendor contracts with a downstream retailer. The vendor decides his consignment price charged to the retailer for each unit sold and his refund price for each returned item, and then the retailer sets her retail price for selling the product. The vendor gets paid based on net sold units and salvages unsold units as well as returned items in a secondary market. Under the framework, we study and compare two different consignment arrangements: the retailer/vendor manages consignment inventory (RMCI/VMCI) programs. To study the impact of return policy, we discuss a consignment contract without return policy as a benchmark. We show that whether or not the vendor offers a return policy, it is always beneficial for the channel to delegate the inventory decision to the vendor. We find that the vendor's return policy depends crucially on the salvage value of returns. If the product has no salvage value, the vendor's optimal decision is not to offer a return policy; otherwise, the vendor can gain more profit by offering a return policy when the salvage value turns out to be positive.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Volume233
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)398–407
ISSN0377-2217
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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