Catching the Boomerang : The Product Return Process of Swedish E-Retailers
One of the newest emerging areas of research in supply chain management is ReverseLogistics. It involves all activities related to the flow of products from the customerback to the supplier. In the last decade scholars have developed theories and models,however empirical data is still in its infancy. In response, this paper strives to close thisgap by conducting research to create new knowledge on the first element of reverselogistics, which is the product return process. The main intention of having a returnprocess is to handle returned products efficiently in order to recover value and to savecosts. Therefore, it is a value-adding operation and can become profitable for thecompany.The purpose of this study is to investigate the implementation and perception of thereturn process of Swedish e-retailers. Sweden is considered to be one of the mostmatured e-commerce markets. In addition, e-retailers experience the highest rate ofproduct returns. Together those two factors influenced the decision to dedicate thisthesis to this particular region and industry.Initially, this paper introduces reverse logistics focusing specifically on the productreturn process. An overview of the existing theories and concepts within the returnprocess is presented and summarized, resulting in the creation of the Boomerang ReturnModel. Based on this foundation the questionnaire was created. By cooperating with theSwedish e-retail federation - Svensk Distanshandel, access to the industry was gained toperform a quantitative study.It was found that the empirical data only gives insight into the implementation andperception of the return process of small sized companies. The findings demonstrate thelimited awareness of the importance of an efficient return process. Companies tend toperceive the return process as unimportant instead of value adding. Hence, there is anopportunity for improvements in the Swedish e-retail market. From these findings amodified version of the Boomerang Return Model was created to adjust the initialmodel particularly for small sized companies. The model can be utilized as a theoreticalgroundwork in future research. Additionally, it could also serve as guidance for smallcompanies how to implement an appropriate return process.
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