Whether to adopt “buy online and return to store” strategy in a competitive market?

Shuai Yan, Thomas W Archibald, Xiaohua Han*, Yiwen Bian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This study attempts to examine whether it is beneficial to introduce the buy online and return to store (BORS) strategy in a competitive market. We consider two competing dual-channel retailers, and investigate conditions under which it is optimal for one or both of the retailers to offer the BORS strategy. We first assume that a partial refund is offered for online returns and then consider the important case of a full refund. We show that whether both retailers adopt this strategy significantly depends on the return rate and cross-selling profit. Specifically, if the return rate is sufficiently low (high), at least one retailer (both retailers) will adopt this strategy when cross-selling profit is relatively high. Nonetheless, both retailers will fall into the prisoner’s dilemma under certain conditions. Interestingly, the return rate and proportion of consumers with a high hassle cost associated with BORS returns significantly influence the equilibrium channel strategy and the existence of the prisoner’s dilemma. We further find that, when both retailers implement the BORS strategy, they both benefit from offering a full refund return policy when the number of online-type consumers is large enough and the unit cross-selling profit is relatively small, but should provide a partial refund otherwise. When only one retailer adopts the BORS strategy, a partial refund return policy is preferable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)974-986
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number3
Early online date25 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sept 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • supply chain management
  • cross-channel return strategy
  • dual-channel retailer
  • competition
  • buy online and return to store


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