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EMAC 2022 Regional Conference

Return Policy Leniency Impacting Customers’ Purchase Intention – A Viable Strategy for E-Tailers?

Published: December 1, 2022


David Karl, University of Bamberg; Kilian Vornberger, University of Bamberg; Björn Asdecker, University of Bamberg


Return policy can reduce e-commerce consumer returns by subjecting high-returning customers to a stricter return policy. Besides return behavior, purchase intention is affected. In an online survey of 197 participants, return policy leniency strongly influences purchase intention. Other variables, such as perceived trust, show a weaker impact on purchase intention than return policy directly. Managerially, this paper improves companies’ understanding of how different return policies affect customer behavior. Academically, the research on return policy and purchase intention is complemented by examining three different return policy manifestations under control of trust, fairness, opportunism, and return difficulty.