Annals of Operations Research

, Volume 206, Issue 1, pp 59–74 | Cite as

The impact of customer returns on supply chain decisions under various channel interactions

  • Jing ChenEmail author
  • Peter C. Bell


We examine a supply chain in which a manufacturer supplies a single product to a retailer who faces two forms of customer returns. We compare the impact of these two forms of customer returns on the decisions and profits of the manufacturer and the retailer under various types of channel interaction: Manufacturer Stackelberg (MS), Vertical Nash (VN), and Retailer Stackelberg (RS). We find that when the level of customer returns that are proportional to quantity sold is extremely high, the retailer prefers the MS rather than the RS channel interaction. We also examine the impact of the asymmetric customer returns information on the decisions of the manufacturer and the retailer and on profits under MS and VN channel interactions. We show that in the MS case, the retailer can decide whether or not to share customer returns information with its manufacturer without knowing the manufacturer’s estimates of customer returns and in the VN case, both the retailer and the manufacturer can decide whether or not to share/acquire the information based on observation of the other’s behavior. The issues of sharing this information are also discussed.


Managing customer returns Channel interaction Information sharing 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Business and EconomicsUniversity of WinnipegWinnipegCanada
  2. 2.Richard Ivey School of BusinessUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada

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