The challenge of remanufactured products: the role of returns policy and channel structure to reduce consumers' perceived risk

Document Type


Publication Date



Purpose: While remanufactured products represent an increasingly researched phenomenon in the literature, not much is known about consumers' understanding and acceptance of such products. This study explores this issue in the context of the theory of perceived risk (TPR), investigating return policy leniency and distribution channel choice as potential factors to foster remanufactured products' sales. Design/methodology/approach: This research utilizes an experimental design composed of a pre-test and a scenario-based main experiment to explore how return policy leniency might mitigate consumers' perceived risk and how their related purchase intention differs across two types of retail distribution channel structures (i.e. brick-and-mortar vs. online). Findings: The investigation into the efficacy of return policy leniency within two retail distribution channel settings (i.e. brick-and-mortar vs. online) illustrates that providing a lenient return policy is an effective “cue” in increasing consumer purchase intention for remanufactured products. While prior literature has established that consumers value return policy leniency for new products, the authors provide empirical evidence that this preference also applies to remanufactured products. Notably, that return policy preference holds true in both channel settings (i.e. brick-and-mortar vs. online) under consideration. Additionally, and contrary to the authors’ predictions, consumers perceived remanufactured products sold via both channel settings as equally risky, thus highlighting that both are appropriate distribution channels for remanufactured products. Finally, while research on new products provides some initial guidance on consumer perceptions of quality and risk, the study provides empirical evidence into the difference of perceived risk with regard to new versus remanufactured products. Originality/value: By employing the TPR, this research explored the role played by two supply chain management related factors (returns policy and channel structure) in reducing consumer's perceived risk and increasing purchase intention. In doing so, this study answers the call for more consumer-based supply chain management research in a controlled experimental research setting.

Publication Title

International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management





First Page


Last Page


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)