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Identifying characteristics of consumers who frequently return apparel

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Purpose ‐ This paper seeks to investigate relationships between apparel return behavior and fashion innovativeness, buying impulsiveness, and consideration of return policies of US consumers. Design/methodology/approach ‐ A convenience sample of 246 undergraduates studying in the USA completed a questionnaire that contained measures of apparel returns, fashion innovativeness, buying impulsiveness, and consideration of return policies. Pearson correlation and multiple linear regression analysis were used to analyze the data. Findings ‐ It was found that apparel return behavior of participants was positively related to buying impulsiveness and to consideration of return policies. These two variables were also significant predictors of frequency of apparel returns. Fashion innovativeness was not significantly related to participants' apparel return behavior. In addition, participants' consideration of return policies was not related to their innovative or impulsive purchase behaviors. Practical implications ‐ Findings are useful to retailers to better understand characteristics of frequent returners and to make informed decisions about developing optimal return policies that prohibit excessive product returns yet do not inhibit consumers' purchasing. Originality/value ‐ There is limited research on potential effects of adopting restrictive return policies. The study begins to examine whether leniency in return policy might potentially influence the behavior of innovative or impulsive consumers.

Keywords: Clothing; Consumer behaviour; Consumers; Innovation; Retailing; Returns

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/13612020910939860

Publication date: February 27, 2009

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