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Do customer returns enhance product and shopping experience satisfaction?

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The purpose of this study was to determine if department store customers who had recently returned a sportswear apparel product differed from customers who had returned one within the last year. The survey research method was used, with a retailer-endorsed covering letter and a four-page questionnaire mailed to the sample. The sample chosen for the study consisted of 1,118 credit card customers of a major south-eastern United States department store chain who had made a sportswear purchase within the previous twelve months. A total of 439 respondents returned questionnaires (39 percent response rate). Chi-square analysis and t-tests were used to test the four hypotheses. The two consumer groups differed in reasons for returns, the frequency of dissatisfaction with purchases of the women's sportswear and the degree of dissatisfaction with the shopping experience. The two customer groups did not differ in dissatisfaction with the store's return process. Latent return customers were more frequently dissatisfied with the sportswear apparel product and the sportswear shopping experience than recent return customers. Recent returns enhanced product and shopping experience satisfaction. The study's results have implications for educators, retailers, manufacturers and consumers.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1998-01-01

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