Shopping Plans, Buying Motivations, and Return Policies: impacts on product returns and purchase likelihood

Document Type



hedonic/utilitarian; shopping; product return; return policy; unplanned purchase

Identifier Data



Springer Link

Publication Source

Marketing Letters, 27(4), 645-659


Product return behavior and factors that contribute to product returns are an under-researched area, despite significant importance to manufacturers and retailers. The current research attempts to fill the gap by focusing on two factors that shape consumer purchase behavior: (1) whether purchases are planned or unplanned, and (2) whether hedonic or utilitarian motivations drive purchases. The findings show that purchase plans and buying motivations have distinctive and interactive impacts on pre-purchase concerns, self-estimated likelihood of returning purchases, and purchase intentions with or without return policies. When hedonic motivation drives purchases, unplanned (vs. planned) purchases lead to higher return concerns, higher return likelihood, and lower buying intentions. When utilitarian motivation drives purchases, planned and unplanned purchases have comparable return concerns, return likelihood, and buying intentions. This interaction effect on buying intentions dissipates when a lenient return policy is offered.