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The combined effect of product returns experience and switching costs on B2B customer re-purchase intent

Ivan Russo (Department of Business Administration, University of Verona, Verona, Italy)
Ilenia Confente (Department of Business Administration, University of Verona, Verona, Italy)
David M. Gligor (University of Mississippi, University Park, Mississippi, USA)
Nicola Cobelli (Department of Business Administration, University of Verona, Verona, Italy)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 5 June 2017

Abstract

Purpose

This study investigated business-to-business (B2B) repeated purchase intent and its relationships with customer value and customer satisfaction. Additionally, it explored the link between willingness to purchase again, switching costs and product returns management. Modern customers are more likely to switch suppliers; however, previous research suggests that this behaviour can be attenuated by a robust returns management experience. The purpose of this study was to provide a revised model of B2B repeated purchase intent that integrates the concept of product returns management and switching costs with existing B2B customer repurchase intent models.

Design/methodology/approach

First, a qualitative inquiry based on semi-structured interviews was conducted to test and develop a quantitative survey. Then a survey was then sent to business owners operating in the audiology industry. Finally, there were 317 responses.

Findings

The authors reveal the complex relationship between returns management and repeated purchase intent. Specifically, the authors’ results indicate that the effect of product returns on repurchase intent is opposite to the effect of customer value, depending on the value of customer value. The authors’ findings indicate that even when switching costs are low, firms can positively impact the intent to purchase again in the future if they increase the level of customer satisfaction. In addition, the authors’ findings indicate that in the context of B2B a high/low level of customer satisfaction does not trigger a positive effect of managing product returns on repurchase intent.

Originality/value

This study was the first to introduce the concept of product returns management to research on B2B repurchase intent.

Keywords

Citation

Russo, I., Confente, I., Gligor, D.M. and Cobelli, N. (2017), "The combined effect of product returns experience and switching costs on B2B customer re-purchase intent", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 32 No. 5, pp. 664-676. https://doi.org/10.1108/JBIM-06-2016-0129

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited