Customer merchandise return rates represent a high cost to organizations, with product return rates exceeding 50% of sales and representing over $351 billion annually. The author studied the strategies used by online retail furniture companies to reduce customer merchandise return rates and utilized a qualitative case study to explore the organism’s response to an environmental stimulus based on the social cognitive theory. The study presented the influence of the consumer’s emotional state on perceived risk and the relationship with the post-purchase cognitive dissonance phenomenology by collecting data from six employees of a Sarasota, Florida, online retail furniture company and using a structured interview. The author recorded, translated, coded the data, and used the interview responses to uncover the top emerging strategic approaches that reduce product return rates, which include understanding customer needs, policy and procedure, and product accuracy and clarity. The study identified several implications from the findings, including improved customer relationships that emphasize customer satisfaction, greater social change that highlights a customer-centric organization approach, and enhanced organizational success that influences a firm’s financial health.
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