But the manufacturer often bears the brunt of the reverse-logistics costs. The goods could become outdated and unsellable during the returns process, especially with electronics.
Retailers and manufacturers also make calculations about where to store returned products; if they are, say, damaged or out of season, they should probably go back to warehouses, not stores, Guide said.
Guide said using the specialized retail term underscored its importance as a business imperative. “‘Product returns,’” he said, “make it sound like, ‘Oh, retailers are going to take it back, and it’s no big deal.’”