Impact of secondary market on consumer return policies and supply chain coordination

Ximin Huang, Jia Wen Gu, Wai Ki Ching, Tak Kuen Siu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


In this paper, we develop a unified model to study the inventory management problem of a product and the coordination of the associated supply chain consisting of a single supplier and considerably many retailers in the presence of a secondary market. Specifically, consumer returns are allowed in the initial sales. Then, we introduce a secondary market to salvage the returns and the leftovers from the initial sales. In this secondary market, a discount price will be offered to the consumers but no returns are accepted. Moreover, between the primary and the secondary market, there is an internal market where retailers can trade among themselves so that they are able to adjust their inventory levels to prepare for the sales in the secondary market. We study the retailers' and the supply chain's inventory decision in this case and highlight the impact of the secondary market on the sales as well as on the supply chain coordination contracts. We conclude that the secondary market helps us to increase the total wholesale volume. Numerical examples show that the total sales profit is also increased. However, the secondary market aggravates the incentive conflict between the retailers and the supply chain on deciding the optimal inventory levels and hence requires the supplier to offer more generous buyback or sales rebate contracts for coordination of the supply chain. Finally, we extend our analysis to more general cases and also show that our results are robust to some of the modeling assumptions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-70
Number of pages14
JournalOmega (United Kingdom)
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the editor, area editor, associate editor and the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive suggestions which greatly help us to improve this paper. Research supported in part by GRF Grant and HKU CERG Grants, National Natural Science Foundation of China Grant Nos. 11271144 and S201201009985 .


  • Consumer returns
  • Secondary market
  • Supply chain
  • Supply contracts


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