What we do
We are a team of academics working with retailers and manufacturers to explore ways to streamline returns processes, assess the true costs of returns, influencing customer behaviour, making returns more sustainable, using circular economy concepts, and other aspects.
Our newest project, entitled "Many Circular Returns: Developing a Framework for the Circular Economy in Retailing" is funded by CIMA, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.
Our article in The Conversation has been read over 70,000 times so far, picked up by over 50 Media outlets and also has been translated into Indonesian.
The ground-laying project was conducted by the University of Portsmouth on behalf of the ECR Community Shrink and On-shelf Availability group (now called ECR Retail Loss group). A growing cross-institutional research group has emerged from it, with academics working on various streams of research relating to product returns.
The core team currently includes researchers from the Universities of Southampton and Portsmouth. We are also working with researchers from Cranfield, Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam. In 2022, we started to collaborate with Appriss Retail (retail data science specialists), who are funding three MSc dissertation project internships.
Dr Regina (Gina) Frei is the Director of the Product Returns Research Group. She joined Southampton Business School as an Associate Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management in September 2019. She is passionate about sustainable value chains and the Circular Economy.
From 2013 to 2019, she was a Senior Lecturer in Manufacturing Engineering and Supply Chain Management at the University of Portsmouth, UK. Previously, she was a Postdoc at Cranfield University and Imperial College London. She holds a PhD in Distributed Robotics from Universidade Nova, Lisbon, Portugal, and an MSc in Micro-Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland. She wrote her MSc Thesis at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden, and did internships with the International Watch Company (IWC) and Schindler Lifts, both in Switzerland.