Managing long queues for holiday sales shopping

Chun Martin Qiu, Wenqing Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Long queues during holiday shopping events seem undesirable for both shoppers and retailers. However, the following article shows that, under some conditions, long queues benefit retailers for two reasons. First, long queues, by turning away high-time-cost shoppers, serve as a device of segmentation and targeting. Consequently, retailers deliver promotions only to low-time-cost shoppers. High-time-cost shoppers choose to purchase at a regular time (non-holiday shopping event) and pay the full price without having to make the wait. Second, longer queues prompt shoppers who stay in the line buy more products. In addition, the article shows that shoppers tend to wait longer when price discounts are greater. Accounting for the above findings, this article provides a numerical solution to jointly optimizing retailers' promotional and operational decisions on holiday promotional sales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-65
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Revenue and Pricing Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • promotion
  • retailing
  • revenue management
  • segmentation
  • shopping queues


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