Managing Long Queues in Seasonal Sales Shopping

31 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2013

See all articles by Chun Qiu

Chun Qiu

McGill University - Desautels Faculty of Management

Wenqing Zhang

SolBridge International School of Business

Date Written: December 17, 2013

Abstract

Long queues in seasonal sales shopping are seemingly undesirable for shoppers and retailers. Yet, this paper proposes that shoppers’ impatience can be a virtue for retailers. It shows that, when shoppers do queue, it is desirable under some conditions for retailers to strategically keep the queues longer rather than reducing them. This is due to two positive effects that shoppers’ queues have on retailers’ profitability: (1) to deliver seasonal promotions to low-time-cost shoppers who buy more when waiting longer in line; and (2) to turn away high-time-cost shoppers who choose to purchase at a regular time and pay the full price. Accounting for the two merits of long queues, this paper provides a numerical solution to optimizing retailers’ promotional and operational decisions related to seasonal promotions.

Keywords: Segmentation, queuing, promotion

Suggested Citation

Qiu, Chun and Zhang, Wenqing, Managing Long Queues in Seasonal Sales Shopping (December 17, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2368952 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2368952

Chun Qiu (Contact Author)

McGill University - Desautels Faculty of Management ( email )

1001 Sherbrooke St. W
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1G5
Canada

Wenqing Zhang

SolBridge International School of Business ( email )

151-13 Samsung 1-dong, Dong-gu
Daejeon, 300-814
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

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