Next time you’re in a mall, look around — those little carts you see everywhere can account for 10 percent of the entire mall’s sales. Over the years, this business model has continued to quietly and steadily rise.
Not surprisingly, ecommerce has caught on fire and many retailers choose not to have large display floors any longer. Instead, they elect to occupy much smaller physical locations. Malls are also creatively responding to these changes. Once a place for the distribution and storing of goods, they are now a place for great experiences. With plenty of franchise options out there, and short-term lease commitments, it seems to be the perfect time for entrepreneurs to start their own kiosk business without the need to invest a ton of money up front.
To satisfy my curiosity, I also checked Google Trends in terms of searches.
There are many different kiosk business ideas out there, but based on our experience, there are a few underlying principles that the most successful kiosk businesses have in common. So, if you are on the lookout for a great new venture, maybe you’ve thought of being your own boss, you can use these best kept secrets as a starting point to coming up with your own mall kiosk and learn strategies to make your kiosk distinct from competitors!
1. Product Variety
Typically, mall kiosks carry a limited number of product types, but there’s high variety within them. For example, a kiosk that sells sunglasses might carry only that type of product, with a fairly limited mix of styles , and then a large variety within each of those selections . Think different colors, style variations, materials. Another great example are Crocs, which started off as a kiosk business and grew into the larger chain of retail stores — it’s just one product, but they offer a wide range of options!
Businesses vary their products in many different ways. We at Clear-Coat approach it in terms of customization — our products can fit any device, whether it is a phone, a laptop, or a watch.
As a general rule, most successful kiosk businesses are centered around a single product or product category.
And that’s one of the biggest differences between kiosks and department stores, which, in contrast, offer a greater variety of different kinds of products. Approached with care, this difference can prove to be the greatest advantage which will set your business apart from your competitors.
2. Mass Appeal
Another major point is mass appeal. Regardless of how much variety the product offers, it might not matter if it appeals to a tiny group of people. For example, terrariums come in different shapes and sizes, but they may not be effective products to sell from a mall kiosk, although that depends largely on regional demographics and a particular mall’s average patron.
In any case, decisions should be backed with sufficient market research. Indeed, some ideas are harder than others to develop — you might start with a product that no one has ever thought about, which has yet to gain popularity. But don’t let that stop you — talking to the mall’s management and existing kiosk owners will give you a sense of an idea with which to start. Being a pioneer with your business is never a bad thing. You can estimate what will be on trend with an adequate of the demographic you plan to serve.
3. Service Environment
Many kiosk businesses work toward creating a service environment by offering hands-on activities that speak to the kinesthetic learner in all of us. For example, temporary tattoo artists offer custom designs and apply them to your skin on the spot. Other examples are product installations and one-on-one consultations, you name it, there’s a kiosk somewhere that does it! People who walk by kiosks will likely to stop at those that enhance their mall-walking experiences. Are your hands feeling dry from the winter weather? I bet there’s at least two kiosks that will happily moisturize them for you with their proprietary blend of emollients and elements from the Dead Sea — you know what I’m talking about.
The types of customers that purchase products from kiosks are often referred to as “impulse buyers.” In general, pricing items above $30 can be too high for a successful transaction in these scenarios. In places which include more expensive items, there is usually a variety with different price points. Typically in a mall kiosk environment it’s also good to have good margins to pay the rent, salaries and still make a profit.
Selling a product with confidence and quality customer service is essential to running any business, but especially when you are running a kiosk business — it can literally make or break you. Choosing the right product to sell at your kiosk will significantly contribute to your success.
Running a kiosk business is a great way to kick-start your entrepreneurial career. Make starting your own business a reality by following these five tips for running a high quality, highly profitable kiosk.