January 19, 2016

[Formula] What Products to Sell in a Mall Kiosk?

Eric Griffin

Have a great product idea, but don’t know if it’s a good fit for a mall kiosk? Just launched a new product and considering a mall kiosk as a sales channel? Don’t know what products to sell in a mall kiosk? Whatever your situation might be, you’ve come to the right place. Over the years operating in specialty retail, we’ve used this surprisingly simple formula over and over again to launch brand new products and kiosk business ideas that have demonstrated a notable success rate when sold in mall kiosks. Many business owners are unaware of how to analyze a product’s viability for the mall space, and make common mistakes that end up being costly, often detrimental, to their business. The good news is that it’s fairly simple, and easy to use. So, here it is:



All 3 factors (appeal, price and margins) must apply to your product. To explain why, lets play a little “what if” game.


In the mall kiosk business, traffic is your best friend, and everyone should be your customer. If your products only cater to one specific group of people, you will be missing sales. For example, not everyone likes to cook. If you start selling cookie cutters, even at great impulse prices with incredible margins, you are reducing your potential customer base to the ~20% of people walking by who like to cook. The key is to ensure your product appeals to everyone, regardless of age, sex, and income. An exception to this rule is an item that appeals directly to one group, but is also bought by other groups as a gift. For example, hair straighteners (appeals only to girls, but plenty of guys buy them as gifts for their wife/girlfriend/mom).


Hoverboards made some noise this year — they are super trendy and everyone seems to want one. But will anyone pay $300 for it on a whim while stumbling upon it at the mall kiosk? Chances are, no. When the selling price is over $100, most people tend to put some thought into it and compare the options. You might have introduced them to a wonderful idea of having it, but the purchase may happen much later via Amazon.com at an unbeatable price. The key is to ensure your price is low enough (generally under $50) that someone will buy impulsively. An exception to this rule are known products people need right away, such as screen repairs.


We recently spotted a mall concept selling 3D printed custom toys — interesting concept for the malls. The problem with this business model is price — their MSRP for a toy was $5-$13, and their 3D printer can only make 6 toys per hour. They’d basically have to be making sales every minute, of every day, 365 days a year, just to break even! Often times products have potential, but their selling price is so low that you’d never be able to sell enough product to cover your costs. In the above example, if they sold their toys in a bundle — say, 3 toys for $30 — they would push up the average ticket price and in turn, increase sales. Buy a few more 3D printers to increase capacity, and you’re on to something.

So, there you have it. As you can see from all the above examples, mall kiosk products belong to a separate category of products with different rules applied. Next time when you brainstorm a product/mall kiosk fit, simply apply this formula to ensure that your kiosk stands out in comparison to your competitors. Good luck!

You might also like:

5 Secrets of the Best Mall Kiosk Business Ideas

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