Kiosks Kash In
By George Anderson
Those temporary kiosks and carts you see set up in malls are doing a brisk business, with annual sales of around $10 billion, reports The Associated Press.
The reasons behind the success are varied, with some appealing to shoppers’ sense of nostalgia (the pushcarts of an imagined romantic bygone era) and others offering unique items not sold in malls’ specialty and department stores.
Still others open kiosk businesses as extension of an established retailer or manufacturer brand.
Hickory Farms, for example, expands from one year-round store to 542 kiosks and 176 store locations for the holiday season.
Despair.com is bringing its unique line of “glass is half-empty” posters, calendars and other goods to malls for the first time this year. The e-tailer has kiosks set up in malls in Dallas and San Antonio.
Co-founder Lawrence Kersten said, “We also know there are people who were finding our product in a mall that weren’t finding us online.”
Even Dell Inc. has hopped on the kiosk cart. The personal computer manufacturer first tested kiosks in 2001. This year, it expanded its kiosk program to 145 locations in 20 states.
Marshal Cohen, senior industry analyst at NPD Group, said the growth of the kiosk business is changing the dynamics of malls.
“Kiosks are a huge opportunity for the mall, the entrepreneur and the individual consumer. It removes one of biggest barriers and that’s the entrance and walls to the stores,” he said.
Moderator’s Comment: How big is the kiosk opportunity for established retailers who are not normally found in malls? Are there types or specific retailers
you believe would benefit from opening holiday kiosks? What are the keys to success with holiday or other temporary kiosks? –
George Anderson – Moderator