The first step in starting a mall kiosk business is drawing up a business plan, the major component of which is deciding what to sell. The possibilities on what to start with are endless, but selection ultimately depends on what the mall management allows and what the customers are most likely to buy. Most malls regulate the nature of business allowed through its premises, and almost all of them do not allow two kiosks to sell the same products. The entrepreneur also needs to undertake extensive market research to determine if the selected niche would sell. The market research should cover an independent study of the nature of people who frequent the mall, regardless of what the mall management says.
Good generic options on what to sell through a kiosk include:
- seasonal and holiday products, such as a candy and flowers for Valentine's day, gifts for Christmas, and the like
- snacks such as pop-corn, fountain drinks, nuts and seeds
- mementos such as crystal animals
- soft toys, t-shirts, and other memorabilia
- small fancy utility items such as key chains and pen stands
- exotic products such as herbal products and spices
- any special niche ranging from poker chips to beads, or from sunglasses to lingerie
Yet another option is to take advantage of franchisee options and tie up offers available from big firms such as Kodak to sell their products through kiosks.
Regardless of the option chosen, the underlying principle is that of selecting a niche product. A kiosk works best if it sells a limited range of items, all within the same category, with such items preferably not available in other stores.
One mistake many kiosks make is trying to compete with big stores on prices or product availability. The success of a kiosk business rather depends on selecting a niche product and attracting customers by offering better customer service, better experience, and the convenience of "buy and go" rather than entering a store, selecting a product, and waiting for checkout.