Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Key In on Kiosks

Last week’s New York Times Small Business article was about a truly small retail format—the 32 square foot wheeled cart known as a Retail Merchandising Unit and the 150 square foot derivative, the kiosk. A major player, Cellairis, with its 720 mall locations of kiosks, does about $350 million in annual sales. But even small operations of the small storefront can be highly profitable. The NYT article provides the example of S.h.a.p.e.s Brow Bar, which succeeded with a single cart in one Chicago mall, and NYS Collection, which began with a single cart located between the World Trade Towers in 1996.
     Still, before that successful cart, NYS Collection co-owner Sal Babbino failed with a cart peddling embroidered hats and T-shirts. Having a cart instead of storefront, location’s less important for success. You can move to a different place. But you can’t escape the pains of carrying the wrong merchandise or offering an unwanted service.
     One shopper psychology factor in maximizing the profitability of a kiosk is to assertively convince shoppers you’re not a pop-up store which will disappear in a few weeks. Learn customers’ names and use the names. Use bounce-back coupons that give to customers a discount on a subsequent purchase. If your cart has big wagon wheels, decorate the wheels ornately enough to convince passersby you won’t be rolling off into the night.
     Or not rolling off too often. To gain exposure and maintain the advantages of novelty, you might choose to rotate the location of the kiosk within a shopping area. In that case, tell your shoppers you’ll be doing that, encourage them to look for you, and in your email/mobile marketing, announce where you’ll be setting up shop next.
     Another key with kiosks is to allow shoppers a little landing time. From your own experiences as a consumer, you’ve probably recognized the folly of kiosk operators accosting people and pulling them toward the sales area. Those people will run away physically and psychologically.
     However, some operators fail to appreciate the vulnerability a volunteer browser feels when approaching the kiosk. It’s too tiny for hiding spots. A productive salesperson at a kiosk won’t be on the phone or texting as potential customers walk by. The salesperson also won’t pounce. A welcoming smile, ten seconds of readiness to answer the shopper’s question, and then, if there has been no question, “What may I help you find?”

Click below for more: 
Incorporate Vending Machine Technologies 
Welcome Me to Your Store with Enthusiasm 
Use Closed-Ended Questions Selectively

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