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Retail chains and shopping malls have struggled mightily in recent years, leading to tons of vacant space and shuttered storefronts. But among all of those struggles, there are still customers that prefer shopping in stores over shopping online. Recognizing this, business mall kiosk ideas have emerged as innovative solutions. All of that vacant mall space could present opportunities for small businesses to overtake that prime real estate with unique kiosk concepts.

Be sure to check out this gem of a video after reading. In it, Real World Side Hustles shows you how to make $35K in one month by running a Christmas mall kiosk during the holidays.

Steps for Maximizing Your Mall Kiosk Business Potential

It’s not just about picking a product you’re fond of – the essence of profitability and success of your mall kiosk is in the selling approach.

You can take the following steps to ensure your kiosk thrives:

  1. Differentiate Your Offerings While traditional stores present a broad array of items with limited variants for each, your kiosk should focus differently. Prioritize a specific product category (or a very select few) and delve into a comprehensive range of options within that category. If purses are your choice, then showcase an array of designs, hues, and sizes. Such a strategy not only distinguishes your kiosk but also enhances the likelihood of customers finding their exact match.
  2. Prioritize Universal Appeal The key to kiosk success is in attracting a wide audience. So, rather than focusing on niche offerings like Hello Kitty iPhone cases that might only resonate with a small demographic, consider a broader product range like cell phone cases catering to various models. This ensures a wider customer base and better business prospects.
  3. Enable Product Interaction People often prefer a tactile shopping experience, trying and testing products before purchasing. Offering items that allow for such interactions can increase the probability of sales. Essentially, if a customer can engage with a product firsthand, they’re more inclined to buy it.
  4. Aim for Affordable Price Points While kiosk shoppers act on impulse, they’re less inclined to splurge on a high-ticket item spontaneously. It’s advisable to focus on products priced below $30. However, it’s crucial to assess the potential profitability of these products, ensuring they cover rent and overheads and still generate a profit. There’s little sense in offering a $15 item if it doesn’t yield returns.
  5. Prioritize Product Quality The era of kiosks peddling low-quality items is in the past. Your product’s quality reflects your brand’s credibility. Offering superior quality not only builds trust but also lays the foundation for business expansion. Always remember your kiosk’s offerings should aim to elevate your business.
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Note: These strategies are based on general observations and might need adjustments according to specific markets or trends. Always keep an eye on customer preferences and feedback.

Here is a handy, concise table for easy reference of the steps:

No. Strategy Description
1 Differentiate Your Offerings Focus on a specific product category and offer a comprehensive range of options within it. For instance, if you’re selling purses, provide various designs, hues, and sizes. This sets your kiosk apart and increases the chances of customers finding what they want.
2 Prioritize Universal Appeal Aim to cater to a broad audience by offering products that appeal to many rather than niche items. Instead of specific designs like “Hello Kitty” cases, offer a range of phone cases suitable for multiple models. This ensures you reach a wider customer base.
3 Enable Product Interaction Allow customers to physically engage with the products. Let them try or test items before buying, which can lead to increased sales. If people can touch and feel a product, they are more likely to make a purchase.
4 Aim for Affordable Price Points Opt for products that are generally priced below $30, catering to the impulse-buying nature of kiosk shoppers. However, ensure these products still offer a good margin to cover your costs and generate a profit. It’s counterproductive to sell a $15 item if it doesn’t provide adequate returns after accounting for rent, overheads, and other expenses.
5 Prioritize Product Quality High-quality products are essential for building trust and credibility. Gone are the days when kiosks were associated with low-quality items. Ensure that your products not only satisfy customers but also enhance your brand’s reputation, paving the way for future growth.

Evaluating the Top Mall Kiosk Ideas: Our Methodology

For evaluating mall kiosk business ideas, it’s important to consider factors that capitalize on the unique opportunities and limitations of a mall kiosk setting. Here’s an outline of key criteria, each with an importance rating:

  1. High Foot Traffic Appeal
    • Importance: Essential (10/10)
      The kiosk should offer products or services that attract the attention of passing shoppers, leveraging the high foot traffic in malls.
  2. Compact and Efficient Operations
    • Importance: Essential (10/10)
      The business idea must be feasible within the limited space of a kiosk and require minimal operational complexity.
  3. Unique or Trendy Products/Services
    • Importance: High (9/10)
      Offering items that are unique, trendy, or in high demand can significantly increase sales potential.
  4. Visual Appeal and Branding
    • Importance: High (9/10)
      An attractive and distinctive visual presentation is crucial to draw in customers in a competitive mall environment.
  5. Quick Turnover and Impulse Buying
    • Importance: High (9/10)
      Products that cater to impulse buying or quick purchasing decisions can perform well in a mall kiosk setting.
  6. Affordability and Competitive Pricing
    • Importance: High (9/10)
      Pricing should be competitive and appealing for the impulse and convenience-driven mall shoppers.
  7. Easy Inventory Management
    • Importance: High (9/10)
      The business should have a manageable inventory that suits the limited storage space of a kiosk.
  8. Seasonal Flexibility
    • Importance: Moderate (7/10)
      The ability to adapt to seasonal trends and holidays can maximize sales opportunities.
  9. Customer Engagement and Service
    • Importance: High (9/10)
      Excellent customer service and engagement are key in a personal and interactive space like a kiosk.
  10. Compliance with Mall Regulations
    • Importance: Essential (10/10)
      The business idea must comply with the specific regulations and policies set by the mall.

50 Mall Kiosk Ideas to Consider

If you’re interested in opening or relocating a mall kiosk business, here are 50 mall kiosk ideas.

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1. Snack Foods

mall kiosk ideas - snacks and sweets in display case

Shoppers often get hungry in the middle of their shopping trips. And snack foods like pretzels, cookies and other easy-to-carry items can be popular.

2. Quick Service Food

You can also offer some more substantial food items like burgers, pizza and sandwiches at quick service kiosks.

3. Candy

Or you can focus on small, packaged food items that customers can take to go. Candy is a great example of this.

4. Coffee

mall kiosk ideas- coffee shop

Coffee is also popular with shoppers and consumers as a whole. So you can easily set up a kiosk with coffee drinks they can carry around while they shop.

5. Tea

Similarly, you can offer tea drinks or even packages of tea that they can buy and make at home.

6. Juice

To appeal to health-conscious consumers, you can set up a juice and smoothie bar at a mall kiosk.

7. Electronics

You can sell a wide variety of electronic devices at mall kiosks, including mobile phones, tablets and fitness trackers.

8. Mobile Phone Repairs

Or you could offer a service at your mall kiosk, like repairing mobile phones with cracked screens or water damage.

9. Mobile Phone Accessories

mall kiosk ideas - mobile phone repair

You can also offer accessories like cases, chargers and other smaller items to appeal to smartphone and tablet owners.

10. Artwork

If you create or license artwork, you can sell prints and other products featuring your art at a mall kiosk.

11. Posters

Or you could sell posters for movies, musical groups or other entertainment-related entities.

12. Custom Portraits

For the artistically inclined, you can even set up a stand where you offer custom portrait services for shoppers looking for unique purchases or gifts.

13. T-Shirt Customization

Or you could customize t-shirts with names, initials or images using screen printing or similar techniques.

14. Engraving Service

There are a number of other products that you can personalize for customers through the use of engraving techniques.

15. Embroidery Service

Or you could specialize in custom embroidery to add personal touches to various products.

16. Airbrush Service

Airbrushing is another technique you can use to offer personalized t-shirts, bags and other items.

17. Handmade Items

If you own a handmade business, you could set up a kiosk at the mall to sell a variety of different product lines.

18. Sporting Goods

Sporting goods like athletic wear, safety gear and fitness equipment can also be popular items to market to mall shoppers.

19. Flowers

mall kiosk ideas - flow shop stand

Florists, you can set up a small stand at a local mall to reach a wider variety of shoppers with your arrangements.

20. Pawn Shop

You can even set up a mini pawn shop at a mall kiosk to trade in items from customers and sell those items to others.

21. Used Books

Consider setting up a small used bookstore where you can both collect and sell items, incorporating a trade-in program.

22. Gold Exchange

You can even set up a gold exchange where customers can bring in their jewelry and other gold or silver items in exchange for cash.

23. Cosmetics

Cosmetics are fairly small and can attract a lot of impulse buyers, so this makes for a great mall kiosk business idea.

24. Makeup Artistry

If you provide makeup services, you can also set up a mall kiosk where you provide your services directly to customers.

25. Spa Services

Or you could focus on spa services like manicures, pedicures, massages or similar items.

26. Hair Products

You might also choose to focus on hair products that customers can browse or even try out at your kiosk.

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27. Temporary Tattoos

mall kiosk ideas - temporary tatoos (henna on hand)

To add in some fun services to your mall kiosk, you can offer henna tattoos or unique temporary body art.

28. Ear Piercing

If you have the correct tools and training, you can also set up an ear-piercing stand at the mall.

29. Jewelry

You can either sell earrings and other jewelry items that you’ve crafted yourself or procure them from other manufacturers.

30. Jewelry and Watch Repair

The mall can also be a great place for you to provide watch and jewelry repair services while customers shop.

31. Sunglasses

Another small item that’s pretty popular with impulse shoppers, consider setting up a stand to sell sunglasses.

32. Hats

Hats are also popular items that you can easily sell at a mall kiosk.

33. Shoes

Or you could go a little more in-depth with your product line and offer a particular style of shoes.

34. Shoe Shining

You could even offer shoe-related services by setting up a shoe shine stand at the mall.

35. Vintage Clothing

Clothing stores are popular mall fixtures. To stand out, set up a kiosk that focuses on vintage garments.

36. Leather Goods

You could even set up a kiosk that specializes in offering leather goods like bags and belts.

37. Baby Products

To appeal to family shoppers, start a kiosk that offers baby products like strollers, carriers and similar items.

38. Toys

Or you can offer a variety of different toys and games for kids at your mall kiosk.

39. Kids’ Activities

For parents who are shopping with kids and need a way to keep them happy, you could offer activities like games and playscapes.

40. Vitamins

Appeal to healthy shoppers by setting up a stand that offers vitamins, supplements and similar products.

41. Home Improvement Services

If you offer home improvement products or services, you can set up a mall kiosk where you speak with customers and show them samples of your work to get them to sign up or purchase a service for a later date.

42. Drones

mall kiosk ideas - drones

If you want to set up a trendy or high-tech business, start a kiosk where you sell consumer drones. You can even show off how they work right in the mall.

43. 3D Printing

3D printing is an easy way to manufacture various goods. You can set up a 3D printing stand where customers can pay to print their own 3D items.

44. Virtual Reality Headsets

The mall can also be a great place for customers to try out new products they haven’t used before. Virtual reality headsets can be a great example of a product that might appeal to more customers once they’ve actually tried it.

45. Video Games

Similarly, you can set up a kiosk where customers can sample and buy different video games.

46. Pet Items

Pet owners are known for buying a lot of different products for their furry friends. You can offer anything from artisan dog treats to Halloween costumes for cats.

47. Balloons

Balloons and balloon art can make for fun purchases for mall shoppers.

48. Face Painting

You can even offer face painting services to make the shopping experience a little more fun for kids and families.

49. Caricatures

Depending on the size and foot traffic of your mall, you might even be able to set up a stand where you draw caricatures for shoppers.

50. Gift Baskets

You can also offer up custom gift baskets for shoppers or allow them to place orders that you can deliver to others as gifts.

What Sells the Best at a Mall Kiosk?

While mall kiosks were once mainly associated with more affordable markets, they’ve now gained prominence in premium markets as well. Success at a mall kiosk isn’t guaranteed by selling just any product. Therefore, it’s important to know which items have the most appeal. So, which items are top sellers? The following are according to the mall kiosk experts at Palmer Retail Solutions.

  • Tech gadgets: Cell phones, their accessories, tablets, and fitness trackers
  • Clothing: Such as shirts and sweaters
  • Edibles: Including pretzels, chocolates, popcorn, and donuts
  • Beauty essentials: Products for skincare, cosmetics, flat irons, and curling irons.
  • Fashion accessories: Purses, scarves, watches, and jewelry
  • Vision products: Like sunglasses
  • Special gifts: Personalized items, handcrafted goods, products for pets, and artwork.

What’s the next step? Consider devising a strategy for a mall kiosk. You’re heading in a promising direction!

Related reading: 51 Business Ideas for 2020

Shopping Mall Photo via Shutterstock

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