If you wish to run a small business but do not want a full-on retail store, mall kiosks are an ideal way to go. These kiosks allow you to sell near high-traffic spots to targeted clients with less investment as compared to a complete retail store.

Mall kiosks provide a unique way of operating a retail business — you get exposure to the continuous flow of shoppers within shopping malls without having to rent actual storefronts. However, mall kiosk operations require some specific measures if they are to succeed.

Much of your success depends on how much effort you put into it when starting it. So pay attention to even the smallest details when you start your mall kiosk business. Here are a few tips for running a successful mall kiosk business.

Get a customized cart

The first step is to get a kiosk that fits your business needs. Leasing or buying a used Kiosk is an affordable option. You may be able to save money by buying a used kiosk, but make sure it doesn’t come with additional issues that drain your budget on repairs. While leasing can be cost-effective for short-term, seasonal use, if you are interested in a full-time business that you want to grow, purchasing a mall kiosk and getting it customized according to your requirements would be best. Many vendors sell mall kiosks. Gallery Carts designs and builds merchandising carts that you can get custom-made for your business.

Put effort into setting up

Do you have an initial business plan, including set-up costs? As per the reports by Entrepreneur.com, a kiosk can be cheaper to acquire, but some malls require long-term leases that cost upwards of $100,000 per year. Depending on the mall, they may ask for a share of revenue as part of your lease agreement. Your kiosk’s merchandise costs will vary depending on what you choose to sell.

Even for small businesses like mall kiosks, this could be a large investment, so you should develop a business plan that focuses on:

  • Products you intend to sell
  • Your local mall’s kiosk prices and availability
  • Leasing costs associated with malls
  • Merchandise costs projected over the lease period
  • Kiosk lease income projections

Brainstorm on the kinds of Merchandise you want to sell

A mall kiosk usually attracts strollers and window shoppers in the mall. If you have interesting products displayed well, people will stop to take a closer look at your booth instead of just passing by.

The items you choose should include impulse buys appropriate for the season, such as chocolate candy on Valentine’s Day or small gift items at Christmas. A kiosk’s small size dictates that it should sell small items. In addition, kiosk merchandisers should offer relatively inexpensive items since people are unlikely to make major purchases at kiosks.

Buyers perceive kiosk owners as short-term, so they avoid buying items that may need repairs or returns. Here are some suggestions for the type of items you can sell at a mall kiosk:

  • Artificial Jewelry – Artificial jewelry is an ideal display item. Kiosks may be vulnerable to shoplifting, so keep them in locked cases if your items are expensive. Rather than gold and precious gems, focus on semiprecious stones and custom jewelry.
  • Accessories – belts, stoles, and handmade bags also sell well.
  • Toys – these will grab the attraction of small children in the mall, and parents are likely to purchase them to make their kids happy.
  • Snack Foods – It is common for shoppers to get hungry while shopping. Pretzels, cookies, and popcorns are convenient snacks for carrying around during shopping expeditions. Moreover, food items with a relatively long shelf life, such as chocolate, candy, and seasonal gift baskets, are good kiosk choices.
  • Holiday decorations – people often buy holiday candles, ornaments, wall hangings, and table decorations on impulse.
  • Phone accessories: While displaying gadgets may increase theft risks, offering phone covers, chargers, and headsets can quickly attract customers.
  • Makeup and grooming aids – a range of makeup at affordable to moderate prices will draw teenagers to your kiosks.
  • Beverages – Coffee, tea, and juices are popular with shoppers, and juices appeal to self-conscious consumers. Set up a kiosk with beverages your customers can carry around while they shop.
  • Services – Services you offer can range from repairing gadgets, electronics, and jewelry to making customized T-shirts and mugs. If you’re good at artwork, try selling custom portraits or paintings. You can even sell licensed artwork.

Other popular choices include flowers, eyewear, old books, cosmetics, or even handmade items. 

No matter the size of your business, always ensure that your customer service is on point!

Pay attention to the location

You might think that just because malls are usually buzzing with people, the location won’t matter. Think again! Your mall kiosk’s location is crucial to its success. If you’re located in a dark corner of the mall, your business is unlikely to do well, and no amount of signage will help.

Try to locate your business in a high-traffic area. No matter how good your product is, your efforts will go to waste if your target audience can’t see it. However, even if your kiosk isn’t at the ideal location, you can hire employees on daily wages to promote the kiosk in high-traffic areas.

Customize according to the season

Holidays offer great opportunities for sales to soar. To begin with, decorate your kiosk according to the theme. Secondly, even if you own a mall kiosk full-time, bring seasonal items during the holidays.

For instance, decorate your kiosk with Christmas ornaments during Christmas. You can even customize your services based on the holiday theme. It is ideal for selling seasonal products or leveraging busy months such as November and December.

Keep additional help around to speed up the services

Service quality is vital to any business endeavor, but it is especially crucial in kiosks. People who run kiosks must be proactive in attracting customers without seeming pushy. Hire a friendly staff with superb people skills. 

Ideally, a kiosk should have two people on duty to assist multiple people at once.

Once you have adequate staffing, train them to communicate with customers in ways that promote your product/service without overburdening them. Staff must also understand the product and be willing to share its information with potential customers. Providing such a service will make people want to return to your kiosk.


Mall Kiosks make a unique and profitable small business venture. However, regardless of how big or small a business is, it needs funding and planning – so don’t overlook that aspect when getting started. You will need to invest in the cart, merchandise, and licensures – be prepared with a business plan to ensure your business runs smoothly over time. Follow the tips mentioned above, and you’ll be a successful kiosk entrepreneur sooner than you anticipated.