In today's fast paced, self-service world, the use of kiosks has become increasingly popular. There are basically two types of kiosks. Mall kiosks are portable booth-like structures set up to sell specialty or seasonal products. Self-service kiosks utilize electronic credit card transactions to provide goods and services such as movie rentals or digital film processing. There are several advantages associated with selling through kiosks.
Although larger initial start-up costs are necessary to purchase and set up a kiosk, the monthly expenses tend to be much lower than a traditional retail store. Because mall kiosks require minimal staffing, business owners save money by only hiring a few employees. When using a self-service kiosk, the overhead expenses are even less because no daily staff is necessary. Staffing is only required form restocking of the kiosk or attending to maintenance issues.
For an entrepreneur looking to expand his business, kiosks can provide a relatively inexpensive way to expand. Because additional retail mall space, additional employees and inventory expenses can be very costly, business owners have found that they can expand their original businesses with strategically-placed kiosks. Their kiosks can be set up in malls in different cities where their products can be sold.
Although mall kiosk hours of operation are generally dictated by the policies of the mall in which they are located, self-service kiosks can provide flexible, 24-,hour service. Since the customer purchases the product through the kiosk with a credit card and the computer interface is programmed to interact with the customer to provide the requested service or product there is no need for constant staffing.
After the initial set-up of a kiosk, the maintenance required is generally quite minimal. Unlike traditional retail stores that require ongoing maintenance to the structure and the aesthetics of the building, kiosks generally require little maintenance. If system failure should occur, there is normally a technical support system available to the kiosk owner for quick recovery. As long as kiosks are located in safe, well-lit areas, the chances of repairs due to vandalism are minimal.
Kiosks are generally located in areas that receive a lot of foot traffic. Because they have a high level of visibility, the products and services that they are selling can become very well known. The repetitive exposure to the name brand of the product can be an effective and inexpensive marketing tool. Larger retail stores often utilize smaller kiosks in well traveled areas of a mall to drive traffic to their main store locations.