How to launch your retail business from a mall kiosk

retail-kiosk-solutions-scan-retailCongratulations! You’ve decided to take your first step into the world of retail with a mall kiosk – a low-cost alternative to opening a brick and mortar store, which also gives you the benefit of flexible lease agreements and the opportunity to test a product or location.

To get the most out of your mall kiosk (also referred to as a retail or shopping kiosk), and maximise these benefits, you need to be smart about how you proceed… So let’s get started…

Where to begin?

Presumably, you already have a product or service you wish to sell, as well as a business plan on how you are going to do it. After all, the more research and planning you do, the better your chances of making a success of your business.

The good news is that retail kiosks are suitable for most types of services and merchandise, says Melfred Malander, an Account Executive (AE) at the Johannesburg branch of Scan Retail. “Perfume, cell phone covers, toys, beauty products and small electronics do well in retail kiosks,” he says. You can also sell food and beverages (think a coffee, smoothie or a cake shop) or services can (such as an express nail bar). Get inspired by our mall kiosk business ideas

Location, location, location…

Mall-Kiosk-Design-and-locationNext, you need to decide on your location. Drawing on your business plan and research, you should know the profile of the customers you want to sell to. This will help you figure out where to place your shopping kiosk.

Melfred points out that retail kiosks are not limited to mall properties, but can also work well in train stations, airports, sports venues or at exhibitions. You need to identify where most of your customers will be when deciding where to go. For example, coffee could work well in a train station with many commuters who need their early morning caffeine-fix, while high-end jewellery could be more suited to an upmarket mall which attracts a high LSM of shoppers. Don’t forget to research which existing retailers are at your preferred location. You probably don’t want to be selling toys next to three existing and established toy stores.

Equally, consider the exact location where you want to be, within your preferred location. You want a high foot-traffic area that is highly visible to as many customers as possible, and not somewhere that is tucked away and hard to find.

How to approach it

There are a number of ways to get the retail kiosk location you want. Some retail environments have existing kiosks you can apply to lease. Alternatively, you could approach the property manager at the mall (or other venues) to discuss bringing in your own kiosk, or ask our friendly team at Scan Retail to help you find your ideal placement.

Chantel de Lange, a Scan Retail Johannesburg AE, says, “We provide our retail kiosks to malls who then hire them out, but are also able to assist retailers with placement in the malls of some property developers that we have an existing relationship with.”

Next decision… what type of kiosk?


Once you have secured your space at your desired location, it is time for the most exciting part – to choose your retail kiosk. You have a few options here. You can either select an existing design from Scan Retail’s catalogue (a hassle-free option that gives you great results, quickly and easily), or have one of our designers create your own unique design for you (a more involved process, but which ensures you get exactly what you want, having the ability to custom-design every aspect of your retail unit).

Melfred adds that the whole process, from design and manufacture to installation, can be as quick as five weeks. Of course, this hinges greatly on the decision-making process, and you shouldn’t want to rush this.

The design of your kiosk

Whether you decide to go for an off-the-shelf design or a custom-designed kiosk, our team will need a lot of information from you to ensure we give you the best solution for your needs. Jason Simpson, a Retail Designer from the Scan Retail Cape Town office, recommends you have a good idea of the following in order to do this:

  • Location: The designer needs to know which malls (or other environments) you are going into, so they can confirm what design restrictions they need to take into account. They will also need to know your exact location within the venue. This helps them with practical considerations, such as the directional flow of foot traffic, and the availability and location of plug points.
  • Size: The square meterage you have been allocated.
  • Use: What products or services you will be selling, and how many staff will be operating within the space. These factors have a big impact on your needs within the space, and therefore the requirements of the kiosk.
  • Corporate Identity (CI): Most businesses have a CI document which provides important brand information like how the logo can be used, what font types and Pantone colours can be used, etc. If you do not have one, now is a good time to make these important decisions. Additionally, if you have any suitable graphics you would like used, these should also be submitted.
  • Budget: Last but not least, the designer needs to know your budget so that they can make the best choices to effectively fulfil your brief and stay within your budget.

Keep this in mind

While deciding on what type of shopping kiosk you want, you need to be aware of any restrictions that a property has in place which could impact you. For example, Kerry Van Deventer, a Retail Designer at Scan Retail Johannesburg’s office, says, “Most malls have a height restriction of 1.5m, so as not to block the signage and view of the stores around it.”

Other restrictions can be quite specific to a location. Charlton Liebenberg, an AE at Scan Retail Cape Town, highlights this when he points out; “Some malls want a certain look and feel to their kiosks. Tyger Valley Centre is a good point in case – they want a floor on all of their kiosks.”

Once you have advised the Scan Retail team on which location you are looking at, they will be able to advise you on any restrictions that may apply.

Design tips

Kerry shares her top design tips for a retail kiosk:

  • Good lighting: I always recommend good lighting on the display. This can have a huge influence on how good your product looks, so is easily one of the most important things about your retail kiosk.
  • High-quality graphics: Good images are also an easy way to elevate the look and feel of your brand, and give a better impression of the quality of your products or services.
  • Invest in good finishes: Retail kiosks take a lot of strain in shopping centres, because of the high volumes of traffic passing by. Therefore I always recommend you opt for high-quality material finishes. Naturally, your budget will play a role in this choice, but keep in mind that good finishes mean you won’t need to worry about touch-ups and fixes for a long time.

What’s included with every mall kiosk

Every one of Scan Retail’s shopping kiosks come standard with a number of features, adds Melfred. These include:

  • LED lighting: This is a big perk, as LEDs have a low energy requirement and will save you money on your monthly running costs.
  • Distribution Board (DB): Each till the point is equipped with a DB.
  • Toughened glass: the Only 12mm toughened glass is used in the display cases, for improved security.
  • Modular design: This ensures that you can easily and cost-effectively add-on units as your sales grow and you need more space.

Budgeting for your kiosk

You are probably wondering what you can expect to pay in order to purchase your own mall kiosk. This question is about as easy to answer as “How long is a piece of string?” But, very roughly speaking, a retail kiosk can cost anything from R45 000 to R300 000 depending on its size, finishes and how many added features it has.

To help ease this financial pressure, Scan Retail offers payment plans. These require a 60% deposit to secure your purchase, followed by monthly payments which are calculated based on your profile.

Budgeting for your other costs

Of course, you also need to take into account the other costs of your new business, one of the biggest of which will be your rental fees. We strongly recommend you also read our previous blog on Retailer’s Guide to Mall Kiosks Business in South Africa for more advice on how to successfully launch your retail business using a shopping kiosk. It includes a number of other important considerations you need to keep in mind when setting up your new retail business.

And remember – you can always contact us if you have any questions or need more information. We’re always happy to help!