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August 12th, 2009Malls see surge in kiosk interest

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by Eugene Scott

Kiosks and carts are nothing new at traditional malls, but Phoenix malls are seeing increased interest in them.

The kiosks offer business owners trying out a new product or concept a shorter commitment than they would have to take if they rented a storefront, said Michael Anderson, Westcor’s senior manager for specialty leasing.

“It’s a great opportunity to test a product and see if a concept even works,” he said.

Officials at Westcor believe some businesses are going the kiosk and cart route because it gives owners more contact with potential shoppers.

Due to the economy, many mall retailers have reported a decrease in business. If shoppers don’t come to them, some are deciding to go to the shoppers.

“When you send a mailer, you’re not sure they are getting it or maybe they’re throwing it away,” Anderson said. “In the mall, you have that customer interaction right there.”

Not only do retailers have closer contact with shoppers, their new approach is more affordable. With fewer overhead costs, the kiosks and carts are less expensive than occupying a store.

“It’s not as large as a (traditional) store and you don’t use as much electricity so there are some different costs that are a little more reasonable,” Anderson said. “But it depends on the mall and the location and what’s available.”

Officials have said they’ve noticed that kiosks and carts are an attractive option for budding entrepreneurs not interested in the commitment that comes with a regular store.

“We are seeing an increased interest from people trying to find different avenues of making an income and trying a business they have thought about now that they are out of a job,” Anderson said.

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