People are taking comfort in nostalgia and sentiment, which gives products that capitalize on these themes a winning edge at carts and kiosks. Following are two suppliers that help kiosk vendors promote sentimentality and nostalgia in very different ways:
That's My Ticket, in Medway, MA, allows people to obtain replicas of tickets to such notable events as famous sports games, concerts and shows, and even stow their own favorite tickets in a variety of showcases. Tide-mark, Windsor, CT, offers a selection of approximately 75 different wall hung calendars depicting favorite themes, along with exclusive specialty cards and themed books with high impulse appeal.
Tickets to sporting events are top sellers for That's My Ticket, according to Dean Macchi, the company's founder and president. The company manufactures tickets from Major League Baseball games, the National Hockey League, NASCAR, and licenses from about 200 top college and university teams. "Licenses for tickets from the National Football League and National Basketball Association are in the works," Macchi adds.
The company also makes a variety of products for holding and showcasing these tickets, or a customer's own tickets. There are ticket albums for all the sports, along with albums for concert and theater goers. They wholesale for $4.95. There are also ticket lanyards, which can be hung on MP3 players, and key chains that wholesale in the $5 range, acrylic ticket stands that wholesale for $5, and ticket boxes. The latter feature tickets from games of favorite teams, or of popular concert performers, such as Bruce Springsteen.
The boxes wholesale for $2.50. "We leave room for a good margin," Macchi explains. Also among the favorites are, "Mini Mega Tickets," which replicate historic events, including World Series back to the 1920s. "These are reprints of actual tickets to these games, enlarged 200 percent," says Macchi. These wholesale for $9.95 and are the smaller, more affordable version of the company's Mega Tickets. The latter are created from the same set of historic tickets, but are one foot by three feet, and the ticket is enlarged 500 percent and printed on canvas. These wholesale for $50, and the suggested retail price is $100 to $150.
While Macchi isn't recommending these for quick kiosk sales, he says, "One or two, displaying tickets to an historic event, are perfect for attracting attention to the kiosk." Among the biggest attention getters, "is a Mega Ticket of the opening game in the new Yankee Stadium and of City Field, the new Mets stadium in New York City," he says. Interest in these historic sports openers is not limited to Mets and Yankee fans, he adds. There are regional favorites, however, both for Mega Tickets on display or Mini Mega Tickets for sale. "Every city has a team," he points out, "and very often sports stadiums are also the main venues for popular concerts."
Tickets to games by winners of the Stanley Cup, the World Series and All-Star Games also sell well. "That's My Ticket began with the NFL and NBA, and then evolved into music concerts and theater tickets," he explains. Margins rise for certain regional favorites, such as the 2008 World Series, Macchi notes. "For Phillies fans, units of that Mini Mega Ticket can retail for as much as $30," he points out. He also notes that a winning combination of Mega Tickets, used for display in Philadelphia area markets, would be the 2008 World Series and the 1980 World Series, also won by the Phillies.
Macchi says vendors, "can get a good starting assortment of products for an investment of $250." Kiosk and cart vendors generally pick their own assortment of items and teams and themes. "However, after five years of experience in this business, we have a good idea of what sells best in what markets. A vendor doesn't need to be a sports fan to do well with That's My Ticket, but being a knowledgeable fan helps engage shoppers," he adds. While many suppliers like to have kiosks and carts all to themselves, and used to sell only their products, Macchi is not among them. "Our products are very complementary to other sports related products, such as team T-shirts and caps," he says. "Combining us with other sports items helps the vendor reach a larger market and also obtain bigger ticket sales from the same customer."
Hanging wall calendars from Tide-mark include general and regional themes, says Scott Kaeser, owner. "There is a great diversity of selection." Among the themes are classic Americana such as Norman Rockwell imagery, fantasy, which includes dragons and pirates, flowers, animals and eco friendly themes. The calendars are 11 by 14 inches folded, and, every month they can be flipped to reveal a different full color, fine printed photo. The suggested retail price is $13.95. "The wholesale depends on the quantity of the order," says Kaeser, "but is typically about 60 percent less than retail."
The calendars in the line are seasonal sellers, he acknowledges, with the fourth quarter being best. "But in tourist areas, there really are two good seasons for the calendars," he notes. "They do well in summer and in fall." The additional Tide-mark products, however, sell well year round. Chief among them are exclusive greeting cards. There are 24 different designs of boxed cards. "There are Christmas cards and a large group of everyday cards," Kaeser says. "Typically a box contains 16 cards; four each of four different images, along with 17 envelopes." The suggested retail is $12.95 a box, and the wholesale is generally half of retail.
Letter press cards, designed exclusively for Tide-mark, are provided in packs of six. "The vendor can, and usually does, sell them singly," according to Kaeser. "They were written and designed for us by a very creative poet, writer, designer," he says, "and they are very beautiful, funny, often 'punful,' and always ingenious. They are printed on paper with a deckled edge."
There are currently 50 different designs. In all, they encompass greetings for birthdays, weddings, births, anniversaries, sympathy, friendship and all of the many events people celebrate. "There's a card for people who are interested in books," Kaeser offers as an example, "and there's a snail mail card with a whimsical design of a snail on the cover." The suggested retail for the cards is $2.95, and the wholesale cost is half of that. Tide-mark offers a metal spinner rack, and vendors that buy a loaded spinner do not pay for the display unit. "We can provide a topper for the spinner and we will also create signage for a kiosk and cart vendor," he adds.
Not least, Tide-mark offers a variety of exclusive books, "that have high impulse appeal for particular audiences," he says. Two titles that have widespread appeal are, "A Dog's Guide to Life," and, "The Case for Heaven." The former is authored by a dog named, "Moose," and filled with wisdom. The other is a compilation of near death experiences recounted by people who died briefly and returned to life. "It offers a glimpse into an afterlife," Kaeser says.
Other titles are targeted primarily to different regions or interests. There is, for example, "Lighthouse Companions," which illustrates and discusses New England lighthouses. Another, "Spirit Walker," by the painter, J.D. Challenger, is related to American Indians and sells well in the Southwest. Still another is a Formula One auto racing book. They range in size from about seven inches square to six by nine inches. The suggested retail prices are generally between $9.99 and $12.95, and the wholesale cost is half the retail price.
"We are always available to talk with vendors, learn about their market and guide them to a winning assortment," Kaeser says. The minimum order is $100, and, "we're flexible," he says. "The typical investment ranges between $250 and $500, which provides a substantial amount of inventory to start," he adds.
Kiosks and carts devoted only to Tide-mark products can and do succeed, Kaeser reports, but he has no objection to pairing his company's products with others. "Products that are complementary vary by location," he says. "The card products do best among adult women," he points out, "so they can be successfully paired with a wide range of products that also appeal to them. The racing Ferrari book is targeted to men, and it does well in carts that have other male oriented products, including sports themed merchandise," he adds.
New line additions are constantly being added by both Tide-mark and That's My Ticket, in order to ensure that kiosk and cart vendors always have something new to keep customers engaged and coming back for more. Freshness and exclusivity: that's the ticket to kiosk success.
The following were interviewed for this article:
Dean Macchi, president and founder
That's My Ticket
165 Main Street, Ste. 109
Medway, MA 02053
Scott Kaeser, owner
176 Broad Street
Windsor CT 06095
Toll Free: 800-338-2508
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