Whether a kiosk operator carries a single product category or many, change is essential to maintaining sales momentum, according to suppliers. That's why Designer Fragrances Inc. encourages its vendors to take advantage of the company's 100 percent exchange policy. "Displays and merchandise must always be fresh and timely," reasons Bonita Lawrence, sales and marketing director.
The company, based in Flint, MI and founded by Arnold Eisman, offers a complete turnkey service for kiosk and cart vendors. While the service contains all product and merchandising materials to succeed from the start, Lawrence emphasizes the need to take advantage of every holiday and every season, by refreshing the mix.
Rather than discounting, she asks vendors to return product that has not sold through in one promotional time period, and exchange it for the next promotion.
"This is especially important for holidays, including the prime spring seasons for Easter, Mother's Day, graduation gifts and Father's Day sales," she says.
In addition, Designer Fragrances helps kiosk operators select a product mix that is geared to their individual locations and customer demographics. That includes advice on price points. The suppliers' product lines cover the gamut of the fragrance market, from designer original fragrances to its own, "our version of," lines that replicate designer originals, along with units ranging from the top to the lower ends of the fragrance market.
Its kiosk offerings go well beyond product to include a slew of marketing materials to draw traffic and create excitement. Among the materials are a promotion and training video, tester bottles of fragrances, and marketing flyers that not only promote the products, but also promote the vendor.
"We train vendors about how to create a seller friendly environment," Lawrence says. Among its most highly successful marketing tools are, "fragrance strips." These are blanks that carry the Designer Fragrances logo, and can be imprinted with the vendor's name and location on the back side. The kiosk operator can apply a touch of a fragrance that a prospective customer likes. "Spray onto the strip, write the name of the fragrance and price on the strip, and give it to the customer as a take away," she suggests. To ensure the prospect will return, she says the vendor can also offer a discount to the returning customer who buys the product within a specified time frame; or gives it to a loved one to return and buy.
While Designer Fragrances will accommodate orders of as little as a case of 48 assorted units, it also offers a variety of packages to get a beginning vendor started. "We will work with every budget," Lawrence says, but adds that an investment of approximately $2,500 offers a good opportunity for success.
The company's Super Saver package wholesales for $5,000, and Lawrence says, "It should bring a retail return of at least $33,000." This package contains 1,250 fragrance units at 10 percent less than the usual wholesale price. It also includes tester bottles of 65 different scents, and the company's full complement of promotional materials. These include signs custom printed with the vendor's name along with the previously mentioned materials. Lawrence will also interview the operator and create a prototypical set up for the kiosk and provide a sign, carrying the operator's name, phone number and mall location, which the operator can replicate in whatever size he or she wants.
Changing the merchandise mix for holidays is one way to keep kiosks fresh and new each time customers pass by. Adding a supplemental product is another.
Ornament Central, a supplier of personalized ornaments, has a unique way of building seasonal excitement and sales during the all important November/December months. It provides more than 150 different designs of hand made ornaments, based on themes, along with instructions on how to personalize them by adding a name or saying, right on the spot, at the kiosk.
This on the spot activity draws crowds and brings business, according to Jim Casey, owner of the company, based in Pepperell, MA. The ornaments are of a molded resin, and the overwhelming majority are character figures, including sports figures, a bride and groom, professions, children and, of course, Christmas characters.
"We add 40 new designs each year," Casey says, "and are currently adding ones with African American skin color." He and his wife, Christine, design the ornaments, and have been doing so for the past 23 years. This is their fifth year of wholesaling personalized ornaments, and it follows 10 years in which they operated their own personalized ornament kiosks. The experience gives them a wealth of knowledge in how to maximize sales, and they gladly share their experiences with customers.
Casey says it takes approximately $3,000 to get set up for the holiday season. That provides about 1,000 ornaments, along with special pens for personalizing them, and instructions on how to perform the easy process. The company also provides a disc showing samples of personalized ornaments. It will replenish stock quickly and refill orders within 24 hours, so vendors don't miss sales on top selling figurines.
While profits vary, depending on the location of a kiosk, Casey says most vendors get gross sales of between $40,000 and as much as $200,000 or more over the holiday season. An ideal location, he says, is in a mall with three to four good anchor stores with good traffic.
For kiosk operators that want easy add on sales. Galan Enterprises offers a choice of about 32 different displayers for its collections of about 1,000 different designs of nostalgic metal signs. "We have units that take as little as two feet square, all the way up to a full kiosk," says Bob Galan, owner.
Gift items and collectibles are among the other types of items the sign program complements, he says. Vendors can also select signs with themes that complement other products they sell, such as automotive products, home décor and entertainment related items, including electronics for media rooms.
"Media rooms have helped propel demand for signs," he says, and his company offers signs from old time popcorn stands to Hollywood favorites and music masters. Other top sellers include Harley Davidson signs, and classic car brands.
The signs typically retail for between $9.95 and $15.95 a unit, which adds to their impulse appeal. For kiosk vendors, however, the greatest profits may come from their ability to draw traffic and keep shoppers engaged and entertained at the kiosk.
All three of these suppliers agree that the more a kiosk vendor can stop shoppers, slow them down and engage them, the better business will be. That means never allowing the kiosk or cart presentation to stagnate.
The following people at these companies were interviewed for this article:
Bonita Lawrence, sales and marketing director
2925 Corunna Road
Flint. MI 48503
Toll free: 800-726-5663
Bob Galan, owner
2740 West Windrose Drive
Phoenix, AZ 85029
Toll free: 800-735-7757
Jim Casey, owner
41-6 Loman Park Drive
Pepperell, MA 01463
Toll free: 888-662-8831
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