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Jan 1, 2008
No one is more aware of this than Shane Zacher, one of three family members who head Next Innovations Ltd. in Walker, MN, which manufactures a line of unique products within its EyCatcher series. The Zachers deleted the final e in Eye from the name of their product line, but their products and their displays show they know how to catch the eye.
All of the products are variations on a theme: laser cut wind ornaments of 18 gauge steel, with a highly polished finish that reflects light as they spin. After six years of selling to transient vendors, Shane Zacher has acquired a keen sense of which of the company's eight product lines works best in kiosks and carts, and the merchandising tactics that make them successful.
"Kiosk and cart vendors need a healthy margin and the ability to order in limited quantities and replenish quickly," he says. For that reason, the company's SunSations economy line of wind spinners has proven best for this kind of merchant.
SunSations encompass approximately 15 different designs in two sizes. The smaller units, which are between five and six inches, wholesale for as little as $4.50. And while the suggested retail price is $14.95, Zacher says, "Many kiosk vendors get more and do well selling them for $20 to $25 each."
The larger SunSations are between 11 and 12 inches and wholesale for as little as $8.75, with retail pricing between $30 and $40. "The line provides great flexibility in pricing," Zacher says.
All are offered in prepacks of five units of one style in one color, which enables Next Innovations to keep its prices low, Zacher explains, while not overloading the vendor with inventory. Among the designs are hummingbirds, suns, butterflies, frogs, swans, flowers, the zodiac and religious icons. Each is perfectly silhouetted in the center and surrounded by waves of colored metal that flashes in the wind. They are available in all the colors of the rainbow.
"You don't want more than ten designs in a kiosk or cart," Zacher advises. "While you need to offer customers some clear choices, too many options delay the buying decision," he reasons. "Limiting orders to ten designs also makes ordering easy for the vendor," he points out.
Next Innovations maintains a large inventory and fulfills orders within 48 hours. Because it is the manufacturer, it can adjust inventories to meet demand. And because it has long experience in kiosk sales nationwide, company principals can guide kiosk vendors to the best selling designs in different parts of the country.
The company can provide custom SunSations designs, "on minimum orders of under 100 pieces," Zacher says. This allows a vendor to carry SunSations featuring a local team's mascot, and the ability to switch designs as seasons change from one sport to another.
In addition, the vendor can become a resource of exclusive designs for local fundraisers, clubs, events and celebrations. "We can provide cactus designs for an Arizona vendor, and a palm tree for Florida," he says. "This makes the kiosk vendor an exclusive source."
Many of Next Innovations' kiosk vendor customers add Micro MinEys to the mix. These are tiny steel wind spinners that people pick up to put in their cars, or hang from ceiling fans. They wholesale for $2.50 and retail for a suggested $9.99, making them an easy impulse or add on to a larger SunSations sale. "We suggest vendors hang these by the cash register, so customers see them while sales transactions are taking place," Zacher says.
Because motion is critical to maximizing sales of SunSations and all of Next Innovations' EyCatchers, the company wholesales motors for $10. Zacher recommends that a vendor utilize at least five motors, so customers can see the products in action.
The motors rotate at 16 revolutions a minute, guaranteeing that the product will spin, no matter what environment it's in. The motor runs on a battery or electric power.
Next Innovation also provides a series of motorized displayers that are as meticulously crafted of cut steel as its SunSations and other EyCatchers. They have lighting and movement that shows the designs at their best. There are carousel, canopy and umbrella designs, units for the wall and a counter, as well as freestanding displayers.
Among the other wind spinner variables from Next Innovations are TruImage, EyTwisters, Glazing Ball, MinEys, Wind Diva and EyCatcher. Zacher says some of his company's customers try these other, more expensive lines in their kiosks or carts and do well with them on a selected basis, with SunSations at the core.
"We have kiosk vendors that have opened a second kiosk devoted to selections of our other products," Zacher says. "While it's nice if a kiosk or cart vendor carries only our product, it's not a requirement," he says.
SunSations do well in kiosks that carry other garden and outdoor accessories. While Next Innovations' kiosk vendors have great Christmas holiday sales, he says spring through summer are their best selling seasons. "We're impulse items," he notes. "And when gardening and outdoor living and entertaining are at their peak, we do best."
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Topic: Kiosk Korner
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