The kiosk as a type of business has gained several polar reactions over the years. Some regard it as the avenue for small retailers who lack the needed experience to start a successful business, and still others believe it to be the door leading to better and bigger business opportunities. Indeed, the kiosk business has its own pros and cons, and both equally deserve to see the light of day. But in this post, we’ll only tackle the reasons why some entrepreneurs choose to set off their own kiosk business.
- It’s relatively cheap to start.
Kiosks are specifically designed for budding entrepreneurs who don’t have gazillions in their pockets to throw for starting a big business. The expenses of setting up a small kiosk are relatively smaller than, say, building a big-box store right out. Preliminary expenses are minimal, and the money put for advertising is usually not that big. Plus training employees is not a hassle since kiosks can be handled by at least one person, or four at the most.
Take Paul Graham’s words for it. He said, “I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for a startup to be cheap. Most startups fail before they make something people want, and the most common form of failure is running out of money. So being cheap is (almost) interchangeable with iterating rapidly. But it’s more than that. A culture of cheapness keeps companies young in something like the way exercise keeps people young.” Paul Graham is the co-founder of ViaWeb, the first SaaS company that would later become Yahoo Store.
- It costs less to maintain.
That’s right. Not only is a kiosk cheaper to start — it’s also cheaper to maintain. The operational cost of running a kiosk is logically smaller than that of a regular store because, well, a kiosk is smaller than a regular store. Rent is cheaper, repair and maintenance is cheaper, supply cost is cheaper (and predictable, if you know how to analyze your market). Even labor cost is cheaper since you only have a handful of employees to give paychecks to. It still boils down to how good you are in the game, but a kiosk can really help to cut down the expenses.
- It’s flexible.
There’s always space for you to move freely. Kiosks don’t lock you in for long periods of time. Usually, license agreements for this type of business are renewed monthly or yearly, depending on the situation. This allows entrepreneurs to set up their business for a month to test the waters, and if things don’t go well, they could try other strategies like shifting to other products or even changing their location. Bruce Stockberger, owner of Stockberger Marketing Associates, echoes this idea. He said,”The least expensive option is to rent [a kiosk or a cart] for a short time to see how it goes.”
Kiosks are perfect especially for seasonal stores or those that do business only on special occasions. It’s only practical for a shop that sells Christmas decors to open up a small kiosk in a mall during the holidays. Imagine what a hassle it would be to operate a big-box shop that is closed for the most part of the year. What a waste of space, money, and creative opportunity!
- It increases productivity.
One advantage of running a small kiosk is you can design it in such a way that you get a lot of things done without breaking a sweat. I’m talking about mobility. Some kiosks encourage customer self-service and self-checkout so the people behind the counter can do other productive things.
IBMs Fredrik Carlegren, the offering marketing manager for Store Integration framework, said, “It’s really about optimizing your labor. That’s why it’s so important for retailers not to think of kiosks as one-off, stand-alone solutions but instead in terms of a broader strategy and a broader context.” Running a kiosk gives the opportunity to reallocate staff and deploy employees in more productive ways. And by productive ways, I mean directly interacting with customers to give high-value experience.
- It encourages better customer service.
It’s a fact — kiosks are so small you basically see through them. Everything a business has to offer is on display. You might think that this will divert people from approaching the staff, but no. The intimidation that comes with a big-box store is eliminated in a kiosk. Customers and employees can talk casually without stressing out about the role each one plays. It’s where customers can have a true meaningful interaction with the business.
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