How to Start a Mall Kiosk Business


Before you plan a small retail business, you may want to find out how to start a mall kiosk business. Mall kiosks are small stations usually placed in the center aisles of indoor malls. In warm, dry climates they can also be found in outdoor malls. Mall kiosks are not suitable for all types of merchandise, but they lend themselves to impulse buying of small novelty items, jewelry, and accessories. They also are used for seasonal merchandise, sometimes as promotional stations for larger retailers such as Sees Candies and Hickory Farms.

How to Start a Mall Kiosk Business

Cost of a Mall Kiosk Business

According to, the initial cost of acquiring a kiosk can be fairly low; however, most malls require long-term leases that can commit you to upwards of $100,000 over the life of the lease. Note that some malls require a contract that promises them a percentage of your sales in addition to the cost of the lease. The cost of the merchandise you sell will vary with the items you select for your kiosk.

Even with a small business such as a mall kiosk, this is a major investment, and you will want to develop a business plan based on:

  • Research into the products you want to sell
  • Kiosk availability and costs in the malls in your area
  • Costs associated with leasing space in a mall
  • Cost of merchandise projected over the length of the kiosk lease
  • Projected income over the length of the kiosk lease


You can buy or lease a kiosk. Used kiosks may be available at considerable savings, but be sure a used kiosk is free of problems. Leasing is less expensive short-term or for seasonal use, but you may save money or the long run if you buy a kiosk to fulfill a long-term contract with a mall. Mall kiosks can be purchased new from the following vendors, among many others:

Kinds of Merchandise

Kiosks attract attention from people strolling and window shopping in a mall. If your kiosk features interesting merchandise displayed well, people will stop to look at it. The merchandise should consist of impulse buy items that meet a seasonal requirement, such as small gift items for Christmas or chocolate candy for Valentine's Day. Because of the small size of a kiosk, items for sale should be relatively small. Also, items should be relatively inexpensive, because people will not invest in a major purchase from a kiosk merchandiser. Buyer perception is that kiosk proprietors may not be there for the long haul, so they are more cautious about buying items that may need repair or returns. Some items you might consider for a mall kiosk include:

  • Jewelry - kiosks lend themselves to display of small jewelry items. Kiosks are open and may be subject to shoplifting, so more costly jewelry items need to be kept in locked cases. You may wish to focus on costume jewelry, silver, and semiprecious stones rather than gold and precious gems for a mall kiosk store.
  • Women's accessories - purses, belts, and scarves
  • Toys - include small items that will be purchased by parents when their children see them in the mall.
  • Food - chocolate, seasonal gift baskets with dried fruit, cheese, sausage, candy, cookies and other food items with a relatively long shelf life make good choices for a kiosk.
  • Holiday decorations - seasonal candles, door hangers, ornaments, and table centerpieces are often bought on impulse.
  • Specialty items - entertaining items such as puzzles, games, and other items that cannot be found in local retail stores
  • Makeup and grooming aids - a line of inexpensive to moderately priced makeup. Makeup is particularly attractive to teens.


Ideally, a kiosk should be staffed by at least two people so more than one person can be helped at a time. With two people you also have coverage for lunches and bathroom breaks. With only one person, you will need a way to secure the merchandise when the staffer needs to be away from the kiosk for a few minutes.

Whatever you decide after you learn how to start a mall kiosk business, be sure you have a business plan so that over time you are confident that your business will be profitable.

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