Kiosks Aim Higher

While many kiosk and cart vendors succeed by carrying only affordable items that consumers will buy on impulse on the spot, others focus on lines of products that start at about the $10 retail range and reach to higher price points.

Conventional wisdom has long favored the former approach. However, here are two companies with very diverse product lines that have seen dramatic growth through kiosk and cart vendor relationships. Their mix of products includes top sellers that carry $200 and even $300 plus price tags.

The products themselves are high quality. They bring something unique to popular, high demand product categories. In addition, both suppliers surround their kiosk and cart vendors with merchandising aids and other support materials that help draw in and satisfy consumers. And each supplier tailors programs to meet individual vendors’ needs in particular markets, and areas of the country.

World Trading 23 in San Fernando, CA, offers a broad mix of quality remote control vehicles. Amika, based in Brooklyn, has developed three distinct product lines related to hair care. They are styling tools, hair extensions and natural hair care products. Vendors can carry products in one, two or all of the categories, and they can build a clientele with one, then add the others as their reputation increases and their customer base grows. Neither company prohibits vendors from combining their products with ones from other suppliers.

Both, however, prefer to have only their products in a kiosk or cart, and claim that experience shows this benefits the vendor through more and higher total ticket sales.

“Demonstration is what grabs attention and sells product,” says Ben Ibarra, VP of World Trading 23. Keeping the company’s RC helicopters, UFOs and other vehicles in motion calls for a vendor’s attention, and when other products are in the kiosk, the vendor and potential customers are less focused. “Our kiosk vendors do best when just our products are in the kiosk,” adds Vita Raykhman, creative director of Amika. “Vendors who carry just our products can be more knowledgeable about them, and get more engaged with the customer,” she reasons.

Demonstration is also important to sales for Amika. “We provide a complete training program,” Raykhman says. “It’s optional to vendors, but most do participate, and those who do have more and better sales.” Both Amika and World Trading 23 also provide DVDs to kiosk and cart vendors free of charge. Playing these on a loop on LED screens helps attract attention and engage shoppers, they contend. Among the several appealing aspects of the Amika products is their mission of empowering women to achieve professional salon results on their own. Every woman knows this represents a financial savings. It also saves time and adds convenience.

The least expensive category of products is hair care, which Raykhman says includes 15 different products. “All contain natural ingredients and none is animal tested,” she notes. Chief among them are Olive Oil Shampoo and Olive Oil Conditioner, both of which retail for $19. There are also conditioners, including an Organic Hair Mask and Argan Hair Serum, made of Argan tree nuts grown in Morocco, each with a retail tag of $85. There is also a 2 in 1 Spray for $35 that has natural holding agents that are not diminished with the use of styling products.

A second Amika product category contains electric appliances, such as stylers, curlers, and an ionic fan for drying hair. Raykhman declined to disclose wholesale pricing, but says, “Our individual styling tools typically retail in the range of $150 to $250, and sets range from $200 to $300.” The Ceramic stylers, offered in fashion colors and prints and sold in matching boxes, are eyecatchers in their own right. There are cheetah, giraffe, zebra and jaguar prints, and solid color units in pink, purple, black, gold and silver. From a technical standpoint, they contain 100 percent ceramic plates that the company says preserve moisture in the hair shaft and protect hair cuticles from damage. The process locks in hair color, leaving hair without frizz, static free and shiny. The Tourmaline hair curlers use a tourmaline barrel fused with ceramic to emit negative ions, and far infrared heat to provide fast styling without damage. These also come in fashion colors with eye appeal. Sets include a styler; a curler; an ionic fan, which also provides negative ions and far infrared heat to style quickly without damage and results in a healthy shine; and a diffuser that attaches to the fan to enlarge the drying surface, lift hair and reach roots. Sets come in matching fashion colors.

The final category of Amika products is the company’s crowning glory, literally: hair extensions, offered four ways. At the top of the line is a seven piece set of human hair extensions with a suggested retail of up to $450. The human hair can be styled along with, and exactly like a woman’s own hair, to which the extensions are attached. A similar size set of synthetic hair extensions cuts more than half from that retail price. “It mimics the quality of human hair, lengthens existing hair and allows styling options at a more affordable price,” Raykhman explains. A package of 16 clips of natural highlights, which are of synthetic hair, retails in the $150 range. They allow the addition of contrast color to natural hair. Fierce Highlights, which contains two clips each of blue, red, pink and purple synthetic hair, retails for about $110. “This offers something different for nightlife,” she says. “Some people use a few clips for subtle color, and others go all out,” she adds.

“When the Amika products are demonstrated, their benefits speak for themselves,” says Raykhman. “The results are apparent, so it’s easy to close a sale and to keep people coming back for more.” Amika also provides a full kit of marketing materials, including brochures, postcards and training videos. “We customize every aspect of the program to individual kiosk and cart vendors’ needs,” she emphases.

The tailoring of programs extends to product selection, cart and kiosk layouts, training, and merchandising and marketing supplies. “The ideal layout is very subjective,” Raykhman notes, “depending not only on location and market, but also on the categories carried. Part of our training for vendors is to create a number of display options, and a tool kit to achieve them at the point of sale.” Because programs are so individualized, she says it’s difficult to discuss opening orders. However, “in terms of the minimum average investment, usually a first order starts at around $2,000.”

World Trading 23 also tailors a program for each one of its cart and kiosk vendors, Ibarra says. “Trends in demand for RC vehicles differ by state, by geography, by market, by whether they are retailed indoors or outdoors, by pricepoint, and by whether they can be demonstrated live or not,” he points out. While his company has dozens of different units, Ibarra suggests vendors carry just 10 to 15 different models, “at most. Beyond that, consumers have a hard time making a decision,” he reasons. “Vendors don’t need a big inventory. We keep track of what’s selling best and where, and guide the vendors in their selection.”

At the least expensive end of the line is a brand new Mini Buggy, which Ibarra says, “has shocks and headlights, and a user can drive four at the same time.” These wholesale for $10, in a case of a dozen units. The suggested retail price ranges from $25 to $29. Intelli Heli, which was new last year, “is still hot,” he says and anticipates it will be in high demand for Christmas. “It’s very durable, full function and can do a variety of stunts.” The wholesale is $18, and the suggested retail is $35 to $45. The Intelli UFO is equally popular, but less expensive, making it an ideal impulse item. It comes in a case of 12 and has a wholesale cost of $11 a unit. The suggested retail price is $20 to $25. These and all other items from World Trading 23 items come individually packaged, and the package has a summary of all of the vehicle’s possible tricks and maneuvers.

At the other end of the price spectrum is a Red Crowned Crane 4CH electric RC seaplane, offered four units to a case, at a wholesale cost of $145 each. This company’s RC vehicles generally retail at double the wholesale. At the higher pricepoints, however, vendors have the option of retailing them for less, and still make a hefty profit. The higher price units tend to sell to collectors. This is a market that enjoys engaging in conversation with the vendor about new products, and are prime prospects for repeat business and even special orders.
Both Ibarra and Raykhman are anticipating a good holiday sales season. RC vehicles remain a hot category for children of all ages, including older collectors. Getting professional hair care results without a trip to the salon is a benefit any woman can warm up to. In addition, with Amika products, she can change her style for special Holiday occasions, again, without a trip to the salon and the added cost that adds to the overall holiday bill.

The following were interviewed for this article:

Vita Raykhman, creative director
300 Meserole Street
Brooklyn, NY 11206
Tel.: 718-599-1375
Fax: 718-599-2282

Ben Ibarra, VP
World Trading 23
525 Park Avenue
San Fernando, CA 91340
Tel.: 818-675-9001
Fax: 818-675-9002