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What to Really Look For When Evaluating
Potential Mall Cart or Kiosk Sales

Dear Friend,

This time of year folks are starting to look for cart and kiosk products to sell in the upcoming holiday season.

One of the key factors in evaluating whether to choose a particular product or concept for your cart or kiosk is... how much you can sell with that particular product or concept.

'How well do your carts do?' 'How much are your carts selling?' are questions to ask of a prospective product supplier.

Some suppliers will give you a straight answer of the sales potential... 'Distributors who follow our system sold between $60K and $120K during the last holiday season.'

This is helpful information.  You are looking for actual sales data.

Some suppliers simply have no idea how well their carts do. You want to be aware when this is happening so you can probe for further data.

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I had a conversation with a new product supplier a couple of weeks ago.

'How well are your carts doing?', I asked.

'Our distributors ordered between $15K and $20K worth of product.'

Note that his answer was not at all about the sales of their carts, but about how much his distributors ordered.

That's actually a pretty common answer from suppliers when asked about how well their carts do. Instead of telling you what the retail sales are at one of their carts, they tell how much their distributors order.

'They order between $10K and $15K....'
'Ten to twenty cases per month...'
'1000 to 1500 pieces per month....'

What's key to note that how much a distributor orders often has no bearing on how much they are actually selling at their cart. And it's not very helpful information when evaluating that product or concept.

There can be all kinds of reasons why a distributor orders product. A distributor might order product to sell at weekend shows, to sell online, to bulk up so they don't have to order next month... and on and on...

Just because a distributor is orders product, doesn't mean they are selling it at their cart.

Which means it can be misleading to evaluate how well a cart can do based upon how much a distributor orders.  You want accurate sales data so you can properly evaluate an opportunity.

When I followed-up with this supplier and asked how much his cart operators were actually selling... he responded with a number that seemed much too LOW for the amount of product ordered. 

I could tell he was just extrapolating how much his distributors sold based upon how much they ordered.

The essence of the response was, 'This is how much they ordered. If they sold it all, this is what their sales would be.'

However, he made a mistake in his figuring. The wholesale cost of the product was 35% of retail. But he'd figured the sales as if the wholesale cost of goods sold was 65%!

When I pointed this out, he finally admitted he didn't really know the how much his retailers were selling. Many suppliers don't know. To know how much you can make with a concept, you have to find out how much you can sell with that concept.

If a supplier tells you how much their distributor's are ordering when you ask how well their carts are doing...

... 'They order between $10K and $15K....'

...  a simple way to find out actual sales numbers, is to ask for references for actual cart retailers.  Then speak with the retailers. The retailers will be able to give you actual sales numbers..

Accurate sales numbers provide you an honest basis for evaluating whether to go forward with a particular product or concept!


Brady Flower


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