Mobile kiosks drive retail sales

 
April 17, 2011 | by Cherryh A. Butler

Why try to attract customers to your store, when you can go to them? That's the question Annette Antoine Nolan, founder and CEO of CartsBlanche LLC, has posed to potential retailers with her new kiosk-based business model, VendaCarts.

The mobile automated trailers are equipped with up to nine built-in kiosks and a combination of service units, including ATMs, digital signage boards, microwaves and condiment stands.

"VendaCarts combines the fast-turn, high volume world of vending with mobile real estate, allowing you to capitalize on new markets and new customers," said Nolan, who in 1995 launched CartsBlanche, a provider of solutions for mobile merchandising, marketing and sales. "By combining vending machines with towable, self-contained trailers, you can now go where the masses are."

Nolan's trailers can house several automated kiosks, including food and beverage machines, arcade games, ATMs, change maker machines that sell a plethora of products, such as stamps, clothes, toys and electronics. She said the kiosk design allows one person to run daily business activities, while providing up to 37 distinct profit centers on board each unit.

Any outdoor event, including rodeos, concerts, race tracks, theaters, fairs, etc., are hotspots for retailers operating VendCarts, Nolan said, but they can really go anywhere.

"I tell my customers that by locating VendaCarts in the outdoor event areas they are able to raise prices up to three times what is normally charged in vending machines because, as we all know, everything costs more at events," Nolan said.

The cost

Although Nolan said there are many variables that go into pricing, systems range in cost from $58,000 for a 20-foot unit with four to five kiosks to $72,000 for a larger system with up to eight or nine units. However, those prices don't include generators or digital signage, which Nolan can also add. Another option is a turnkey-business solution that ranges in cost from $100,000 to $140,000.

A standard concession trailer takes three times the employees needed to run a VendaCart, said Nolan, who pointed out that the 27-foot model can house up to nine kiosk vending machines, nine digital signs, six exterior billboards, plus nine advertising areas on the actual kiosks and four ATMs.

"Compare all this to a concession trailer that sells only food and beverage products through two to four windows," she said. "The self-serve nature combined with the cashless systems that VendaCarts offers is a totally new look and operation for the outdoor marketplace. VendaCarts elevates vending, concession and catering to a whole new level of marketing and sales."

Becoming a retailer

Because there are literally thousands of locations in which VendaCarts could roll in and a variety of custom features, Nolan said she is happy to work with potential retailers to help them decide which size of trailer and what types of kiosks would work best for them.

Although outdoor events are the most popular places for the carts, other well-suited locations include building and construction sites, industrial parks and military installations and college campuses, Nolan said.

"We are also promoting VendaCarts for disaster relief areas," she said. "The opportunities are endless."

Retailers could also specialize in food and drink service with Nolan's VendaMarts, which are equipped with up to eight built-in refrigerated/frozen vending machines in combination with other kiosks, including ATMs and digital signage. Nolan said all equipment is configured with remote monitoring systems for easier business management in real-time, online. The kiosk system runs on line power and/or generators.

After Nolan and the retailer design the VendaCart, the company requires a 50 percent down-payment before it begins building the machine. Payment is due in full before delivery, but the company offers financing and insurance options, according to its website. It also has a graphic designer that can assist with thematic customization of kiosks, the exterior of the VendaCarts kiosk and marquees where applicable.

Security

VendaCarts close up completely when not in use and come with several security devices, including locks on the side awnings and rear door. Also, the kiosks are bolted down. Other optional devices include security cameras, alarms and anti-towable wheel lock and bars.



Topics: Assisted Selling , ATMs , Customer Experience , Digital Signage , Kiosks / Self-Service , Multifunction Kiosks , Self-Checkout


Cherryh A. Butler / Cherryh Butler has been a reporter for nearly 10 years, writing on a variety of topics ranging from the restaurant industry to business and health and fitness news. Before joining FastCasual.com as editor, she oversaw KioskMarketplace.com and PizzaMarketplace.com and contributed to RetailCustomerExperience.com. She's also written for several daily newspapers, magazines and websites, including The Kansas City Star and American Fitness magazine.
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