What Is a Kiosk?

Traditionally, a kiosk used to be an earthy wooden structure open on all sides, usually located at a location where goods could be purchased. In modern times, kiosks are often freestanding structures, resembling stores or kiosks. kiosks, like mini-stores, display merchandise for sale in addition to information. However, kiosks differ from mini-stores because they are often smaller, usually no more than several feet wide, with limited sales space. They can be found in public areas such as post offices, hospitals, train stations, bus terminals, airports, and even shopping malls. A kiosk is a standalone stand, usually movable, offering its owner the opportunity to offer its merchandise for sale.


Kiosk vendors are usually small shops that offer merchandise for sale through kiosks, or they may also be large department stores with kiosks displaying apparel, books, or movie titles. A kiosk stand is usually found in retail spaces such as department stores or supercenters, though they can be found in government buildings and parks, as well. Some kiosks are attached to existing buildings, while others are independent buildings that have been erected for this purpose. It is not uncommon to find kiosks attached to apartment buildings, condos, and townhouses. Kiosk vendors can offer a variety of products, including electronics, clothing, groceries, movie tickets, gift cards, newspapers, movies, snacks, sports, and many more.

In some cases, kiosks provide multiple services. For example, a movie kiosk might offer movie tickets, popcorn, snacks, and even a video rental option. Self-pay options are also available for purchases in a kiosk.

Kiosk kiosks provide an excellent method for displaying products and services to customers in high-traffic areas. Kiosks are especially useful in areas where impulse buying is common or in which customers spend a great deal of time. Kiosks are also good for events, such as music festivals, trade shows, and other exhibits and presentations. A well-designed kiosk can draw in curious visitors and entice them to spend time learning about a product or participating in a service.

Kiosks can also increase customer base. Kiosks offer easy access to the products and services offered by a business. A kiosk in a retail space can draw attention to a store, especially when there are line-ups of shoppers waiting in line. Self-service kiosks are very popular at department stores, malls, and tourist attractions. These types of kiosks provide the customer with information about the products or services and encourage the shopper to make a purchase.

In malls and other similar destinations, mall kiosks are used to attract customers. These features include an electronic point of sale system, a credit-card terminal, video displays, and additional services such as gift cards. The mall has a goal to draw as many people as possible to its stores. This is particularly important in areas where a large percentage of the population is young and dynamic, such as cities and college towns. Such areas have a lot of disposable income that could be harnessed to boost mall sales.

A common place to see a kiosk is at airport terminals. In airports these features often include an electronic check-in kiosk, an X-Ray machine, and a self-service check-out kiosk. These kiosks are designed to speed up the check-in process by eliminating the need for employees to carry cash or a traveler’s check to facilitate check out. A self-service kiosk allows a traveler to make a selection from a menu, enter their travel details, and pay with a plastic card. Some kiosks allow passengers to pay with a debit or credit card while others use a payment gateway, such as PayPal.

Although technology has made great strides towards simplifying businesses, it is up to the mall owners to set the standard for the type of kiosk they want and to set their own standards for check-ins and checkout processes. Even though kiosk technology has come a long way, the kiosk definition is something that must be worked on carefully by the mall owner and his staff. Most businesses decide to use photo kiosks at their stores because they are easy to use and the pictures are usually clear and can be of any size. However, if the kiosk definition includes providing an automated means for a customer to pay, then the process should include measures to ensure that the customer does not fall victim to fraud or miss paying anything.