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Locating a 3D Portrait Business in a Mall: Mitigating Risk


When people put together their business plans for setting up a 3D portrait business they will usually decide to either locate in a studio, setup in a mall, or take their full body 3D scanner to events. In this post we are going to focus on setting up in a mall and what you can do to give yourself the highest chance of success.

*Note: Scroll to the bottom of this post for a new section we've added on creating an engaging customer experience.

Locating your 3D portrait business in a busy shopping mall can offer many benefits over leasing space in a less busy part of town. Although you will pay a higher monthly rent at the shopping mall, a mall can offer consistent and established foot traffic. In most cases, the increase in foot traffic will make the higher monthly rent worth it- especially for 3D portrait businesses where success is heavily linked to foot traffic. Even though malls do have their benefits, there are still a few things you need to watch out for:

Pick malls with good foot traffic

This one should seem obvious, but when you’re evaluating a mall you need to make sure it has enough foot traffic to justify the premium in monthly rent you will be paying. A good way to figure this out is to go the mall you’re considering at a few different times during the week and count the number of people you see in stores. If the mall is dead on a Saturday afternoon/evening (typically the busiest time in a shopping mall) then that is probably a bad sign.

Select a location in a mall with good visibility and that is easy to get to

Not all shop locations in a mall are created equally. Even though 2 shop locations are in the same mall, one may produce substantially more revenue for your 3D portrait business than the other. When you’re selecting your spot you want to choose locations that are near busy mall entrances/exits and are on the 1st or 2nd floor of the mall so they are easy to get to. The key is to make sure your location is easily noticed by customers and that it is easy to get to (i.e. people don’t need to go up multiple escalators).

Rely on upselling

One of the most successful sales strategies Twindom customers have utilized has been upselling customers on larger sizes or additional 3D portraits once they’ve purchased a smaller 3D portrait. For example, if you can get a customer to purchase a 3 inch 3D printed figurine for $39, even though you may only make $16 in profit off of that one customer, if you can upsell 1 in 3 customers to paying $79 for a 5 inch 3D printed figurine where your profit is $34 that means an average profit of (⅓ x $16) + (⅓ x $16) + (⅓ x $34) = $22. That’s a 38% profit increase for each customer that came in thinking they were going to purchase a 3 inch 3D printed figurine! Click here to learn more about pricing strategies for 3D portraits.

Don’t overpay rent

Malls will vary widely in the rent they charge shop tenants. In the U.S. it can range from $1,000 to $15,000  per month for a 10 ft x 10 ft kiosk space. From working with customers we’ve found that it usually doesn’t make sense to pay over $6,000 per month for a kiosk space unless it has phenomenal foot traffic or you can charge a premium for each 3D portrait. Ideally you want to target spaces that have $2000 to $5,000 rent.

Below is an additional section we've added since the original publishing of this blog post

Create an engaging customer experience

So you have a good location in a high foot traffic mall, now you want to think about your presentation. The importance of a good customer presentation can't be overstated enough. It is the key ingredient for bringing customers into your mall location. Here is a quick checklist of things we see many of our customers get:

  • Sample 3D printed figurines of their employees/themselves so customers can see examples of the product
  • Prominent signage
  • promo flyers that customers can take with them
  • Props that people can use during their 3D scan


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