Maker Shack

Radio Shack has been on the decline for a very long time and now is bankrupt.  The sad thing is that Radio Shack is missed out on a new and upcoming market.  I’m not the brightest and most visionary person out there, so I’m amazed that no one else has really considered this.

I think most people agree that Radio Shack lost its way when it started focusing on cheap consumer electronics because its sales of raw electronic parts was declining.  Then it got into mobile phones, like every other electronic retailer.  And then it lost whatever it was that made it different.

My proposal would be for Radio Shack to return to its roots as a hobbyist store.  Yes, it’s entirely likely that being in that market space means a number of stores will have to close.  But, if you want to be successful, you need to stand out.

The stores should stock all manner of hobbyist, DIY, build/maker gear.  There’s no shortage of it now.  You have Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Makey Makey, LittleBits, and more.  Plus, 3d printers are talked about a lot, but no one really talks about where to buy them.  Have an advertising blitz that establishes Radio Shack as a source of 3d printers and DIY kits and you have brand recognition.  3d printing=Radio Shack.  The old logic was that if you wanted to build something electronic, you go to Radio Shack.  That thought can be brought back.

Of course, you can keep the electronic parts around.  Actually, there needs to be another competitor in the PC parts arena.  Best Buy is everywhere and their prices suck.  Tiger Direct is much better, but has far fewer stores.  In fact, Tiger Direct has exited the retail space.

The next thing that needs to be done is something that I’ve been hearing about with stores like Macy’s.  Turn the retail stores into warehouses and distribution centers.  Ship online orders to customers and replenish nearby stores from other stores.  Stock levels can immediately be determined, so why not?  It will keep your staff busy, too.

There needs to be an easy way for a customer to find something, whether it is in the store, a nearby store, or further away.  Then the customer can choose to go to the other store to buy it, or have it shipped.

And although this isn’t really part of the plan, why aren’t companies, especially tech companies, doing something with youth to promote build/make?  Home Depot has children workshops, why can’t Radio Shack?  Why can’t a representative visit schools and give a talk or presentation involving building and creating your own things?

But, aside from the company now essentially out of business, I recently read an article (and article comments) that indicated Radio Shack had a toxic corporate culture that would not be easily fixed.  So I doubt my idea would work right out of the gate.  There would have to be massive house-cleaning, then the rebuilding of employee trust. 

Comments are closed.