Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Shack It To Me

Poor Radio Shack.  They just can't get it together.  Also, why the hell do they have more than 5000 stores?  That is a ton of batteries.

Their most recent earnings call notes that even though this is their 8th consecutive quarter of huge losses, they still have a plan to turn things around.  Really?  REALLY?  They must be sitting on a mountain of cash because I would have expected massive store closings before now.  Even though they are closing 1100 stores, I expect more closings after that and likely an eventual move to online sales only or just closing up entirely.  Of course, this is assuming that they are going to stick with the same product focuses.

Things I think Radio Shack should also do in order to bring customers back:

  • Stop "Radio Shacking" people when they just want to buy batteries.  Even if you haven't done this in years, most people still remember it.  Why do you need my name, address, and phone number just for batteries?  Oh, for the catalog?  No thanks.
  • Promote hard to find gadgets and accessories.  Look at Cyber Guys online.  This is a perfect example.  They specialize in the hard to find but nice to have gadgets and accessories.  If my local Radio Shack carried those kinds of items, I would go there rather than order online.  EVEN if the price in the store was slightly higher.
  • If you're selling parts for projects, sell all the parts that make sense.  For example, don't have a store selling resistors without also selling good soldering irons.  Don't sell car stereo do-it-yourself stuff but then sell inadequate spools of wire at the wrong gauge.
  • Take the LEGO approach to restoring business.  You now have a generation of potential Radio Shack shoppers who were kids in the 80s and 90s.  What about the occassional limited time reintroduction of a classic Radio Shack product.  A stereo with the Realistic brand on it, for example?  Things we remember seeing in the store and wouldn't mind seeing again just to remind us of back then.  We might even buy it.
  • DON'T tell me to go to another store if you are out of stock of some item.  Offer to sell it to me in the store from your web site, but do something like offering me a coupon to come back or waiving shipping.  I am absolutely shocked when I have gone in to Radio Shack, asked for a item, told it's not in stock (or worse, they don't know what I'm asking about) and then suggested another store to go to.
  • Probably a lot of other things.
I can tell you this.  I am uninterested in a Radio Shack that is just a big cell phone store.  We already have those and no one likes going to them.

My kids will never know a retail world with CompUSA, Circuit City, Incredible Universe, Phar-Mor, American Fare, Revco, Zayre, Richway, Montgomery Ward, Service Merchandise, Computer City, Eckerd, Egghead Software, and Lechmere.  I don't want to add another company to that list.

If Sears can still do it, I think Radio Shack can.

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