Radio Shack, Over and Out

radio shackIt looks like it’s curtains for a retailer with a long, troubled history…

Radio Shack, whose roots trace back more than 90 years — will go on the auction block. The Fort Worth company, once a haven for ham radios and walkie-talkies, but which never fully embraced the digital age, is facing a live or die moment. USA Today

Maybe it’s a guy thing, or a guy-of-a-certain-age thing, but I have a LOT of memories of Radio Shack. As a kid, it was Heathkit DIY projects (“build your own crystal radio for some reason!”)

Later, as an adult, there was a Radio Shack across from my TV studio in Indiana. We kept that place afloat by constantly replacing the video and audio connectors that would roll underneath furniture. We were too lazy to get down on the floor and find them because, hey, we had a RadioShack across the street (and a corporate account!)

So what are some mistakes that doomed Radio Shack? CBS News addresses this in an article entitled “Five Mistakes that Doomed Radio Shack.”

  • The cell phone kiosk: Really got into cellphone services, but in the 90s, signing up a customer took 45 minutes, tying up the sales staff. (As we know, signing up for a phone only takes 40 minutes today!)
  • Failing to ramp up on e-commerce: One of the last big retailers to offer shopping from their website.
  • Weird mix of inventory: These stores were SMALL. They had tough choices to make, and they often chose poorly.
  • Marketing confusion: You need only to remember that bizarre 80s commercial with Cliff the Mailman and Hulk Hogan from last year’s Super Bowl.
  • Failing to catch onto the Maker movement: Finally, when this hipster/artisan/DIY craze hits, aiming right for Radio Shack’s historic roots, they failed to recognize it.

So, lots of missteps. What’s the future? They are hoping to keep some store open, somehow. I hope they do, mainly because of the JOBS. What do you think? Are you a Radio Shack fan? Me, despite my nostalgia, haven’t been inside one in YEARS. Any thoughts? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!