I spent five minutes trying to figure out if Slashdot once again misspelled something, i.e. "porno."
Really, thanks OP for your pursuit of the truth here. This is part of the technical excellence that I came to expect of the Slashdot of the days of old. Good job.
Does anyone else remember when IBM would be the one to do something like this?
RadioShack can branch out all it wants, as long as its stores continue to offer the core services (hacker parts, electronics, and knowledgeable staff) front and center.
The sad fact is they have lost that core demographic that would shop there. They have found workable replacements for whatever Radio Shack used to sell them, and even at cheaper prices that the internet can offer.
I have a difficult time seeing how it is not too late. There are a few corporate businesses that struggled in the past, closed stores, and then were able to make a comeback after restructuring and reinventing themselves. But for the vast majority, it just signals the beginning of the end.
If I had a hand in Radio Shack, I'd fire anything that called itself a manager, and get rid of positions in corporate that seem to be merely taking up space. Maybe that's what will happen with all these store closings. Get rid of quite a few district managers.
Somehow Ironic that they will be forced to go through now what they forced countless salesman to do - walking the plank of unemployment.
However, if you notice, every store is focussed on the upsell. It's more rare that I walk into a store and be left alone than it is where I walk into one and they try to upsell me.
It happens online too. Look at Amazon's "ad ons."
Retail store fronts simply are not needed at all for electronics any more. They simply are not going to be able to stay in business with a guy walking in once a week to buy a pack of resistors.
The thing that Radio Shack needed to do like days of old was not necessarily sell parts, but rather innovate. Like what others dealing in electronics have. It's not that Digikey dropped their minimum (though I never thought that was big deal) but that they had every part being made, and then built a robot system that could pull parts faster, more accurately, and cheaper than humans. Something Radio Shack should have spotted, if they weren't more than a bunch of salespersons worried about bagging the next cell phone sale.
It was, and remains to be, beyond them.
People need to be stop being pollyannaish about the old days of electronics coming back, because there is no reason for it to.
Everybody who is the type to buy electronics does so now online. It is impossible for Radio Shack to stay open with a customer walking in once a week to buy a pack of fuses.
This is a story about the transformation of electronics as much as it is Radio Shack mismanagement. Depending on cell phones for short term profit instead of innovation was the death knell for Radio Shack. You can browse old threads about Radio Shack and see that this is no surprise. I think it also marks the path that others will take when they focus entirely on short term gains and not try to look ahead.
As I said in another comment. Radio Shack should have been the inventor of Arduino. Not another me-too place. And who is going to spend $100 for a Raspberry Pi?
Radio Shack is simply not needed. Quite honestly, it's probably beneficial for employees that they close their doors as well, because they can now move on to another place that will treat them a little kinder.
Since when do people repair electronics? Electronics are not like cars where people are going to find a way to repair them. When electronics break, they are sent to a land fill and replaced as expeditiously as possible. And used as an excuse to upgrade.
I'm not saying that it is right, just what the market has morphed into. It makes no sense to have an "Autozone" for electronics now.
Actually around the holiday season Radio Shack mall stores would outperform the strip mall stores by miles because of all the RC toy sales (and gift giving). And people would also always buy a pile of batteries to go with them. During the same time, people who would show up at the strip malls were people looking to buy a pack of resistors or fuses.
Malls can charge higher rent because of the demographic and foot traffic in a mall far outstrips that in a strip mall. Sales people always wanted to work in malls because they would easily get more commissions.
However, if you worked in a strip mall, you always worked for minimum wage.
I welcome ex-Radio Shack employees to chime in, as I know that is not far from the truth.
Around the time I left they had started putting part in "bins". And they started sending in secret shoppers. If an employee didn't ask every customer about a cell phone AND a satellite dish they were fired. Even before that turnover was like a fast food place.
They resented their employees worse than a fast food place. My thoughts is that management had to blame someone for their poor sales, and as they say crap rolls downhill. So it was the poor lackey at the bottom to catch it. Employees were probably blamed for stealing when it was shoplifters that could not be stopped. That kind of nonsense.
Also lots of Arduino stuff.
If it would have been the Radio Shack of old, they would have been the ones to invent the Arduino But they're not. All they are now is a bunch of stuffy managers making a death bed repentance.
Everything you mentioned can now be found online for cheaper, and everybody is now used to getting it that way and probably prefers not having to drive to the store and having it delivered to the doorstep anyway.
Amazon will probably be able to pick up the slack with same day shipping in the near future for a lot of these items. But even then I don't mind waiting two or three for the USPS.
I disagree. Other places now sell batteries quite inexpensively, like Harbor Freight where you can find numerous button cells imexpensively blister packed (a lot cheaper than Radio Shack sells them). Along with a whole aisle of electrical supplies and nuts and bolts. Radio Shack was arrogant in thinking they could continue to charge exorbitant prices for these.
Other discount stores now sell a lot of the cables that TVs need, like Wal Mart and KMart.
There really is no need for a Radio Shack anymore. Everything can be found elsewhere for cheaper. And if they don't soon Amazon will have it for next day shipping if not same day shipping.
>But I don't think there's enough business there, sadly.
And there never was. But what would happen in the vast majority of cases is that people would walk in for that fuse or resistor and walk out with a bunch of other things as well, like batteries and RC toys. Which they became well known for around the holiday season.
However, with the great change in electronics that we have seen, they needed to continue to innovate, in the same way that they did with computers and the TRS-80 that was light years before anything else. They also had the first portable computers with LCD display. They needed to keep that same thinking alive.
Instead they put all their eggs in the same basket with cell phones, which was destined to become a commodity item.
If they really wanted to remain relevant, they would have moved into cell phone repair. That has now been taken up by countless niche kiosks in the same malls that Radio Shacks operate. They just could not see themselves doing that. They really dropped the ball on that one. And that is just one example of where they could have moved to.
If you want to see a store that is on the ball (and now another great place to buy batteries) is Harbor Freight.
After Radio Shack closes, you'll be able to find that relay at either the junk yard or an Autozone. Radio Shack's great tragedy is that everything they sale you can find easier elsewhere now.
Actually that was considered by marketers at the time at Radio Shack's height as brilliance, as they would get your address and thus have a relevant mailing list of willing customers.
It is no different than all the "loyalty cards" that you now see everywhere (which make obtaining the address at every sale unnecessary - which really was annoying for both the customers and Radio Shack workers).
The 120-in-one kits was another stroke of brilliance for its time. And it too was one of my favorites along with the Atari. If you had those, you had everything!
But this is where they went wrong. They stopped that kind of innovation in favor of retail electronics and cell phones, in trying to capture short term gains. Both of these things are easier to get elsewhere. And the one demographic that went to their stores continually ceased needing to go there as hobby electronics was left in the dust, generally speaking. The areas that they needed to innovate in, they did not. It became all about cell phone sales.
I think it's too late for them now, There's too much management cruft around, and all the engineers are gone.