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(Marketwatch)   Radio Shack stock now costs less than the batteries they sell   (marketwatch.com) divider line 49
    More: Fail, balance sheets, dividends  
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1883 clicks; posted to Business » on 25 Jul 2012 at 2:28 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-07-25 11:05:27 AM
But do they still need my name, address, and phone number if I want to buy a battery?
 
2012-07-25 11:54:46 AM
That doesn't exactly narrow down the possible price range.
 
2012-07-25 12:21:38 PM
 
2012-07-25 01:52:07 PM
They have lost their way. They should go back to being an electronics hobby shop or an electronics version of Home Depot where you can rebuilt anything electronic from scratch.
 
2012-07-25 02:00:26 PM

Makh: They have lost their way. They should go back to being an electronics hobby shop or an electronics version of Home Depot where you can rebuilt anything electronic from scratch.


That's such a tiny niche market though that there's no way you could stay in business as a brick and mortar retail operation. The days of people fixing shiat on their own are long gone, everything is disposable these days, and there's nothing you could possibly need unless it's such a dire emergency that you need it right away, that can't be purchased on Amazon for infinitely cheaper than Radio Shack.
 
2012-07-25 02:38:38 PM
Whoa, whoa, whoa.

You mean to tell me that 'The Shack' is having a hard time? I mean, after pandering to the hip cool culture I don't see how they could fail?
 
2012-07-25 02:44:10 PM
I also love the new commercial where that one girl is so excited to get a camera phone.

"Camera phoooooonnnneeee!"

I can't buy a burrito or get a set of keys duplicated that doesn't have a camera built in at this point.
 
2012-07-25 02:58:08 PM

Makh: They have lost their way. They should go back to being an electronics hobby shop or an electronics version of Home Depot where you can rebuilt anything electronic from scratch.


I have always thought they should get into the automotive electronics game and provide quality, on-site installation. There's a black hole in this space as Best Buy couldn't install a hula girl doll on your dashboard without farking it up, and the rest of the providers are one-shop local places usually run -- and exclusively frequented -- by idiots.
 
2012-07-25 02:59:34 PM
ftfa -

"Lasser also pointed to RadioShack's "overloaded product assortment," including "obscure items" such as magnifying glasses and soldering irons that make its stores hard to shop."

It used to be those "obscure items" that made Radio Shack cool back in the day. However, as someone else pointed out, nothing gets fixed anymore - it's all disposable. I can't think of any reason to go there now.
 
2012-07-25 03:03:08 PM

Makh: They have lost their way. They should go back to being an electronics hobby shop or an electronics version of Home Depot where you can rebuilt anything electronic from scratch.


They carry Ardiuno gear, so there is that.
 
2012-07-25 03:29:10 PM

fortheloveofgod: It used to be those "obscure items" that made Radio Shack cool back in the day.


I don't know about "cool', but that was the reason you went to there to find things you couldn't get anywhere else. All their other products are more expensive than at the anchor stores at the mall, and you can get all the obscure stuff on the internet.
 
2012-07-25 03:37:48 PM

spman: Makh: They have lost their way. They should go back to being an electronics hobby shop or an electronics version of Home Depot where you can rebuilt anything electronic from scratch.

That's such a tiny niche market though that there's no way you could stay in business as a brick and mortar retail operation. The days of people fixing shiat on their own are long gone, everything is disposable these days, and there's nothing you could possibly need unless it's such a dire emergency that you need it right away, that can't be purchased on Amazon for infinitely cheaper than Radio Shack.



It wouldn't be easy, but there is one thing people still fix. Computers. And people are sick of Best Buy's Geek squad and their outrageous prices.

Here's my thought:

Team up with Dell, HP, Sony, IBM/Lenovo, (whoever wants in)...to sell and service their stuff in store. It'd be a like an apple store, but with non-apple products. There are radios hacks everywhere. So you have an instant market presence already in place.

Hire competent workers and do not gouge your customers. If they need a new hard drive, charge them cost of the HD plus a fair amount of labor (put it all there in a bill like a car repair receipt; parts, labor, tax total).

You could build a reputation as having competent people and fair prices. And while people are in the store getting their computer fixed...Oh, well looky here...look at all this other stuff we sell.
 
2012-07-25 03:40:37 PM

BKITU: Even CEO Can't Figure Out How RadioShack Still In Business

/oblig


CFTLS

/came for this, etc.
 
2012-07-25 03:40:49 PM

KFBR392: spman: Makh: They have lost their way. They should go back to being an electronics hobby shop or an electronics version of Home Depot where you can rebuilt anything electronic from scratch.

That's such a tiny niche market though that there's no way you could stay in business as a brick and mortar retail operation. The days of people fixing shiat on their own are long gone, everything is disposable these days, and there's nothing you could possibly need unless it's such a dire emergency that you need it right away, that can't be purchased on Amazon for infinitely cheaper than Radio Shack.


It wouldn't be easy, but there is one thing people still fix. Computers. And people are sick of Best Buy's Geek squad and their outrageous prices.

Here's my thought:

Team up with Dell, HP, Sony, IBM/Lenovo, (whoever wants in)...to sell and service their stuff in store. It'd be a like an apple store, but with non-apple products. There are radios hacks everywhere. So you have an instant market presence already in place.

Hire competent workers and do not gouge your customers. If they need a new hard drive, charge them cost of the HD plus a fair amount of labor (put it all there in a bill like a car repair receipt; parts, labor, tax total).

You could build a reputation as having competent people and fair prices. And while people are in the store getting their computer fixed...Oh, well looky here...look at all this other stuff we sell.


Microsoft stores suck pretty bad...they should team with Microsoft. Margins are much higher.
 
2012-07-25 03:41:57 PM

ThatDarkFellow: I also love the new commercial where that one girl is so excited to get a camera phone.

"Camera phoooooonnnneeee!"

I can't buy a burrito or get a set of keys duplicated that doesn't have a camera built in at this point.


Yeah, like it was with digital clocks 20 years ago. Pens, toasters, coffee mugs, everything.
 
2012-07-25 04:11:33 PM
You'll need to enter your phone number before you can post in this thread. Just in case you need to return it for any reason.
 
2012-07-25 04:19:48 PM
Last week my boss sent me to Radio Shack to buy an HDMI cable for one of our A/V setups.

Clerk: Would you like to buy the extended warranty for this? It's only $3.31 and will protect your purchase for three years.

Me: It's a cable. Is it really that likely to fail?

Him: Well, it's peace of mind, and at that price, it's a great deal!

Me: It's on sale for $9.99. You're asking me to pay an extra one-third for something that's A) already under warranty, B) under ten bucks to start with, and C) not going to fail because it's a simple cable?

They do the same every time i'm in there buying something for work. "Blank DVDs? Let me sell you an extended warranty!"
 
2012-07-25 04:22:10 PM

Makh: They have lost their way. They should go back to being an electronics hobby shop or an electronics version of Home Depot where you can rebuilt anything electronic from scratch.


Nah, my guess is anyone interested in that stuff would buy online. For starters, they'd have to carry so much stuff, it would not fit in their small stores.

Even then, the only thing they'd be good for is if someone needed one item they forgot to buy online. "Crap I bought all these electronics parts, and forgot to buy this one resistor... off to Radio Shack"

That's such a small niche it would never work.
 
2012-07-25 04:41:37 PM

Makh: They have lost their way. They should go back to being an electronics hobby shop or an electronics version of Home Depot where you can rebuilt anything electronic from scratch.


When I was a kid there were two things I went to Radio Shack for.... parts to build projects from Popular Science/electronics books, and kits for when I ran out of articles/books. The only brand they carried was Realistic, and the staff could actually read a schematic and tell you what you needed.

Then they decided they wanted to cram a Toy Store/Department store/Cell phone store/Appliance Store into a dinky, strip mall storefront. They've been threatining to go tits up ever since.

I can buy a diode from Radio Shack for $1.20 + the cost of gas and have it in my project as soon as I get home from the store. I can buy the same diode for 20 cents from Amazon and then pay $5.59 shipping to get it in 1-3 weeks. Radio Shack used to stock tons of things I would pay a little more for if I could have them in my hands in the time it takes to drive to the store. Why are they still trying to compete by stocking the exact same stuff everyone else carries for prices they can never beat?

Radio Shack built its entire business by identifying a niche and catering to it.
 
2012-07-25 04:50:37 PM

Ace Rimmer: Then they decided they wanted to cram a Toy Store/Department store/Cell phone store/Appliance Store into a dinky, strip mall storefront. They've been threatining to go tits up ever since.


They've been having problems for over 20 years, they expanded into new products lines because they were having problems in the first place. When they expanded product lines they were also still top heavy at the executive level with engineers, so they made some product choice based on technology (like betamax, and micro channel pc's) more than other factors that may influence the market
 
2012-07-25 05:23:10 PM

DrewCurtisJr: Ace Rimmer: Then they decided they wanted to cram a Toy Store/Department store/Cell phone store/Appliance Store into a dinky, strip mall storefront. They've been threatining to go tits up ever since.

They've been having problems for over 20 years, they expanded into new products lines because they were having problems in the first place. When they expanded product lines they were also still top heavy at the executive level with engineers, so they made some product choice based on technology (like betamax, and micro channel pc's) more than other factors that may influence the market


Over expansion was also a big problem for them. They had a tendency back then to open Radio Shacks within walking distance of other Radio Shacks. If i remember right there were something like 6 Radio Shacks at one point within a 15 minute drive of my house.

The big problme with the expanded product lines is it's all stuff you can get elsewhere for less. Walk in to any Radio Shack today and you'll be all the way to the very back wall before you find any product that you can't get someplace else for less... and probably in the very same strip mall you're already at.

They can either go back to being a niche store or they can go out of business.
 
2012-07-25 05:23:45 PM
That's too bad. RS and Lafayette Radio we're the cool places for electro-nerds back in the 60s and 70s
 
2012-07-25 05:27:50 PM
Radio Shack could survive if they started focusing on actual expert customer service. Right now, they're using the same kind of staff as other big chains like Best Buy that likely don't know much if anything more about the products than their customers do and they push them to sell warranties and such instead of paying more and hiring folks who know stuff (and/or training folks so that they really know stuff) and letting them sell you more stuff and better stuff through their superior knowledge and building customer loyalty. If a sales force isn't offering customers anything that Amazon isn't (and is offering them a hassle and privacy intrusion that Amazon doesn't), there's no incentive to pay more to buy at a chain store.

I really think that's the main way that a whole lot of brick and mortar stores that are struggling could survive against internet competition. They have the real asset of having human beings who can actually speak with every single customer and sell every customer products that are perfect for them and build a relationship with them. That's something websites aren't nearly as good at. B&M stores are never going to beat the big internet sites in selection and seldom on prices. But they could beat them by a mile on customer service if they would go ahead and focus on that.
 
2012-07-25 05:58:58 PM
The batteries would probably be the better investment.
 
2012-07-25 06:03:00 PM
Exactly, Redstarr. I'm in Peoria, Il and I can't buy a decent stereo here (Best Buy? NOT) despite being a 300,000+ market. I have to go to Glen Poors' in Champaign.
 
2012-07-25 06:12:44 PM

Ace Rimmer: I can buy a diode from Radio Shack for $1.20 + the cost of gas and have it in my project as soon as I get home from the store. I can buy the same diode for 20 cents from Amazon and then pay $5.59 shipping to get it in 1-3 weeks. Radio Shack used to stock tons of things I would pay a little more for if I could have them in my hands in the time it takes to drive to the store. Why are they still trying to compete by stocking the exact same stuff everyone else carries for prices they can never beat?


Because your example is a nice convience for you, but a terrible business model. What you mentioned mirrors what I said before. If you're going to invest $50-$100 in a ton of parts to build something, you're going to buy online and wait.

If after doing this, you forget you needed one more diode... you're going to go to Radio Shack.

But you're not going to buy your entire arsenel of parts from them when you begin planning the project.

The only place the "you forgot one thing, and need it now" model works is for (aptly named) convience stores.

I buy all my groceries at Wal Mart or Rouses. But, yeah, if I forgot the milk... I'm going to the corner store 2 blocks away.
 
2012-07-25 06:18:00 PM
I can't remember ever having to wait in line when I bought something from Radio Shack.
 
2012-07-25 06:21:50 PM
That doesn't take much. Pretty sure that at various points, platinum has actually been cheaper by weight than radio shack batteries.
 
2012-07-25 06:25:06 PM
Here is a good link for a walk down memory lane... When I was a kid I loved Radio Shack... I'm actually sad to see how far it's fallen...

http://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/
 
2012-07-25 06:31:53 PM
I love Radio Shack, but only because it's nearby. Half the time I'm digging through their tiny filing cabinet of parts is spent in vain and I end up ordering online or I have to drive 40 minutes each way to a real supplier.

But it is nice to drive to the mall, grab what you need, and go.
 
2012-07-25 06:40:19 PM

downstairs: Because your example is a nice convience for you, but a terrible business model. What you mentioned mirrors what I said before. If you're going to invest $50-$100 in a ton of parts to build something, you're going to buy online and wait.

If after doing this, you forget you needed one more diode... you're going to go to Radio Shack.

But you're not going to buy your entire arsenel of parts from them when you begin planning the project.

The only place the "you forgot one thing, and need it now" model works is for (aptly named) convience stores.

I buy all my groceries at Wal Mart or Rouses. But, yeah, if I forgot the milk... I'm going to the corner store 2 blocks away.


The places around here that sell such things also sell a lot of pricey programmers and test equipment. They also have a community feel. People don't mind spending money on stuff for their hobby/recreation: They tend to shop around for things they need, not things they want.
 
2012-07-25 06:40:42 PM

THX 1138: Last week my boss sent me to Radio Shack to buy an HDMI cable for one of our A/V setups.

Clerk: Would you like to buy the extended warranty for this? It's only $3.31 and will protect your purchase for three years.

Me: It's a cable. Is it really that likely to fail?

Him: Well, it's peace of mind, and at that price, it's a great deal!

Me: It's on sale for $9.99. You're asking me to pay an extra one-third for something that's A) already under warranty, B) under ten bucks to start with, and C) not going to fail because it's a simple cable?

They do the same every time i'm in there buying something for work. "Blank DVDs? Let me sell you an extended warranty!"



I worked at radio shack way back in college. We had to ask (also batteries, cell phones, memory) or we got in trouble with the boss. So when the little window popped up at checkout that a warranty was available, you just got into the habit of asking no matter how stupid it seemed.
 
2012-07-25 06:42:03 PM
The problem with Radio Shack is their tired insistence on having a physical presence, payroll and real assets. They need to follow the lead of great brands like IBM and Baskin-Robbins who stuck to their core business - making profits - and got rid of pesky side ventures like making computers or ice cream. By abandoning it's costly ventures in retailing, Radio Shack could return to it's knitting and deliver real shareholder value. The way I see it, Radio Shack's core skills are in the production of Radio Shack stickers that can be placed on Chinese made junk that Walmart can sell. All the rest is wasteful costs.
 
2012-07-25 06:46:49 PM
My late grandfather was a ham radio enthusiast (W1NUT) and used to drag me along to Radio Shack once or twice a month in the late 70's/early 80's. That's really when Radio Shack had a loyal customer base of ham operators and electronics enthusiasts. Now most (not all, but most) of those inclined towards electronics are primarily working with computers, and ham radio operators have either gone completely online or are running their radios with PCs.

You made your money selling vacuum tubes and radio crystals. It's time to give up your little piece of the mall. We need that space for designer clothing for pre-teens.

/sad
 
2012-07-25 07:08:57 PM
Jerkwater has a point

We used to have a crop of youngsters that were ripe for radio ops in the military. Now they can't fathom anything that doesn't have a Windows or Apple GUI interface.
 
2012-07-25 07:27:13 PM
Battery of the Month Club!
 
2012-07-25 08:02:15 PM

downstairs: Ace Rimmer: I can buy a diode from Radio Shack for $1.20 + the cost of gas and have it in my project as soon as I get home from the store. I can buy the same diode for 20 cents from Amazon and then pay $5.59 shipping to get it in 1-3 weeks. Radio Shack used to stock tons of things I would pay a little more for if I could have them in my hands in the time it takes to drive to the store. Why are they still trying to compete by stocking the exact same stuff everyone else carries for prices they can never beat?

Because your example is a nice convience for you, but a terrible business model. What you mentioned mirrors what I said before. If you're going to invest $50-$100 in a ton of parts to build something, you're going to buy online and wait.

If after doing this, you forget you needed one more diode... you're going to go to Radio Shack.

But you're not going to buy your entire arsenel of parts from them when you begin planning the project.

The only place the "you forgot one thing, and need it now" model works is for (aptly named) convience stores.

I buy all my groceries at Wal Mart or Rouses. But, yeah, if I forgot the milk... I'm going to the corner store 2 blocks away.


If you only need one of everything then you'll still probably be better off going to Radio Shack. The difference in price will be more then offset by the shipping and handling charges. The only way you'll save any money is buying in bulk, and if I only need one integrated circuit, I only need one integrated circuit.... having 24 more on hand that I will never use is pointless. I would think with the volume of components Radio Shack buys they could probably compete in the bulk market too if they wanted. I would much rather pay a slight premium to deal with a local Shack then risk my credit card details going to gosh knows where in order to save a couple of bucks and get unmarked parts in a baggy (if they even arrive).

Radio Shack has a local presence, a trusted name, and a sales staff of real live people. That's what they should be levereging instead of bringing in even more things you can buy everwhere else for less. Pre-paid phones are going to save them? Walmart and Target practically give them away now. So do the Gas Station, 7-11, and guys at the mall. They'll end up sitting on the shelves collecting dust next to the Monstor Cables and all the cheapo toys that were outdated 15 years ago.
 
2012-07-25 08:18:26 PM
I don't care about customer experience or any of that BS. I just want to know what the hell I'm going to find inside the store when I walk in. Radio Shack has totally lost its brand identity and any coherence of what people should expect of it. Can they do just ONE thing, and do it really well? Not anymore.

/still using a pair of Optimus bookshelf speakers for surrounds on the AV setup. They used to be good at that...
 
2012-07-25 08:25:31 PM

Jerkwater: I have always thought they should get into the automotive electronics game and provide quality, on-site installation. There's a black hole in this space as Best Buy couldn't install a hula girl doll on your dashboard without farking it up, and the rest of the providers are one-shop local places usually run -- and exclusively frequented -- by idiots.


redstarr01: Radio Shack could survive if they started focusing on actual expert customer service.


The problem with offering 'experts' is that they're damned hard to find. Not that there aren't tens of thousands of people who'd be great with installations or expert advice. They also almost all have better jobs than sub-$10/hr retail. Even if you came up with a business plan that paid quite well, dealing with idjit-general-public customers isn't most tech-geeks' idea of fun.
 
2012-07-25 08:42:44 PM
For those of you that used to go in back in the day, here is some nostalgia.

http://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/
 
2012-07-25 09:13:47 PM
I work in a retail electronics business... We've attempted many times to point out to upper management that customers don't come to us because of the prices - they come because:
a) if you need a few parts quickly, it's convenient
b) several of us at our store are also hobbiests - I found out that one of our stores about 50 miles away
has been telling customers to come to see me specifically for answers to technical questions..

The best customers I have are the ones who want to get started in electronics, or are hobbiests already...

The worst are the ones who scream at me, demanding that I sell something to them at ebay prices...
 
2012-07-25 09:21:02 PM
I went in the other day for some relays and a bread board for a project of mine. I might as well have been speaking german for as well as the guy understood my request. Then, while searching through the jumbled mess of drawers they had, he kept breathing down the back of my neck asking various questions about my cell phone.
 
2012-07-25 10:24:50 PM
The profit margin on electronic parts for projects is too low for RS to go back and emphasize their old core brand. These days, I would only consider buying their police scanners.
 
2012-07-25 11:13:41 PM

MatrixOutsider: The profit margin on electronic parts for projects is too low for RS to go back and emphasize their old core brand. These days, I would only consider buying their police scanners.


Well I don't mean to imply they should just sell diodes and crap. Police scanners is definitely a Radio Shack niche. Where else sells even sells them? Everyone I know who has one got it from Radio shack.

You could probably find a cheap one on the internet, but it will either be some off, off brand or a counterfeit. If the clerks at RS were more interested in telling me what the hot frequencies were for the area instead of upselling me a useless protection plan I would gladly pay the little bit extra.

You used to be able to get good, mid-range stereo equipment. Almost all the features of the high end name brand unit you wanted, for the entry level price you could afford.

If Radio Shack wants to sell phones they should be partnering with Google and selling unlocked ones ready to tinker with for gosh sakes. Why on earth would I go to the Target prepaid phone store inside of a Radio Shack that is probably in the parking lot of an actual Target store?
 
2012-07-26 09:05:10 AM

Ace Rimmer: Police scanners is definitely a Radio Shack niche. Where else sells even sells them? Everyone I know who has one got it from Radio shack.


There is a local electronics store near me that sells police scanners in addition to car stereos & other stuff. They know all the local frequencies and will reset your scanner to those frequencies for free if you fark it up.
 
2012-07-26 02:19:20 PM

spman: Makh: They have lost their way. They should go back to being an electronics hobby shop or an electronics version of Home Depot where you can rebuilt anything electronic from scratch.

That's such a tiny niche market though that there's no way you could stay in business as a brick and mortar retail operation. The days of people fixing shiat on their own are long gone, everything is disposable these days, and there's nothing you could possibly need unless it's such a dire emergency that you need it right away, that can't be purchased on Amazon for infinitely cheaper than Radio Shack.


Went in one recently to shop for a good variable temp soldering iron for an rc heli build and all they would do is try to get me to re-up my cel phone plan. The salesperson didnt even know basic stuff like where soldering flux and wicks were. And, they only stocked cheap irons.

What a joke. I buy all my stuff online now.
 
2012-07-26 03:05:10 PM

bbqsandwich: Ace Rimmer: Police scanners is definitely a Radio Shack niche. Where else sells even sells them? Everyone I know who has one got it from Radio shack.

There is a local electronics store near me that sells police scanners in addition to car stereos & other stuff. They know all the local frequencies and will reset your scanner to those frequencies for free if you fark it up.


That's exactly the niche Radio Shack used to fill. Then they decided to throw it all away in order to persue the upscale audiophile market (who would never be caught dead in a Radio Shack). Maybe I'll go check out my local store here since all this talk of the good old days is making me yearn for a scanner again LOL
 
2012-07-26 05:09:19 PM
I worked at Radio Shack in the late 80's. I hated selling re-branded TVs, VCRs, calculators, etc, which could be purchased 20% cheaper at the Wal-Mart next to my store. (The only time we were competitive on prices was when it was a discontinued item.)
I hate that they stopped selling DIY stuff like car stereos and alarms.
 
2012-07-26 09:32:35 PM
In the mid-70's my aunt bought me 10 shares of Tandy stock at a little over $30 per share to get a discount on a TRS-80 Model 1. During their successful years, stockholders got a 10% discount on every purchase, the stock split a number of times and they paid dividends -- not to mention the battery-of-the-month cards.

When they started to circle the bowl, the discount was reduced to Christmas, then to a single purchase at Christmas, and then nada. The 120 shares I own now are worth less than the 10 shares my aunt originally purchased.

Looks like they have yet to figure out not everyone wants an out-of-date cellphone or a $25 gold-plated USB cable. Every time I go in to get something, there is a Mexican family tying up both clerks with either a cell phone billing problem or returning a digital camera after they've used it to take their quinceanera pictures. I don't want to wait 10 farking minutes to buy a watch battery.
 
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