Radio Shack is one of those brands that makes me wonder how it’s still around. I’ve never purchased anything from there that lasted more than two years. Before I found a better option, I was using earbuds that required a converter to work with my phone– a converter sold only at Radio Shack. I’ve had the phone two and a half years now and I’ve been through several converters. I tried to get a coverage plan for it and they wouldn’t play ball. The clerk told me quite honestly, “We know it’s cheap. Sorry.” It’s not unusual to pick up a random item and find that it has been resealed after someone returned it. No matter the location, sales associates are indifferent when I tell them about my converter troubles. I think Radio Shack is struggling to distinguish itself these days.
Its Holiday Hero campaign had potential. It’s too bad it wasn’t spun into a regular campaign. I think the disconnect with Radio Shack is that its store brands lack durability. It’s great that I can find some obscure part or cord that’s unheard of at Best Buy or Walmart, but having to replace it every 3 months is unreasonable. The superhero spots were about gift giving when really they could still function as “coming to the rescue” with [insert emergency part here]. I’m sure the reason behind it is that they don’t really make money off that stuff.
If Radio Shack had to do a true re-branding of itself beyond just shortening its name, it could be a phone store. There’s really no good way to call it what is without smearing its legacy. Just like a phone store, money is made with contracts, disposables, and replenishable items. If it’s not really a phone store, I’d say put it to the “supermarket test.” Take all those phones, phone cards, and accessories (milk, bread, and eggs) and swap spots with the store brand oddities in the back (PEZ dispensers). Then see how many people buy CAT-5 cables, parallel ports, and axial outputs. Better yet, just see how many televisions and cameras are sold. People are going to walk out before they get to what they came for if it isn’t up front. People go to the supermarket for milk, bread, and eggs, but they don’t go to Radio Shack for cameras and TVs. Yes, I am comparing apples to asparagus.
If there is one thing above all else that “The Shack” is known for, it’s batteries. The site even has a battery finder. I suppose the brand would claim that position if it was worth it. Otherwise, I don’t know what else Radio Shack has to call its own. If it weren’t for mobile web or some hybrid of the two, it may have gone under already. I felt compelled to make this post after trying to figure out how Radio Shack’s first spot of the year could help its brand identity. Perhaps you are just as confused as I am. Like I said, the superhero angle has potential, but he becomes more like a martyr if he only helps me out that one time and then dies.
I can’t help but think of Wired Magazine’s article about Radio Shack’s transition to The Shack, and the shift from the avid hobby enthusiast demographic to a broader one: Link Here.
I finally got around to reading that article and it definitely makes sense. Radio Shack was a much different place when I was a child. My dad would get parts and fix things. He eventually got away from fixing devices, but he’s still good with fixing cars, electrical wiring, and carpentry. I think the reason people don’t bother to repair things anymore is because they’re not built to last. And we accept this no problem. My PS3 is busted. I wish I knew how to fix it.