The article says,
"RadioShack has been troubled for some years now, and has registered losses for five straight quarters. Under the leadership of CEO Joseph Magnacca, the company has tried to come back to profitability with its “five pillars strategy,” which includes revamping products and boosting efficiency. These attempts have failed to impress analysts: “We think this has been akin to throwing things against the wall to see what sticks,” said Lasser."
"As part of its comeback strategy, the company remodeled 23 stores in the Washington, DC metro area and 21 in the San Francisco Bay area. This is RadioShack’s attempt to counter the annual revenue decline that has persisted since 2011. The company has tried to drastically improve the customer in-store experience via mobile phone repair services, displays for hot products like GoPro Inc’s (GPRO) popular cameras, and demos for headphones. However, the efficacy of the strategy is doubtful. Even if the stores perform well, it will not do for the company’s profitability as a whole, given that it had 5,400 outlets as of the latest quarter."
Five pillars strategy? WTF? That includes revamping products and boosting efficiency.. Hogwash! that's just corporate buzzwords being bandied about.
Revamping products, companies and stores do this as a matter of course all the time. No wow factor here.
Boosting efficiency? Is that even necessary? The old in-efficient RadioShack did just fine using paper and pens to print receipts. They did fine without JIT restocking.. They were alright without internet advertising. It seems all corporations want to efficiency-themselves-right-out-of-business. Their employees don't make enough money to buy anything. And since they are not buying anything, companies aren't selling anything.. Seems to be the way it's going. Classic Harvard Business School philosophy. It's a psychotic way of thinking.
Improving the customer experience:
..via mobile phone repair service? WTF? It isn't likely they're going to be smart enough to fix my old Motorola phone. Star-Tac, bagphone, iPhone, whatever.. Makes no difference. They're not going to have parts, training, or technical prowess to do any kind of repair on anything. They might be able to change a battery or clean the headphone jack or happy horseshit like that. But to do a real repair. I don't think so.
..displays for hot products like GoPro? Pffaaghh! Who cares? If I'm gonna buy a GoPro, I'm going to look at the website, then go to YouTube to actually see real videos made by real people. I might ask about it on message forums too.
..same shit with those gay-ass $2,000 DSLRs. Ever see panning videos from one of those? They waver and distort all over the place. Had I bought one in the store I might not have noticed it. But by looking at YouTube and other places on the 'net, I not only learned which ones do that (or don't), but why. This is information you won't get in the store. And pocket cameras are on their way out. Slowly but surely. Because your iPhone (or other) will take a better picture overall. And the best camera is the camera you have with you.
..displays for headphones? That's a pretty narrow and niche field. While those audiophile junkies might get all hot and bothered about that, I don't. To me there are two kinds of headphones & speakers. The $10 Sony shit you buy at Wal-Mart and the $30,000 Bang & Olufson home theater experience. Insert Harmon Kardon, Klipsch, Bose, or any other brand you can't afford.. I've never seen a headphone boutique anywhere, and headphones aren't going to drag RS into profitability by the ear.
This is part of a post I made earlier, but it's worth repeating because it illustrates the kind of service and support you used to get from RS - even as a shit-faced kid.
I recall one brisk and blowy autumn day, I got the TRS-80 PC-1 Pocket Computer. I also got a few books to go with it and such. I also got the cassette interface and some tapes and batteries too. The whole package cost around $400 - $425. This "system" afforded me my first serious exposure to BASIC, and I learned the concepts from a book called “Getting Started With TRS-80 BASIC". The big yellow one with an even bigger plastic spiral binding thing. The one with the cartoony Model I computer that would call out important points from time to time and just make antics in general.. But with BASIC being BASIC, much of the basics transferred over to the PC-1. I learned things like line numbering and variables and general program flow. The PRINT and INPUT statements and the +-*/^() math symbols. You know.. As the days turned from fall to winter my skills at programming in BASIC became quite formidable. And I was programming in all my math assignments. The teachers at school didn't know what to make of it all. Some liked it, most didn't.
Well, one day, being a spoiled brat and a snotty kid I threw a tantrum when I spent the entire previous afternoon laboriously hunting-n-pecking in a Lunar Lander game and it didn't work. Somehow, either I made a mistake or the listing had an error - because the LM kept crashing 30 FT above the lunar surface. Boy was I pissed like you wouldn't believe!
I reviewed it over and over got even more frustrated. My mom finally asked my gramma to take me down to the Radio Shack Computer Center in Northbrook and see what the trouble was. Just so I would shut up and do my homework! Because if I didn't get this fixed, there wouldn't be any me-doing-my-homework. Ohh no sir!
Some guy there (a salesman I guess) actually took the time to review what I had typed into the computer. I remember him having spent about an hour or two going through each line and consulting with another programmer there. I don't recall where the error was, in the listing or my typing. But he found it and fixed it! Myself and him made notes so that I could re-type it later if there was an issue with saving and loading from cassette. We tested it right there, on the spot, in the store. And I was elated! It worked!
It was just about winter and the last of the thunderstorms was coming in, it quickly went from rain to snow just in time to cancel school the next day. Because of impending icing. So I stayed up all night with junk food and stuff like that, sometime after watching Battlestar Galactica or a Star Trek re-run I pulled out the PC-1 and got to playing. I played Hi-Lo and days-between-dates and numerology. And I loaded up the Lunar Lander game too. My complaining and tantrum efforts paid off big time.*
I huddled up under the covers with the lights low and flashlight by my side. I played Lunar Lander all night long. Refining my approach and trajectory better and better! Occasionally peeking out to look at my "Map of the Moon" poster from Rand McNally.
It was great, I could imagine Neil Armstrong right beside me telling me "..a little to left" and "ease it down now.. Good good! Engine off!" "Tranquility Base here THE EAGLE HAS LANDED!" Delusions of grandeur permeated the night. And I was a happy camper! I fell asleep to some other sci-fi rerun or something, Salvage-1, or 6 Million Dollar Man.. Maybe even Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. It might have even been something from the console-furniture-sized VHS. And the next day, with school canceled, it was an Atari 2600 & Intellivision day. All day. With another Lunar Mission planned for the evening.
I gotta tell you, days like that are few and far between, when everything just comes together just right.
* I still have all my notes and a baggie full of printouts and listings and such. Of course including the original PC-1 and tapes and accessories and stuff.
It was great that the salesman consulted with some other guy and between the two of them they got my Lunar Lander game going. And that was just so cool. You will never see service like this in this day and age, not unless you fork over some extra coin. And even then, if it is outside of your prescribed duties, as an employee, said employee probably won't take this kind of time and effort. Not at the consumer level anyways.
That is what was special about the Computer Centers RS ran back in the late 1970's. Fantastic customer support, even for a bratty 9 year old.
Alas, I would continue my efforts on an Apple ][+ and that became my main system with which I learned telecom and modeming and BBS'ing. Not to mention warez. But I did eventually acquire a CoCo and a PC-2 and paraphernalia. I seemed to have permanently associated Radio Shack with Pocket Computers and after the PC-2 came a PC-4. And I still have those as well. I never really went much further with TRS-80 computers. Not because of any dislike or fault with the machine; but more because of warez and BBS’ing, and hardware availability. It seemed like it was easier to acquire hardware for the Apple II than it was for TRS-80. And that hardware was more open to experimentation. And the Apple II hardware was used by more diverse software. For example, Apple-Cat II modem came with Com-Ware. But I had like 10 other terminal packages and then wrote my own. The people I knew back then seemed more interested with experimenting with Apple II stuff as opposed to doing real productive work.
Edited by Keatah, Wed Aug 13, 2014 5:55 PM.