RadioShack is on the way out. At least, given recent events, that’s the writing on the wall. According to multiple media reports, stores across the nation see shelves go empty, and their employees see their hours and shifts cut drastically. And, according to employees interviewed by CNN, some of the higher-end, attractive merchandise in the store has been shipped back to the warehouse. Gone are selections from top brands including Apple, Samsung and Beats by Dre. Replacing these Must Have items include “get it anywhere” stuff like discount cables and anonymous equipment. Worse, in some cases, deliveries of any new equipment have just about stopped.
Now, some of you reading this are probably nodding your heads, utterly unsurprised. Many of you are likely thinking, “of course, I haven’t been to a RadioShack store in years. What do they even sell anymore?” Answer: not enough.
Recently, the brand officially filed for bankruptcy protection in order to reorganize. And, according to reports, by “reorganize” they mean close as many as 2,400 of their 4,000 stores. Losing more than half of your national market space is certainly one way to “reorganize.”
Of course, it didn’t have to be this way. Sure, RadioShack suffered both from the Internet and the big box stores like BestBuy and Tiger Direct, but these market circumstances did not need to be a death knell for a store generations of techies grew up loving. There was a time when going into a RadioShack was just a given. Not only did you know you would find what you wanted, but you were also likely to be introduced to some very cool stuff by an extremely knowledgeable staff. These are benefits no Internet product farm could hope to compete with.
But, like Circuit City before it, RadioShack has failed to adapt to market conditions fast enough. Yes, it’s target market’s shopping habits had dramatically shifted, but public relations being what it is, there were still ways to remain the first choice of past customers who would happily introduce you to future customers. Instead, the brand refused to evolve, clinging to a model that worked phenomenally three decades ago. The world — and the market — moved on. As it always does. Some brands managed to keep pace. Others did not. Unfortunately for everyone who grew up loving the Shack, it looks like they have become the latter.
Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5WPR, founder of the Ronn Torossian Foundation — and is regularly frequently featured in top tier publications such as Huffington Post, Business Insider, Wired Insights, Everything PR and the Observer.