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Why Radio Shack Failed the Tech World

It may not seem like it was all that long ago when you would go to any mall in the United States and the one technology store that you would always go to was Radio Shack. Whether it was just for that particular cable that you needed for your stereo or computer, to take a look at the latest toys and gadgets on the market or to invest in the batteries that they always seemed to be selling, Radio Shack was the place that you could count on to have just what you needed. So where did it all go wrong? There are a number of reasons that led to the eventual demise of this once-proud chain of stores and led to why Radio Shack failed the tech world when they were once kings of the mountain.

  • Failure to Execute – One of Radio Shack’s big flaws over the last twenty years or so has been the failure to execute sound methods to keep up with the competition. When Radio Shack first started there was no real competition for them to be concerned about. As far as they were concerned they were the team to beat when it came the technology business and they used their marketing campaigns well to keep it that way. However, they failed to keep up with the innovations that went on around them, letting companies like IBM and Dell chip away at their computer business until they eventually phased it out completely in the early 1990s.
  • Failure to Keep Building Their Brand – Radio Shack still stood tall among the competition even after giving up on manufacturing computers and cell phones on their own but they decided not to concentrate on marketing and building up what they were best at and strongest with and kept trying new concepts and new types of stores to compete, all of which failed. All of the offshoot stores they opened were closed by the late 1990s. Even with that failure they were still on top when it came to offering gear and gadgets and the stock was still trading well.
  • Loss of Focus – All of the jumping around from business to business to try to find just the right technology niche that worked really left Radio Shack only with the reputation of the local retailer that you could turn to for components and cables for audio/visual equipment and computers. This was certainly not going to be enough to sustain a business of over 4,000 stores in the long run and the availability of items on the Internet from websites and auction sites, combined with big retailers like Best Buy, Target, Amazon and Wal-Mart were enough to do them in.

Radio Shack failed to take advantage of the position they were in as a retailer of technology and tried to be everything to everyone instead of focusing on aspects that they did really well. The opportunities were long there for them to be a giant in retail like Wal-Mart or Amazon but they failed to capitalize on the opportunities, leading to their latest bout with bankruptcy, the closure of thousands of stores and a very bleak and murky future, if there is one at all.