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 Forum index » DIY Hardware and Software
Radio Shack wants to hear from DIYers
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kjackman



Joined: Sep 05, 2010
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Location: Utah, USA

PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 9:25 pm    Post subject: Radio Shack wants to hear from DIYers
Subject description: no, really... check it out
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Leave comments on their blog.
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CJ Miller



Joined: Jan 07, 2007
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PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

This is surprising.

But their business model still seems to be going along the same lines it has been. Keep in mind though that voting for your fave three things could be just as easily used to decrease their selection, as expand it.

Companies just need to know what business they are in. There is lots of money in selling TVs and phones.... so why doesn't Digi-key offer them? Because they are committed to selling electronics components! It is their business.

Radio... um... The Shack like to sell whatever. If they mainly sell appliances and toys, vs an op amp, soldering iron, etc. They are not going to make much off the electronics DIY without committing to a decent selection of stuff on hand. If anything, my guess is that the DIY is more like a promotion to them, just a way to get customers into the door. If 20 more DIYers come to the store every day, and one or two "want a cellphone with that", then those parts have paid for themselves, and The Shack are doing their job TM.
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v-un-v
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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 1:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

No Radio Shack/Tandy left in the UK any more. Bought out by Carphone Warehouse in the naughties.
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loydb



Joined: Feb 04, 2010
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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Radio Shack hasn't been DIY-esque since the 80s. I'm not sure how they're going to get back into it now...
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kjackman



Joined: Sep 05, 2010
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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

My advice was to set up one RS store in each metro area as a DIY "super-store." That store could carry all the components used in all the most popular types of DIY projects -- DIY synth/audio, HAM radio, robotics, Arduino, everything. They could use their clout to negotiate rock-bottom component prices a la Wal Mart. They could develop and sell beginner's kits for all these projects.

Re-brand these stores as "Radio Shack Extreme" or something, to set them apart.

Other interesting ideas that others had:
* Sell night classes for newbies where they build things they can take home with them.
* Rent fully-equipped lab space at $X/hr, with o-scopes, freq. counters, the works.

There's lots they could do, if they really wanted to.
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kkissinger



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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

She mentioned DIYrs and Makers...

A quick google search reveals that in just three years, the "Maker" movement now has conventions in many cities throughout the country.

So, they are likely wanting to get in on the action.

Synth DIY would likely be a relatively specialized sub-set of Makers/hobbiests.

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richardc64



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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

It's laughable. The comments in the blog are funny, too; as if it would be practical for any store to stock the many obscure items the commenters hanker for. (Wireless light switches? Really?) Catering to DIYers might work by mail order but the point of having diy items in a store was so one didn't have to wait for mail order. And why choose RS when there's so many better mail order sources?

Modder 1 wrote:
Sure Radio Shack is not going to make the big money on small electronic components as they would on cell phones, but they would be contributing to a kids education which Radio Shack can take real pride in.


Yeah, good luck getting RS shareholders to be satisfied with the dividends derived from pride.

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Dan Lavin



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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I was waiting for RichardC64 to jump in on this one! Wink

In corporate-speak, this is no longer a core competency of RS. I think a better solution would be for Spark Fun to open stores up in major metropolitan areas....or near major engineering universities. RS might think about buying Spark Fun, but I'm sure they would have them selling nothing but mobile phones within a few weeks.

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emdot_ambient



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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Modder 1 wrote:
Sure Radio Shack is not going to make the big money on small electronic components as they would on cell phones...

I don't know what the mark up on cell phones is for retailer like RS, but back when they DID stock a fairly large supply of standard DIY electronics parts (when I worked for them in the mid-1980s), the highest profit mark-up in the whole store WAS electronics parts...well, actually it was telephone accessories like 2:1 phone splitters, which each store bought for like $0.12 and sold (by the dozen) for $4.95!

I don't know what their business model is anymore. Back then stores actually bought from the district wareshouses, at a profit to the warehouse. District warehouses purchased from Regional warehouses, again at a profit for the Regional warehouses. Regional warehouses bought from the manufacturing side, again at a profit for the manufacturing side. Internal marketing and profit was the name of the game. So the price was inflated all the way along. Those $4.95 phone splitters that cost twelve cents to the store probably only cost two cents to make...or less.

But any store that could sell a decent amount of DIY parts could seriously enhance their profit margin, thus driving up profit even with not-so-great total sales amounts. And it was on profit that the manager's bonus was based, not total sales.

So if enough people get into DIY to make them stock even regular stuff, they'll want to do it...they're getting all reminiscent of the past sounds to me. But I don't think they'll ever go back to having 3/4 of their walls full of electronics components.

Oh...and of course they can't compete on price or selection with existing parts suppliers, so unless you're really totally desperate for having a part RIGHT NOW! I don't see why anyone would pay RS's inflated prices instead of waiting for an online order to come in. In an emergency, yeah, I can see it...but I can't see going in and dropping a couple hundred bucks at RS on parts, not like I used to see people do in 1985. Man, did we love those guys! See one of them coming and I felt like breaking out the Scotch like at a friggin' casino "Complimentary single malt, sir? Take your time. If you need anything, I'll be right here!" **hands wringing in greed**

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kjackman



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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

They don't have to keep all those parts in the front store area; they could keep a lot of them in back somewhere. Granted, they'd need more floor space than most of them have right now. In the back, they could have thousands of those skinny warehouse-style cardboard boxes just like any warehouse does.

They don't have to stock every component imaginable, just the ones used by the more popular DIY projects out there. Let DIYers submit a parts list (on line or on a piece of paper in the store), and the staff could run back, fulfill the order, and bring up all the parts in a bag. This is the way the local electronics suppliers work; it could work for RS too.

Heck, if they were smart, they could assemble project kits "just-in-time" style from project parts lists, like MFOS and all the others. Work with designers like Ray Wilson to license their kits and designs. List all these projects on line. Customers can order on line, RS staff gathers up the parts, then the customer comes in an hour later to pick up the kit. It's a cinch!
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Danno Gee Ray



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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

If they want to cater to DIY'ers, they need to HIRE DIY'ers. At the store level, regional level AND Corporate level. To sell to us, they NEED to understand us, or be one of us. Not numerically, or analytically, but at the core. They used to have that. Radio Shack got its name from being a store run by HAMs and catering to that community.

If they want to reap the benefits of the new revolution, they have to get their religion back.
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bod



Joined: Apr 28, 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

whilst any business looking to expand should, and always will, attempt to tap into current social trends (maker movement/conventions as mentioned above), if we look to the UK's Maplin stores, we can all see this is not going to go down well.... (for the same reasons RS stopped doing the exact same thing in the past).

maplin have huge over heads, being on the high street, and charge a premium for small items of specialist interest (not to mention the rest of thier products which are generally pretty bad quality and over priced). take a salecom toggle switch for example, SPDT from maplin is £2.49. the same toggle from Rapid, is about 50pence. sure, you have a £30 minimum order or you need to pay £6ish in postage, but at least i know i'm not being ripped off and being ridden by a spotty teenager who doesnt know anything with my trousers round my ankles, up against the cash desk.... Wink

not to mention the number of times they put IC's and other static sensitive parts in little, non sealing plastic bags, tie them up and crush the legs and generally just break what youre about to be ridden for.

conclusion; good for emergancies, bad for my wallet.


on the other hand, if they want to re-release a nice cheap, rebranded moog keyboard synth like the MG1, i'd be well into that! Very Happy
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kkissinger



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Interesting comments about Radio Shack.

In years gone by, the store used to be more interesting. They had cool toys -- things like plasma lamps and a very cool coin sorter that my kids got hold of and destroyed and that I'd replace if they still sold it.

I don't see how they can possibly stock enough parts to compete with Mouser or Digikey. Speaking for myself, I simply stock my workshop with common parts -- the same way that one would stock one's kitchen with commonly needed ingredients. They may do better to supply high-end tools -- i.e., soldering stations, PIC burners, etc. To supply square and round metal punches would be a plus.

Also, they might want to carry spacers and PCB mounting hardware.

In general, I purchase solder, batteries, and etchant from Radio Shack. They have some handy soldering accessories (the spring-loaded solder sucker is really great).

Also, bring back the 100-in-1 electronics kits! I would purchase them as gifts for my own kids and grandkids. I agree, the modern, plastic "snap together" things aren't nearly as good as the old kits (where the circuits were easily modified, etc.)

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emdot_ambient



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Funny thing is, RS, as someone pointed out, started out as a ham radio store, which was later bought out by Tandy, which started out as a leather supply store (shoe repair stuff), which turned into a leatherworking company that supplied tools and supplies for people to make their own wallets and whatnot.

So its very foundation is steeped in the DIY. But I'm not so sure the maker/DIY community is really all that significant of a market. I mean, I look around me and I don't see anyone else I know doing it. Not in electronics. Some are into DIY car stuff, others home brewing...not much else really.

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cloudscapes



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

no more RadioShack in my neck of canada. as far as I know. they'd been all bought out and relabeled as "source : by circuit city" when it was clear they only wanted to concentrate on cellphones, ipods, cameras and unmoddable hifi equipement. good riddance.
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