Radio Shack Chooses Playground Over Business School

The public takes no joy in watching the slow and painful demise of RadioShack. There was a time when RadioShack was a relevant brand in the retail technology game—before it became a larger version of that cardboard box in your attic full of forgotten accessories and tangled power chords.

RadioShack, clearly, has a public relations problem. In a world obsessed with the latest technology that offers the sleekest designs, fastest times and most powerful processors, nothing conveys the exact opposite image of modernity than the words “radio” and “shack.” Oddly, RadioShack’s name may be the most valuable asset the brand has going.

That’s how big the PR challenges are for RadioShack.

Today RadioShack resembles a store designed for those travelers who forget to pack their rechargers. But the RadioShack CEO, Joseph Magnacca, is trying to change that with “Let’s Play,” a business strategy aimed at making the RadioShack retail experience fun. That’s right, fun. How? By cleaning up stores. This means tossing those racks of extraneous chords that line the walls and aisles and adding more interactive displays. For example, the brand has recently launched stores in Manhattan that feature a wall of speakers that customers can plug their phones into and test out the merchandise.

The idea is to turn RadioShack locations into “playgrounds” where customers can test out the latest merchandise. Although this may be a step in the right direction, it hardly seems enough to turn around the brand’s image. Bid box stores and online alternatives offer greater variety and better prices. Perhaps RadioShack should worry less about the playground and more about business school.