Radio Shack Wants To Fix Your Phone, Its Business Model

We’ve followed Radio Shack’s ongoing quest for relevance here at Consumerist for most of the last decade. A focus on mobile gadgets hasn’t helped, since mobile phones and plans are sold almost everywhere. The company’s second-quarter results show that its funny Super Bowl ads didn’t help, either. What can Radio Shack offer that no one else has?

If the company can’t answer that question, it won’t survive. Earlier this week, before those terrible financial results came out, The Shack announced a novel plan: they want to fix your out-of-warranty phone. The “Fix it Here” program already exists at a few stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area near its headquarters, and it could expand to as many as 700 nationwide by the end of the year.

This plan is secretly brilliant, but only if the company is able to provide the service that people actually want by fixing their phones, avoiding the chain’s current reliance on upsells and the sale of service plans.

Of course, time is a flat circle. Twenty years ago, Radio Shack started a program where they would accept out-of-warranty electronics from outside companies: fixing customers’ TVs and VCRs back when repairing them was actually a thing, instead of our current preference for throwing them away. Back then, repairs took a few weeks: the idea of this new plan is to fix phones the same day, in-store, because we can’t function without our phones.

Will this plan work to actually get people to walk into the hundreds of Radio Shack stores equipped to make repairs? We’ll find out in the next year.

But hey, if the CEO can turn things around, he’ll get some sweet bonuses.

RadioShack, Short on Shoppers, Crowdsources Inventory [Bloomberg BusinessWeek]
Can Radio Shack fix it? [Marketplace]