Let’s take a trip back to yesteryear, back when Sinclair and Commodore and Apple were the early computer makers, before IBM hit the streets with the original PC. Where did you go for a geek fest? Radio Shack.
The company peaked at the turn of the century and has been on a downhill slide into obscurity every since. Why? How? Things change. Amazon is the gadget storefront of the 21st century where you can buy anything Radio Shack or Sears ever sold with just a few clicks on the screen. Amazon is the new Radio Shack.
Failure To Launch
Now, as a new Radio Shack, I don’t mean that Amazon is on the cusp of great failure. Quite the contrary. Amazon seems well positioned for long term success, whereas Radio Shack failed to recognize the future and stayed in the buggy whip business long after cars were on the streets.
Yet, there are similarities. Radio Shack was once the go to place for gadgetry of all kinds; electronic gear, especially, and particularly radio, television, telephones, computers, and anything associated with what geeks loved to do back in the day.
Today, Amazon is the place to go for such goods. OK, maybe a local Fry’s Electronics, but those are few and far between, relative to Radio Shack, and just don’t have the clout and goods you’ll find online at Amazon.
Amazon has everything. OK, almost everything. And with Prime, much of that everything can be purchased with a click and transported to your door without additional cost. That beats going to Fry’s but it does not beat the hands on experience that came with Radio Shack and what sets Apple’s Stores apart from competitors.
Will Amazon meet Radio Shack’s fate and fade into the sunset? Perhaps, but it also means someone needs to come up with a better Amazon because Amazon is a better Radio Shack. Regular readers know that Mac360’s staffers have a few axioms we trust.
- Nothing improves without change.
- What goes around comes around.
- Iterate before revolution.
- Differentiation matters.
Radio Shack, just like buggy whip manufacturers, failed to make the change into the new online world. Railroad owners didn’t realize they were in the transportation business and failed to see the advantage that trucks and airplanes brought to people and business.
Radio Shack had an obvious Achilles’ heel. Every company does. What is Amazons?