RadioShack has launched RadioShack Labs to support inventors and startups and boost new product innovation, offering a roadmap that takes them from concept to production to distribution.
The company teamed up with PCH, a respected leader in product innovation, to launch the labs. As part of the relationship, RadioShack intends to offer select PCH Access companies special retail terms, and create a direct path to up to 2,000 RadioShack stores and preferred positioning on radioshack.com.
With PCH, RadioShack plans to implement a direct-to-store model for select products, reducing inventory requirements and increasing inventory turn in stores. The company said that RadioShack Labs is designed to enable innovative startups to sell to a significant market and will provide considerable consumer awareness through marketing promotion, as well as strong retail and online presence. By the end of year, RadioShack plans to have these products in a dedicated space in-store.
"It's long been our belief that innovation and collaboration go hand-in-hand. As we transform RadioShack, it's important that we simplify and streamline the channels that encourage inventors and entrepreneurs to join us in the retail environment," said RadioShack CEO Joe Magnacca. "We see so many exciting consumer products coming from startups and we want these differentiated products in our stores. Traditionally, big retailing requires big inventory, but we can improve our supply chain and be a more nimble partner."
RadioShack has been closely collaborating with PCH since January. Magnacca believes that the retailer can rejuvenate its retail offers by combining new retail terms that support innovative startups with PCH's experience in manufacturing, packaging and delivering product direct to stores.
"Every day we talk to startups and see new products," said Liam Casey, founder and CEO of PCH. "But the retail model, which demands large capital in the channel, doesn't typically work for startups and this hurts innovation. Together with Joe and the RadioShack team, we looked at removing the barriers that prevent unique products from getting on to shelves, and as a result created a partnership that supports product innovation, while freeing up capital that would otherwise be tied up in the inventory channel."
Through its established program, PCH Access, PCH has brought unique products to market such as LittleBits — modular electronics kits that will be in select RadioShack stores in late summer.
In addition to products that come through the PCH Access program, RadioShack Labs plans to set up a dedicated landing page on its website, inviting people to submit new product ideas. The goal is to identify dozens of new products per year, and to use the PCH Access program to turn concepts into products ready for national retail. The submission page is not ready yet, but those who wish to submit can go to www.radioshack.com/RSLabs, and enter their email addresses so they can receive notice when the page goes live.
"We are continually inspired by the incredible creativity that is coming out of the maker and inventor communities, and wanted to find a way to further our collaboration. New ideas shouldn't be sacrificed for outdated retail models, so our goal is to change the model, and open new channels for ideas. With PCH's support we have the manufacturing, packaging and distribution network to bring these products to life," added Magnacca.