Fort Worth, Texas — RadioShack and PCH have launched RadioShack Labs, a collaboration to support inventors and start-ups that will promote product innovation and provide a path from concept to production to distribution.
PCH, through its PCH Access division, helps start-ups and inventors overcome the hurdles of logistics and get their products in the hands of consumers, the company said.
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 retailer said.
RadioShack Labs is designed to enable innovative start-ups to sell to a significant market and will provide considerable consumer awareness through marketing promotion, as well as strong retail and online presence, the companies said. By the end of year, RadioShack plans to have these products in a dedicated space in stores.
"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," Joe Magnacca, CEO of RadioShack, said in a statement. "We see so many exciting consumer products coming from start-ups 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."
Magnacca continued, "PCH has a proven track record of bringing unique ideas and products to market. We have been closely collaborating with them since January of this year. With the combination of new retail terms that support innovative start-ups, and PCH's experience in manufacturing, packaging and delivering product direct to stores, we believe we can rejuvenate our retail offerings."
Liam Casey, founder and CEO of PCH, commented, “Every day we talk to start-ups and see new products, but the retail model, which demands large capital in the channel, doesn't typically work for start-ups 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, the popular modular electronics kits, which will be in select RadioShack stores in late summer.
In addition to products that come through the PCH Access program, RadioShack Labs is inviting new product ideas from innovators, inventors and makers. To learn more about how to collaborate with RadioShack and PCH, go to RadioShack.com/RSLabs.
Inventors can submit information and a notice will be sent when the site is live and ready to take ideas in the coming weeks. Once an idea is submitted, it will be reviewed and feedback will be provided on whether there is a potential fit. 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.
"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," said Magnacca.