June 28, 2001, 12:00 AM

Radio Shack is using the Internet to make business processes easier

Radio Shack finds "no-brainer" ways to use the Internet. Radio Shack Online provides training tests, sales contest results, scheduling and memos. "It`s amazing how little things have such impact," says an executive.

Radio Shack is in the midst of a five-year plan to use broadband web access to improve its business by making life easier for its sales associates. Robert Gellman, vice president of online strategies, told attendees at this week’s Retail Systems 2001 conference in Chicago that helping the company’s 30,000 sales associates answer questions for customers means making it easier for sales associates to find those answers in their stores. The way to do that has been to develop the Radio Shack Online system, through which the company uses a broadband store connection to its more than 5,100 stores to provide such tools as training tests, sales contest rankings, product manuals, battery search tools, employee scheduling and memos, checklists and surveys, among others.

Gellman did not provide details but says that the Radio Shack Online endeavor lowers operating costs and helps associates increase sales. “These ideas for improvement are no-brainers,” says Gellman. “But it’s amazing how these little things have such a big impact.”

Radio Shack says it plans to use Radio Shack Online for more than putting sales and management processes online. Plans include allowing stores to download training videos on demand, so sales associates won’t have to travel to a district office or other locations for live training. Avoiding the travel allows associates to start selling new products sooner. The company also is considering implementing handheld wireless devices to allow salespeople to conduct transactions right on the floor of the store. Radio Shack also wants to combine its POS network that handles store transactions and the private Radio Shack Online corporate network to allow associates to make more complex transactions, such as for Ultimate TV, which requires a variety of input requirements for purchase. Doing the transaction on a combined system would improve efficiencies for sales associates and make the transaction faster for customers.


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