With titles like "The Ultimate Man Cave" and "Ways to Take Your Life Mobile," the lessons offer tips on how to choose the right electronic products, and where and how to set them up. The RadioShack Learning Center also includes online community features like message boards, and gives visitors the option to chat with subject matter experts.
Austin, Texas-based Powered provides the platform, the content, as well as account support for the RadioShack Learning Center. The platform allows users to sign in, keep track of the courses they have completed (and their quiz scores), as well as communicate with the instructor. Powered works with RadioShack's marketing brass to develop courses (complete with images, rich media and at times, video clips) that coincide with the electronics retailer's overall sales calendar (for example, there was a digital camera course tied to Mother's Day).
Although visitors to the RadioShack Learning Center will find direct links to related products alongside their lesson materials, driving immediate sales is not the retailer's primary goal. According to Buck Krawczyk, VP/marketing at Powered, the Learning Center's real value stems from two main areas--giving RadioShack the ability to leverage the "gratitude effect," and the consumer insights that Powered's social education platform can provide.
"It's a classic example of the 'gratitude effect'," Krawczyk says. "When consumers gain info without having to give anything in return, they think more positively about the brand. It's a sponsorship model that's been around for a while, but it's manifesting in different ways now on the Web."
As for the consumer insights, Powered surveys Learning Center participants upon completion of certain courses, mining quantitative and qualitative data about consumer attitudes toward specific products, promotions and the overall brand itself. The platform also offers stats on which courses were completed and user engagement time with each lesson.
Powered has been powering the RadioShack Learning Center for 18 months. The electronics retailer extended the relationship after an initial three-month trial. "The Learning Center has proven to be very popular by allowing consumers to understand new technologies at their own pace, while selecting and using the right solutions for their individual needs," says Peter Whitsett, EVP/general merchandising manager at RadioShack.
Other brands leveraging Powered's social commerce and education platform include HP, Sony and Motorola.