Walgreens Boots Alliance SWOT Analysis / Matrix

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SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that can be used by Walgreens Boots Alliance managers to do a situational analysis of the company . It is an important technique to analyze the present Strengths (S), Weakness (W), Opportunities (O) & Threats (T) Walgreens Boots Alliance is facing in its current business environment.

The Walgreens Boots Alliance is one of the leading companies in its industry. Walgreens Boots Alliance maintains its dominant position in market by carefully analyzing and reviewing the SWOT analysis.  SWOT analysis an immensenly interactive process and requires effective coordination among various departments within the firm such as – marketing, finance, operations, management information systems and strategic planning.

The SWOT Analysis framework helps an organization to identify the internal strategic factors such as -strengths and weaknesses, & external strategic factors such as - opportunities and threats. It leads to a 2X2 matrix – also called SWOT Matrix.

The Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats (SWOT) Analysis / Matrix enables the managers of the Walgreens Boots Alliance to develop four types of strategies:

  • SO (strengths-opportunities) Strategies
  • WO (weaknesses-opportunities) Strategies
  • ST (strengths-threats) Strategies
  •  WT (weaknesses-threats) Strategies
Walgreens Boots Alliance swot analysis / matrix

SWOT Matrix Strategies Objective

The central purpose of SWOT matrix is to identify the strategies that a company can use to exploit external opportunities, counter threats, and build on & protect Walgreens Boots Alliance strengths, and eradicate its weaknesses.

Step by Step Guide to Walgreens Boots Alliance SWOT Analysis

Strengths of Walgreens Boots Alliance – Internal Strategic Factors


As one of the leading firms in its industry, Walgreens Boots Alliance has numerous strengths that enable it to thrive in the market place. These strengths not only help it to protect the market share in existing markets but also help in penetrating new markets. Based on Fern Fort University extensive research – some of the strengths of Walgreens Boots Alliance are –

  • Automation of activities brought consistency of quality to Walgreens Boots Alliance products and has enabled the company to scale up and scale down based on the demand conditions in the market.
  • Successful track record of developing new products – product innovation.
  • Highly successful at Go To Market strategies for its products.
  • Successful track record of integrating complimentary firms through mergers & acquisition. It has successfully integrated number of technology companies in the past few years to streamline its operations and to build a reliable supply chain.
  • High level of customer satisfaction – the company with its dedicated customer relationship management department has able to achieve a high level of customer satisfaction among present customers and good brand equity among the potential customers.
  • Strong Brand Portfolio – Over the years Walgreens Boots Alliance has invested in building a strong brand portfolio. The SWOT analysis of Walgreens Boots Alliance just underlines this fact. This brand portfolio can be extremely useful if the organization wants to expand into new product categories.
  • Reliable suppliers – It has a strong base of reliable supplier of raw material thus enabling the company to overcome any supply chain bottlenecks.
  • Highly skilled workforce through successful training and learning programs. Walgreens Boots Alliance is investing huge resources in training and development of its employees resulting in a workforce that is not only highly skilled but also motivated to achieve more.


Weakness of Walgreens Boots Alliance – Internal Strategic Factors


Weakness are the areas where Walgreens Boots Alliance can improve upon. Strategy is about making choices and weakness are the areas where an organization can improve using SWOT analysis and build on its competitive advantage and strategic positioning.

  • The marketing of the products left a lot to be desired. Even though the product is a success in terms of sale but its positioning and unique selling proposition is not clearly defined which can lead to the attacks in this segment from the competitors.
  • Investment in Research and Development is below the fastest growing players in the industry. Even though Walgreens Boots Alliance is spending above the industry average on Research and Development, it has not been able to compete with the leading players in the industry in terms of innovation. It has come across as a mature firm looking forward to bring out products based on tested features in the market.
  • The profitability ratio and Net Contribution % of Walgreens Boots Alliance are below the industry average.
  • Organization structure is only compatible with present business model thus limiting expansion in adjacent product segments.
  • Need more investment in new technologies. Given the scale of expansion and different geographies the company is planning to expand into, Walgreens Boots Alliance needs to put more money in technology to integrate the processes across the board. Right now the investment in technologies is not at par with the vision of the company.
  • Not highly successful at integrating firms with different work culture. As mentioned earlier even though Walgreens Boots Alliance is successful at integrating small companies it has its share of failure to merge firms that have different work culture.
  • Days inventory is high compare to the competitors – making the company raise more capital to invest in the channel. This can impact the long term growth of Walgreens Boots Alliance

Opportunities for Walgreens Boots Alliance – External Strategic Factors

  • The new technology provides an opportunity to Walgreens Boots Alliance to practices differentiated pricing strategy in the new market. It will enable the firm to maintain its loyal customers with great service and lure new customers through other value oriented propositions.
  • New environmental policies – The new opportunities will create a level playing field for all the players in the industry. It represent a great opportunity for Walgreens Boots Alliance to drive home its advantage in new technology and gain market share in the new product category.
  • The market development will lead to dilution of competitor’s advantage and enable Walgreens Boots Alliance to increase its competitiveness compare to the other competitors.
  • Lower inflation rate – The low inflation rate bring more stability in the market, enable credit at lower interest rate to the customers of Walgreens Boots Alliance.
  • Stable free cash flow provides opportunities to invest in adjacent product segments. With more cash in bank the company can invest in new technologies as well as in new products segments. This should open a window of opportunity for Walgreens Boots Alliance in other product categories.
  • Decreasing cost of transportation because of lower shipping prices can also bring down the cost of Walgreens Boots Alliance’s products thus providing an opportunity to the company - either to boost its profitability or pass on the benefits to the customers to gain market share.
  • Economic uptick and increase in customer spending, after years of recession and slow growth rate in the industry, is an opportunity for Walgreens Boots Alliance to capture new customers and increase its market share.
  • Government green drive also opens an opportunity for procurement of Walgreens Boots Alliance products by the state as well as federal government contractors.

Threats Walgreens Boots Alliance Facing - External Strategic Factors

  • Imitation of the counterfeit and low quality product is also a threat to Walgreens Boots Alliance’s product especially in the emerging markets and low income markets.
  • Liability laws in different countries are different and Walgreens Boots Alliance may be exposed to various liability claims given change in policies in those markets.
  • Growing strengths of local distributors also presents a threat in some markets as the competition is paying higher margins to the local distributors.
  • Increasing trend toward isolationism in the American economy can lead to similar reaction from other government thus negatively impacting the international sales.
  • Rising pay level especially movements such as $15 an hour and increasing prices in the China can lead to serious pressure on profitability of Walgreens Boots Alliance
  • Rising raw material can pose a threat to the Walgreens Boots Alliance profitability.
  • The company can face lawsuits in various markets given - different laws and continuous fluctuations regarding product standards in those markets.
  • Changing consumer buying behavior from online channel could be a threat to the existing physical infrastructure driven supply chain model.

Limitations of SWOT Analysis for Walgreens Boots Alliance

Although the SWOT analysis is widely used as a strategic planning tool, the analysis does have its share of limitations.

  • Certain capabilities or factors of an organization can be both a strength and weakness at the same time. This is one of the major limitations of SWOT analysis . For example changing environmental regulations can be both a threat to company it can also be an opportunity in a sense that it will enable the company to be on a level playing field or at advantage to competitors if it able to develop the products faster than the competitors.
  • SWOT does not show how to achieve a competitive advantage, so it must not be an end in itself.
  • The matrix is only a starting point for a discussion on how proposed strategies could be implemented. It provided an evaluation window but not an implementation plan based on strategic competitiveness of Walgreens Boots Alliance
  • SWOT is a static assessment - analysis of status quo with few prospective changes. As circumstances, capabilities, threats, and strategies change, the dynamics of a competitive environment may not be revealed in a single matrix.
  • SWOT analysis may lead the firm to overemphasize a single internal or external factor in formulating strategies. There are interrelationships among the key internal and external factors that SWOT does not reveal that may be important in devising strategies.

Weighted SWOT Analysis of Walgreens Boots Alliance

In light of the above mentioned limitations of the SWOT analysis / matrix, corporate managers decided to provide weightage to each internal strength and weakness of the firm. Organizations also assess the likelihood of events taking place in the coming future and how strong their impact could be on company's performance.

This method is called Weighted SWOT analysis. It is better than doing simplistic SWOT analysis because with Weighted SWOT Analysis Walgreens Boots Alliance managers can focus on the most critical factors and discount the non-important one. It also solves the long list problem where organizations ends up making a long list but none of the factors deemed too critical.

Limitation of Weighted SWOT analysis of Walgreens Boots Alliance

This approach also suffers from one major drawback - it focus on individual importance of factor rather than how they are collectively important and impact the business holistically.

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SWOT Worksheet & Template

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References / Citations & Bibliography

  • M. E. Porter, Competitive Strategy(New York: Free Press, 1980)
  • A. D. Chandler, Strategy and Structure (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1962)
  • O. E. Williamson, Markets and Hierarchies(New York: Free Press, 1975);
  • L. Wrigley, Divisional Autonomy and Diversification (PhD, Harvard Business School, 1970)
  • R. E. White, Generic Business Strategies, Organizational Context and Performance: An Empirical Investigation, Strategic Management Journal7 (1986)