Imagine you have caught a cold and need some medicines to get well. Where would you go to buy medicines? If you said Walgreens, then you made the right choice.
Walgreens is one of the most renowned pharmacies in the US. It has a widespread network of pharmacies in the US. Today we will look at one of the most famous pharmacies in the US, Walgreens.
In this article, we will shed light on the history and current operations of the drug-retailing brand. Besides that, we will also conduct Walgreens SWOT Analysis to look at the internal and external factors that affect the operations of Walgreens.
The roots of Walgreens can be traced back to 1901 when Charles R. Walgreen Sr. purchased a drugstore in Chicago where he previously worked as a pharmacist. To ensure the quality of the pharmacy, Charles introduced his own line of drug products.
A few years later, the second pharmacy of Walgreens was opened in 1909. A few years later, Walgreens invented its very first product. In 1922, the drug store company invented a malted milkshake. This attracted a lot of customers since no one had expected a pharmacy to invent such an amazing drink.
In 1926, Walgreens opened its 100th branch in Chicago. A year later, Walgreens decided to go public and got listed on the stock exchange. After expanding in the US, the company purchased its first foreign property in Mexico.
After that, in 1960, Walgreens entered the Puerto Rico market. In the same year, Walgreens filled its 100 millionth prescription. Walgreens was the only drug store that had so many prescriptions.
In 1975, Walgreens generated revenue of $1 billion. As the pharmacy started earning huge profits, it also started paying attention to innovation. For example, in 1981, Walgreens was the first drug chain to install intercom computers that connected pharmacy departments via satellite.
In 1984, Walgreens opened its 1000th store in Chicago and later installed point-of-sale scanning in its stores. After ten years of opening its 100th store, Walgreens opened its 2000th store in 1994.
However, in 1999, the drugstore opened its online store to provide medicines to customers in a more convenient way. Moreover, a year later, Walgreens celebrated establishing its 3000th store.
The 2000s brought a lot of happening for Walgreens. In the early 2000s, the drug store became the first company to prescribe medicines in 14 languages. Besides that, the company opened its 5000th store in 2005.
In the coming years, Walgreens acquired some companies to increase its market share and customer base. Moreover, in 2009, the drug chain marked its presence in all 50 states of the US by opening 7000 stores all across the US.
In the coming years, Walgreens started offering vaccinations and kept expanding by acquiring smaller companies. In addition, the company paid more attention to cater online customers by launching a new online tool to engage online audiences.
In 2012, Walgreens opened its 8000th store in Los Angeles. The pharmacy later merged with another renowned international pharmacy-led health and beauty group named Alliance Boots to further expand its operations.
Currently, Walgreens has 8,884 stores all across the US. Walgreens has a high number of employees. In 2021, the drug chain employed 315,000 employees all across the US. Due to such a strong geographical presence, Walgreens generates high revenue. In 2022, the pharmacy generated revenue of $132.7 billion.
Now that we have discussed Walgreens’s history and current operations in detail, let’s look at what SWOT analysis is. A SWOT analysis is used by business analysts to analyze a company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
A SWOT template lets us see what internal and external factors impact an organization’s operations. So, now that we have enough understanding of SWOT analysis let’s proceed further and carry out Walgreens SWOT analysis.
Strengths are the plus points an organization possesses. These plus points help an organization to compete in the market. To succeed, an organization needs to have more strengths than weaknesses. Now let’s have a look at what strengths Walgreens possess.
Widespread Geographical Presence
Every brand looks for ways to expand its operations by increasing its geographical presence. A high geographical presence helps companies in generating high revenue. Walgreens is one of the few brands with many stores across the US.
In 2021, it was recorded that Walgreens had established 8,884 drug stores across the country, covering all states. Such a complex network of stores in the US provides a significant edge to the drug chain since no other brand has captured the market the way Walgreens has.
Brands try hard to gain recognition. However, the process of gaining recognition does not happen overnight. For example, Walgreens is one of the most famous brands in the pharmaceutical industry. Yet, it took more than a hundred years for Walgreens to be where it is now.
Walgreens is recognized all over the US. One reason for this recognition is its high geographical presence. For example, if you step out of your house to go to work, you will see at least one Walgreen store.
Besides that, the practices of the brand made Walgreens get recognition. For example, the company got mentioned in the Fortune 500 list of America’s largest corporations.
Social Responsibility Programs
Businesses have started initiating social responsibility programs to soften their image and improve their brand image. Moreover, many businesses have felt the need to give back something to society, so they carry out social responsibility programs.
Walgreens is famous for its social responsibility programs because it aims to generate positive externalities through its operations. For example, Walgreens’ disability inclusion program allows people with disabilities to join the workforce of Walgreens.
Besides that, Walgreens has started using renewable energy to protect the environment from carbon emissions. These steps taken by the drug chain to benefit society create a positive image of the brand in the eyes of consumers and help the brand to grow.
Weaknesses are any organization’s weak points that prevent it from achieving its real potential. Of course, every organization possesses some weaknesses. However, if an organization wants to do well, it must work on its weaknesses to transform them into strengths. This section will shed light on the weaknesses Walgreens possesses.
Having a large workforce is considered a very good thing. However, the expanse required to afford a high labor force is very high. Walgreens is one of the brands that has hired many employees. Currently, the brand has 315,000 employees on its payroll.
Such a huge labor force is a weakness for Walgreens since a lot of money is required to pay salaries to so many employees. In addition, having such a high number of laborers increases the company’s operating costs. As a result, the profit margins of the company are reduced.
Brands look forward to avoiding lawsuits because lawsuits involve brands in controversies that are not good for the brands. Walgreens has been surrounded by lawsuits and legal procedures.
These lawsuits have affected the brand image of Walgreens negatively. Many customers have felt reluctant to go to Walgreens stores after hearing about the accusations made by accusers. The legal controversies have really impacted the brand adversely.
Lack of International Presence
Brands look forward to expanding their operations internationally to attract customers and penetrate foreign markets. Walgreens established its drug store more than a century ago. Since then, Walgreens has never planned to expand its operations internationally.
Lack of international presence acts as a weakness for Walgreens because if Walgreens had moved to penetrate the international markets, it would have earned more profit and increased its customer base.
Opportunities are the chances present for organizations to attain growth in the future. Every organization gets opportunities to change its fate. However, those who fail to grab those opportunities fail to succeed. So now, let’s proceed and see what opportunities Walgreens have.
Every brand aims to move its operations to the international market after exploiting the domestic market. Walgreens has been operating in the domestic market for over a century. It’s high time for Walgreens to pursue international markets now.
Despite being so successful in the US, Walgreens never moved its operation overseas. However, this is the right time for Walgreens to tap the markets of developed and developing economies and maximize its profits.
Pay Attention to Marketing
Marketing has become an integral part of running a business. In the current market, any company that has weak marketing techniques won’t be able to succeed. Walgreens being a drug company, never felt the need to market its products and services
However, looking at the market’s current situation, Walgreen has an opportunity to invest in marketing. For example, Walgreen can ask doctors to endorse the drug brand. This can increase the customer base of Walgreen and contribute to increasing the revenue of the drug chain.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Brands are always looking for ways to penetrate the market and attain growth. Although there are several ways to do so, most brands form mergers with pre-existing brands and acquire other brands to consolidate their position in the market.
Walgreens has acquired several brands over the years. However, there is still an opportunity for Walgreens to acquire more brands and merge with some brands to increase its revenue and customer base.
Every organization faces threats from different things that are present in the external environment. If an organization wants to succeed, it must deal with its threats timely. This last section of the SWOT analysis looks at the threats Walgreens faces.
Businesses don’t like to compete in a highly competitive environment because such an environment reduces the profit margins of the companies competing. However, like many other industries, the drug industry also has high competition since many brands like Costco Wholesale, Kroger, and CVS Pharmacy exist in the market.
In such a highly competitive market, Walgreens has to innovate constantly and find ways to give its competitors a tough fight, or else they will steal the market share of Walgreen anytime.
Many brands feel threatened by pressure groups because they have the power to build a narrative and shape the opinions of the people.
Like any other brand, Walgreens feel threatened by the pressure groups because, on any given day, pressure groups can pick on any issue involving Walgreens and create a controversy that can negatively affect the image of the brand.
Changing Government Policies
Businesses ask for political stability and supportive government policies to practice freely. However, Walgreens feels threatened by the government’s changing policies specific to the drug Industry.
For example, in the future, the government may impose a ban on a specific input required by Walgreen to manufacture drugs or may ban the usage of any drug in the future. This uncertainty regarding government policies makes Walgreen feel threatened.
Walgreen is a renowned drug retailer in the US. The drug chain is famous for having more than 8,000 stores in the US. Looking at the company’s popularity, we decided to conduct Walgreens’ SWOT analysis.
However, before proceeding to the SWOT analysis, we shed some light on the history of Walgreens. We discovered that the drug chain was established more than a century ago, and the company expanded its operations and evolved over the years.
After discussing the drug brand’s history and current operations, we carried out Walgreens’ SWOT analysis. In this SWOT analysis, we discussed some of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats faced by Walgreens. The results of this SWOT analysis can also be represented in the form of a SWOT Matrix or a SWOT table. This article provided insight into the internal and external factors affecting the operations of Walgreens. Besides that, it also showed you how to conduct a SWOT analysis. Here are some more examples that will teach you more about SWOT analysis.