Comprehensive SWOT Analysis of Coles

Updated on: Sep 19, 2021

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SWOT Analysis of any Company describes their Strengths and Weaknesses, the internal factors of the company and Opportunities & Threats, the outer factors of the company. SWOT Analysis helps the decision-makers of the company to devise a strategic plan following the internal and external factors of the company.

Coles is one of the leading brands in America within the Lifestyle and Retail sector. Before diving into the SWOT Analysis of Coles, let’s get a brief idea about Coles Supermarket.

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About Coles


Coles Brand Logo - SWOT Analysis of Coles | IIDE


Coles is an Australia-based Supermarket, retail, and Consumer Business founded in 1914 by George Coles. It is one of the popular and preferred supermarkets in Australia running in strong competition with Woolworths. With the progression of this Supermarket, Coles started more than 762 stores throughout Australia. 

The parent company of Coles is Wesfarmers Limited. It deals in the Retail business and has the USP of selling advanced yet affordable goods with the motto of “Helping Australia Grow”.


Let’s discuss what made Coles stand above the crowd by looking into their Vision and mission:


Coles Vision and Mission Statement


Coles’s vision is to become the most trusted retailer in Australia and have a high long-term shareholder value. What makes this company reliable is the authenticity of the products and services that they provide. Coles believes in reliability, responsibility, and delivering quality products to its customers. 

Coles’s mission is to sustainably feed all Australians to help them lead healthier and happier lives. This Supermarket firm also focuses on sustainable development and social aspects such as employment, supporting their suppliers, and eventually making a positive impact on the world. 


Now, let us discuss the marketing strategies of Coles that made it a huge success in Australia:


Strategic Analysis of Coles


There are 3 major strategic pillars of coles. They are:


  • Smarter Selling: This is achieved through increased efficiency and a rapid pace of change.

Coles’ basic strategy is both technology-driven stores and supply chain. Strategic procurement will lead to network and format optimization, & also an effective and efficient strategic supply chain. 

  • Motivating customers:  By delivering the best value food and beverages to its customers. 

Coles is customer-centric. They provide customized solutions with a proven track record and targeted value proposition with the option of on-the-go shopping. It’s a destination for health, wellness, and convenience. 

  • Standing and winning together: Standing together as a team and team members, suppliers, and as a community.

Increasing employee engagement by building a healthy environment at the workplace. Encouraging sustainable development for the next generations. They believe in the phrase ‘Unity in Diversity’ and innovating together.


SWOT Analysis Of Coles


Read the following SWOT Analysis of Coles group to find out what are the various factors that define the success of this firm currently and the factors that would be a change-maker for the company in future. 


1. Strengths Of Coles


Strengths of Coles - SWOT Analysis of Coles | IIDE


Below are the strengths of Coles Supermarket that helped them gain a strong position in Australia as a reliable supermarket:


  1. Level of customer satisfaction: Coles invests a lot of resources in its customer relationship management and they have been successful in earning customers loyalty. They emphasize their customer needs and preferences and try to deliver the same which results in high levels of customer satisfaction which is one of their greatest strengths.
  2. Brand portfolio: This supermarket legend, over the years has put a lot of effort into creating a powerful brand portfolio. If the company wishes to extend their product range, its brand portfolio will be a beneficial factor for them. 
  3. Strong dealer community: It has established a culture among distributors, retailers, and dealers wherein the dealers not only market the company’s products but also spend in educating salesmen to explain to customers how they can receive the most out of their goods and services.
  4. Performance: Coles has developed a reputation for successfully entering new markets. The expansion has allowed the company to diversify its revenue streams and reduce economic cycle risk in the markets it serves. Through mergers and acquisitions, they have a proven track record of successfully merging complementary firms.
  5. Online management: Coles has got the most impressive ways for their customers to order groceries and their other products online. They have got satisfying delivery/pick up services. If you want to pick something from them, here’s how you can.


2. Weaknesses Of Coles


Following are the weaknesses of the Coles group that they need to work on in order to sustain their position in the industry:


  1. Limited business: Despite being one of the leading companies, Coles faces difficulties expanding into new product segments due to its current ethos. 
  2. Technological barriers: Coles needs to invest more in technology to link operations across the board, given the scale of its expansion and the various geographies it plans to enter. As we are in the Fourth Industrial Revolution era, It is important that companies like Coles start investing more and more in technologies. 
  3. Adverse publicity: Negative publicity surrounding Coles’ aggressive negotiating tactics with Australian suppliers has affected the public image of the company. 


3. Opportunities for Coles


Opportunities for Coles - SWOT Analysis of Coles | IIDE


Some of the game-changer opportunities for Coles are listed below:


  1. Lower inflation rate: Reduced inflation rate brings more stability to the market, allowing Coles customers to obtain loans at a lower interest rate. 
  2. Newmarket opportunities: With the help of the government and the adoption of new innovative technologies, Coles can easily enter a new emerging market whenever they want to. Having experience and being well known also adds up to this opportunity. In similar different/other product fields, an organization’s core skills can be a success. For example, GE healthcare research contributed to the emergence and development of better oil drilling machines.
  3. Changing eating habits: An increase in demand for plant-based food is an opportunity Coles can grab and easily work on. Australia has seen drastic changes in its appetite for meat consumption from the past 2-3years. They were once the world’s meat-eating capital. Now locals have started believing that being vegetarian will help create a kinder and sustainable world. More than 11milion farm animals will be saved from slaughter. 760 litres of water can also be saved.


Veganism is also gaining popularity amongst Australians which can be another big opportunity for Coles to create a monopoly in the market. 


4. Threats to Coles:


Though Coles group are the leading brand in the industry, there are several potential threats that can thwart the growth of this company:


  1. Competition: Compared to its competitors, Coles operates on low margins. As per FY19, Coles generated revenue of 3,817.5 crores AUD. Whereas, Woolworths Group, Coles biggest competition generated 6,367 crores AUD of revenue. 
  2. The indecisiveness of consumers: Lack of proper communication amongst employees of the company led to customers getting confused between brands and products they offer. It has also been observed that customers opt for smaller and independent retail shops over bigger supermarkets for necessities including groceries that are near to their residential areas. 
  3. High turnover rate: This is the most severe challenge faced by Coles. The reason for their high employee turnover rate is their poor wages or salaries. It becomes insufficient for their employees to manage everything in the given salary/wage. They also do not seem valued and recognized for their work.


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Coles is a leading retail chain in Australia, and it is performing well in the Market. Coles is only challenged and concerned by Woolworths, which is giving tough competition to it by implementing various deals, adapting technology, and expanding its customer base.

Coles can improve on its strategic planning and positioning. They can surely empathize more with their employees on salary/wage-related issues. Unfortunately, the pandemic resulted in a lot of backlash and problematic issues related to their operation and supply chain management during the pandemic. This can be a huge problem in the future and needs immediate action.

Having a digital presence has also become one of the crucial parts for companies around the world. This requires digital marketing skills. If you’re curious to learn and become an expert in this field, do check out what IIDE-Indian Institute Of Digital Education has to offer. 

You can attend Free Digital Marketing Masterclass which comes up every week. We also offer Short Term Certifications In Digital Marketing. All in one place. Thanks for reading the blog. Do share your thoughts. If you owned an empire like Coles with more than 100years of history what advancements and changes would you bring?


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Aditya Shastri

Lead Trainer & Head of Learning & Development at IIDE

Leads the Learning & Development segment at IIDE. He is a Content Marketing Expert and has trained 6000+ students and working professionals on various topics of Digital Marketing. He has been a guest speaker at prominent colleges in India including IIMs......[Read full bio]


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