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Kotobukiya (7809) SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / MBA Resources

Introduction to SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix for Kotobukiya (Japan)


Based on various researches at Oak Spring University , Kotobukiya is operating in a macro-environment that has been destablized by – technology disruption, increasing household debt because of falling income levels, there is increasing trade war between United States & China, banking and financial system is disrupted by Bitcoin and other crypto currencies, wage bills are increasing, challanges to central banks by blockchain based private currencies, supply chains are disrupted by pandemic , increasing commodity prices, talent flight as more people leaving formal jobs, etc



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Introduction to SWOT Analysis of Kotobukiya


SWOT stands for an organization’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats . At Oak Spring University, we believe that Kotobukiya can use SWOT analysis as a strategic management tool to assess the current internal strengths and weaknesses of the Kotobukiya, and to figure out the opportunities and threats in the macro environment – technological, environmental, political, economic, social, demographic, etc in which Kotobukiya operates in.

According to Harvard Business Review, 75% of the managers use SWOT analysis for various purposes such as – evaluating current scenario, strategic planning, new venture feasibility, personal growth goals, new market entry, Go To market strategies, portfolio management and strategic trade-off assessment, organizational restructuring, etc.




SWOT Objectives / Importance of SWOT Analysis and SWOT Matrix


SWOT analysis of Kotobukiya can be done for the following purposes –
1. Strategic planning of Kotobukiya
2. Improving business portfolio management of Kotobukiya
3. Assessing feasibility of the new initiative in Japan
4. Making a Retail (Specialty) sector specific business decision
5. Set goals for the organization
6. Organizational restructuring of Kotobukiya




Strengths of Kotobukiya | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Strengths in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The strengths of Kotobukiya are -

Ability to lead change in Retail (Specialty)

– Kotobukiya is one of the leading players in the Retail (Specialty) industry in Japan. Over the years it has not only transformed the business landscape in the Retail (Specialty) industry in Japan but also across the existing markets. The ability to lead change has enabled Kotobukiya in – penetrating new markets, reaching out to new customers, and providing different value propositions to different customers in the international markets.

Successful track record of launching new products

– Kotobukiya has launched numerous new products in last few years, keeping in mind evolving customer preferences and competitive pressures. Kotobukiya has effective processes in place that helps in exploring new product needs, doing quick pilot testing, and then launching the products quickly using its extensive distribution network.

Strong track record of project management in the Retail (Specialty) industry

– Kotobukiya is known for sticking to its project targets. This enables the firm to manage – time, project costs, and have sustainable margins on the projects.

Highly skilled collaborators

– Kotobukiya has highly efficient outsourcing and offshoring strategy. It has resulted in greater operational flexibility and bringing down the costs in highly price sensitive Retail (Specialty) industry. Secondly the value chain collaborators of Kotobukiya have helped the firm to develop new products and bring them quickly to the marketplace.

Effective Research and Development (R&D)

– Kotobukiya has innovation driven culture where significant part of the revenues are spent on the research and development activities. This has resulted in – Kotobukiya staying ahead in the Retail (Specialty) industry in terms of – new product launches, superior customer experience, highly competitive pricing strategies, and great returns to the shareholders.

Ability to recruit top talent

– Kotobukiya is one of the leading players in the Retail (Specialty) industry in Japan. It is in a position to attract the best talent available in Japan. The firm has a robust talent identification program that helps in identifying the brightest.

Low bargaining power of suppliers

– Suppliers of Kotobukiya in the Services sector have low bargaining power. Kotobukiya has further diversified its suppliers portfolio by building a robust supply chain across various countries. This helps Kotobukiya to manage not only supply disruptions but also source products at highly competitive prices.

Digital Transformation in Retail (Specialty) industry

- digital transformation varies from industry to industry. For Kotobukiya digital transformation journey comprises differing goals based on market maturity, customer technology acceptance, and organizational culture. Kotobukiya has successfully integrated the four key components of digital transformation – digital integration in processes, digital integration in marketing and customer relationship management, digital integration into the value chain, and using technology to explore new products and market opportunities.

Diverse revenue streams

– Kotobukiya is present in almost all the verticals within the Retail (Specialty) industry. This has provided Kotobukiya a diverse revenue stream that has helped it to survive disruptions such as global pandemic in Covid-19, financial disruption of 2008, and supply chain disruption of 2021.

Training and development

– Kotobukiya has one of the best training and development program in Services industry. The effectiveness of the training programs can be measured in – employees retention, in-house promotion, loyalty, new venture initiation, lack of conflict, and high level of both employees and customer engagement.

Learning organization

- Kotobukiya is a learning organization. It has inculcated three key characters of learning organization in its processes and operations – exploration, creativity, and expansiveness. The work place at Kotobukiya is open place that encourages instructiveness, ideation, open minded discussions, and creativity. Employees and leaders at Kotobukiya emphasize – knowledge, initiative, and innovation.

Superior customer experience

– The customer experience strategy of Kotobukiya in Retail (Specialty) industry is based on four key concepts – personalization, simplification of complex needs, prompt response, and continuous engagement.






Weaknesses of Kotobukiya | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Weaknesses in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The weaknesses of Kotobukiya are -

Aligning sales with marketing

– From the outside it seems that Kotobukiya needs to have more collaboration between its sales team and marketing team. Sales professionals in the Retail (Specialty) industry have deep experience in developing customer relationships. Marketing department at Kotobukiya can leverage the sales team experience to cultivate customer relationships as Kotobukiya is planning to shift buying processes online.

High operating costs

– Compare to the competitors, Kotobukiya has high operating costs in the Retail (Specialty) industry. This can be harder to sustain given the new emerging competition from nimble players who are using technology to attract Kotobukiya lucrative customers.

Slow to strategic competitive environment developments

– As Kotobukiya is one of the leading players in the Retail (Specialty) industry, it takes time to assess the upcoming competitions. This has led to missing out on atleast 2-3 big opportunities in the Retail (Specialty) industry in last five years.

Need for greater diversity

– Kotobukiya has taken concrete steps on diversity, equity, and inclusion. But the efforts so far has resulted in limited success. It needs to expand the recruitment and selection process to hire more people from the minorities and underprivileged background.

Skills based hiring in Retail (Specialty) industry

– The stress on hiring functional specialists at Kotobukiya has created an environment where the organization is dominated by functional specialists rather than management generalist. This has resulted into product oriented approach rather than marketing oriented approach or consumers oriented approach.

High dependence on existing supply chain

– The disruption in the global supply chains because of the Covid-19 pandemic and blockage of the Suez Canal illustrated the fragile nature of Kotobukiya supply chain. Even after few cautionary changes, Kotobukiya is still heavily dependent upon the existing supply chain. The existing supply chain though brings in cost efficiencies but it has left Kotobukiya vulnerable to further global disruptions in South East Asia.

High bargaining power of channel partners in Retail (Specialty) industry

– because of the regulatory requirements in Japan, Kotobukiya is facing high bargaining power of the channel partners. So far it has not able to streamline the operations to reduce the bargaining power of the value chain partners in the Retail (Specialty) industry.

Slow decision making process

– As mentioned earlier in the report, Kotobukiya has a very deliberative decision making approach. This approach has resulted in prudent decisions, but it has also resulted in missing opportunities in the Retail (Specialty) industry over the last five years. Kotobukiya even though has strong showing on digital transformation primary two stages, it has struggled to capitalize the power of digital transformation in marketing efforts and new venture efforts.

Slow to harness new channels of communication

– Even though competitors are using new communication channels such as Instagram, Tiktok, and Snap, Kotobukiya is slow explore the new channels of communication. These new channels of communication can help Kotobukiya to provide better information regarding Retail (Specialty) products and services. It can also build an online community to further reach out to potential customers.

High dependence on Kotobukiya ‘s star products

– The top 2 products and services of Kotobukiya still accounts for major business revenue. This dependence on star products in Retail (Specialty) industry has resulted into insufficient focus on developing new products, even though Kotobukiya has relatively successful track record of launching new products.

Employees’ less understanding of Kotobukiya strategy

– From the outside it seems that the employees of Kotobukiya don’t have comprehensive understanding of the firm’s strategy. This is reflected in number of promotional campaigns over the last few years that had mixed messaging and competing priorities. Some of the strategic activities and services promoted in the promotional campaigns were not consistent with the organization’s strategy.




Kotobukiya Opportunities | External Strategic Factors
What are Opportunities in the SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis


The opportunities of Kotobukiya are -

Loyalty marketing

– Kotobukiya has focused on building a highly responsive customer relationship management platform. This platform is built on in-house data and driven by analytics and artificial intelligence. The customer analytics can help the organization to fine tune its loyalty marketing efforts, increase the wallet share of the organization, reduce wastage on mainstream advertising spending, build better pricing strategies using personalization, etc.

Building a culture of innovation

– managers at Kotobukiya can make experimentation a productive activity and build a culture of innovation using approaches such as – mining transaction data, A/B testing of websites and selling platforms, engaging potential customers over various needs, and building on small ideas in the Retail (Specialty) industry.

Identify volunteer opportunities

– Covid-19 has impacted working population in two ways – it has led to people soul searching about their professional choices, resulting in mass resignation. Secondly it has encouraged people to do things that they are passionate about. This has opened opportunities for businesses to build volunteer oriented socially driven projects. Kotobukiya can explore opportunities that can attract volunteers and are consistent with its mission and vision.

Developing new processes and practices

– Kotobukiya can develop new processes and procedures in Retail (Specialty) industry using technology such as automation using artificial intelligence, real time transportation and products tracking, 3D modeling for concept development and new products pilot testing etc.

Buying journey improvements

– Kotobukiya can improve the customer journey of consumers in the Retail (Specialty) industry by using analytics and artificial intelligence. It can provide automated chats to help consumers solve their own problems, provide online suggestions to get maximum out of the products and services, and help consumers to build a community where they can interact with each other to develop new features and uses.

Redefining models of collaboration and team work

– As explained in the weaknesses section, Kotobukiya is facing challenges because of the dominance of functional experts in the organization. Kotobukiya can utilize new technology in the field of Retail (Specialty) industry to build more coordinated teams and streamline operations and communications using tools such as CAD, Zoom, etc.

Lowering marketing communication costs

– 5G expansion will open new opportunities for Kotobukiya in the field of marketing communication. It will bring down the cost of doing business, provide technology platform to build new products in the Retail (Specialty) industry, and it will provide faster access to the consumers.

Harnessing reconfiguration of the global supply chains

– As the trade war between US and China heats up in the coming years, Kotobukiya can build a diversified supply chain model across various countries in - South East Asia, India, and other parts of the world. This reconfiguration of global supply chain can help Kotobukiya to buy more products closer to the markets, and it can leverage its size and influence to get better deal from the local markets.

Creating value in data economy

– The success of analytics program of Kotobukiya has opened avenues for new revenue streams for the organization in Retail (Specialty) industry. This can help Kotobukiya to build a more holistic ecosystem for Kotobukiya products in the Retail (Specialty) industry by providing – data insight services, data privacy related products, data based consulting services, etc.

Finding new ways to collaborate

– Covid-19 has not only transformed business models of companies in Retail (Specialty) industry, but it has also influenced the consumer preferences. Kotobukiya can tie-up with other value chain partners to explore new opportunities regarding meeting customer demands and building a rewarding and engaging relationship.

Low interest rates

– Even though inflation is raising its head in most developed economies, Kotobukiya can still utilize the low interest rates to borrow money for capital investment. Secondly it can also use the increase of government spending in infrastructure projects to get new business.

Reforming the budgeting process

- By establishing new metrics that will be used to evaluate both existing and potential projects Kotobukiya can not only reduce the costs of the project but also help it in integrating the projects with other processes within the organization.

Better consumer reach

– The expansion of the 5G network will help Kotobukiya to increase its market reach. Kotobukiya will be able to reach out to new customers. Secondly 5G will also provide technology framework to build new tools and products that can help more immersive consumer experience and faster consumer journey.




Threats Kotobukiya External Strategic Factors
What are Threats in the SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis


The threats of Kotobukiya are -

Technology acceleration in Forth Industrial Revolution

– Kotobukiya has witnessed rapid integration of technology during Covid-19 in the Retail (Specialty) industry. As one of the leading players in the industry, Kotobukiya needs to keep up with the evolution of technology in the Retail (Specialty) sector. According to Mckinsey study top managers believe that the adoption of technology in operations, communications is 20-25 times faster than what they planned in the beginning of 2019.

Aging population

– As the populations of most advanced economies are aging, it will lead to high social security costs, higher savings among population, and lower demand for goods and services in the economy. The household savings in US, France, UK, Germany, and Japan are growing faster than predicted because of uncertainty caused by pandemic.

Learning curve for new practices

– As the technology based on artificial intelligence and machine learning platform is getting complex, Kotobukiya may face longer learning curve for training and development of existing employees. This can open space for more nimble competitors in the field of Retail (Specialty) sector.

Capital market disruption

– During the Covid-19, Dow Jones has touched record high. The valuations of a number of companies are way beyond their existing business model potential. This can lead to capital market correction which can put a number of suppliers, collaborators, value chain partners in great financial difficulty. It will directly impact the business of Kotobukiya.

High level of anxiety and lack of motivation

– the Great Resignation in United States is the sign of broader dissatisfaction among the workforce in United States. Kotobukiya needs to understand the core reasons impacting the Retail (Specialty) industry. This will help it in building a better workplace.

Technology disruption because of hacks, piracy etc

– The colonial pipeline illustrated, how vulnerable modern organization are to international hackers, miscreants, and disruptors. The cyber security interruption, data leaks, etc can seriously jeopardize the future growth of the organization.

Shortening product life cycle

– it is one of the major threat that Kotobukiya is facing in Retail (Specialty) sector. It can lead to higher research and development costs, higher marketing expenses, lower customer loyalty, etc.

Environmental challenges

– Kotobukiya needs to have a robust strategy against the disruptions arising from climate change and energy requirements. EU has identified it as key priority area and spending 30% of its 880 billion Euros European post Covid-19 recovery funds on green technology. Kotobukiya can take advantage of this fund but it will also bring new competitors in the Retail (Specialty) industry.

Increasing international competition and downward pressure on margins

– Apart from technology driven competitive advantage dilution, Kotobukiya can face downward pressure on margins from increasing competition from international players. The international players have stable revenue in their home market and can use those resources to penetrate Kotobukiya prominent markets.

Backlash against dominant players

– US Congress and other legislative arms of the government are getting tough on big business especially technology companies. The digital arm of Kotobukiya business can come under increasing regulations regarding data privacy, data security, etc.

Consumer confidence and its impact on Kotobukiya demand

– There is a high probability of declining consumer confidence, given – high inflammation rate, rise of gig economy, lower job stability, increasing cost of living, higher interest rates, and aging demography. All the factors contribute to people saving higher rate of their income, resulting in lower consumer demand in Retail (Specialty) industry and other sectors.

Stagnating economy with rate increase

– Kotobukiya can face lack of demand in the market place because of Fed actions to reduce inflation. This can lead to sluggish growth in the economy, lower demands, lower investments, higher borrowing costs, and consolidation in the Retail (Specialty) industry.

New competition

– After the dotcom bust of 2001, financial crisis of 2008-09, the business formation in US economy had declined. But in 2020 alone, there are more than 1.5 million new business applications in United States. This can lead to greater competition for Kotobukiya in the Retail (Specialty) sector and impact the bottomline of the organization.




Weighted SWOT Analysis of Kotobukiya Template, Example


Not all factors mentioned under the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats quadrants in the SWOT Analysis are equal. Managers at Kotobukiya needs to zero down on the relative importance of each factor mentioned in the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats quadrants. We can provide the relative importance to each factor by assigning relative weights. Weighted SWOT analysis process is a three stage process –

First stage for doing weighted SWOT analysis of Kotobukiya is to rank the strengths and weaknesses of the organization. This will help you to assess the most important strengths and weaknesses of the firm and which one of the strengths and weaknesses mentioned in the initial lists are marginal and can be left out.

Second stage for conducting weighted SWOT analysis of Kotobukiya is to give probabilities to the external strategic factors thus better understanding the opportunities and threats arising out of macro environment changes and developments.

Third stage of constructing weighted SWOT analysis of Kotobukiya to provide strategic recommendations includes – joining likelihood of external strategic factors such as opportunities and threats to the internal strategic factors – strengths and weaknesses. You should start with external factors as they will provide the direction of the overall industry. Secondly by joining probabilities with internal strategic factors can help the company not only strategic fit but also the most probably strategic trade-off that Kotobukiya needs to make to build a sustainable competitive advantage.



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