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FirstCash (FCFS) SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / MBA Resources

Introduction to SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix for FirstCash (United States)


Based on various researches at Oak Spring University , FirstCash is operating in a macro-environment that has been destablized by – cloud computing is disrupting traditional business models, talent flight as more people leaving formal jobs, banking and financial system is disrupted by Bitcoin and other crypto currencies, increasing inequality as vast percentage of new income is going to the top 1%, digital marketing is dominated by two big players Facebook and Google, there is backlash against globalization, increasing commodity prices, central banks are concerned over increasing inflation, competitive advantages are harder to sustain because of technology dispersion, etc



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Introduction to SWOT Analysis of FirstCash


SWOT stands for an organization’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats . At Oak Spring University, we believe that FirstCash can use SWOT analysis as a strategic management tool to assess the current internal strengths and weaknesses of the FirstCash, and to figure out the opportunities and threats in the macro environment – technological, environmental, political, economic, social, demographic, etc in which FirstCash 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 FirstCash can be done for the following purposes –
1. Strategic planning of FirstCash
2. Improving business portfolio management of FirstCash
3. Assessing feasibility of the new initiative in United States
4. Making a Consumer Financial Services sector specific business decision
5. Set goals for the organization
6. Organizational restructuring of FirstCash




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

The strengths of FirstCash are -

Successful track record of launching new products

– FirstCash has launched numerous new products in last few years, keeping in mind evolving customer preferences and competitive pressures. FirstCash 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.

Organizational Resilience of FirstCash

– The covid-19 pandemic has put organizational resilience at the centre of everthing FirstCash does. Organizational resilience comprises - Financial Resilience, Operational Resilience, Technological Resilience, Organizational Resilience, Business Model Resilience, and Reputation Resilience.

Learning organization

- FirstCash 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 FirstCash is open place that encourages instructiveness, ideation, open minded discussions, and creativity. Employees and leaders at FirstCash emphasize – knowledge, initiative, and innovation.

Ability to recruit top talent

– FirstCash is one of the leading players in the Consumer Financial Services industry in United States. It is in a position to attract the best talent available in United States. The firm has a robust talent identification program that helps in identifying the brightest.

Superior customer experience

– The customer experience strategy of FirstCash in Consumer Financial Services industry is based on four key concepts – personalization, simplification of complex needs, prompt response, and continuous engagement.

Digital Transformation in Consumer Financial Services industry

- digital transformation varies from industry to industry. For FirstCash digital transformation journey comprises differing goals based on market maturity, customer technology acceptance, and organizational culture. FirstCash 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.

Innovation driven organization

– FirstCash is one of the most innovative firm in Consumer Financial Services sector.

Training and development

– FirstCash has one of the best training and development program in Financial 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.

Highly skilled collaborators

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

Strong track record of project management in the Consumer Financial Services industry

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

High switching costs

– The high switching costs that FirstCash has built up over years in its products and services combo offer has resulted in high retention of customers, lower marketing costs, and greater ability of the firm to focus on its customers.

Low bargaining power of suppliers

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






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

The weaknesses of FirstCash are -

Need for greater diversity

– FirstCash 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.

Increasing silos among functional specialists

– The organizational structure of FirstCash is dominated by functional specialists. It is not different from other players in the Consumer Financial Services industry, but FirstCash needs to de-silo the office environment to harness the true potential of its workforce. Secondly the de-silo will also help FirstCash to focus more on services in the Consumer Financial Services industry rather than just following the product oriented approach.

Skills based hiring in Consumer Financial Services industry

– The stress on hiring functional specialists at FirstCash 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.

Products dominated business model

– Even though FirstCash has some of the most successful models in the Consumer Financial Services industry, this business model has made each new product launch extremely critical for continuous financial growth of the organization. FirstCash should strive to include more intangible value offerings along with its core products and services.

Compensation and incentives

– The revenue per employee of FirstCash is just above the Consumer Financial Services industry average. It needs to redesign the compensation structure and incentives to increase the revenue per employees. Some of the steps that it can take are – hiring more specialists on project basis, etc.

Slow to harness new channels of communication

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

Capital Spending Reduction

– Even during the low interest decade, FirstCash has not been able to do capital spending to the tune of the competition. This has resulted into fewer innovations and company facing stiff competition from both existing competitors and new entrants who are disrupting the Consumer Financial Services industry using digital technology.

Aligning sales with marketing

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

Low market penetration in new markets

– Outside its home market of United States, FirstCash needs to spend more promotional, marketing, and advertising efforts to penetrate international markets.

High operating costs

– Compare to the competitors, FirstCash has high operating costs in the Consumer Financial Services industry. This can be harder to sustain given the new emerging competition from nimble players who are using technology to attract FirstCash lucrative customers.

Slow decision making process

– As mentioned earlier in the report, FirstCash has a very deliberative decision making approach. This approach has resulted in prudent decisions, but it has also resulted in missing opportunities in the Consumer Financial Services industry over the last five years. FirstCash 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.




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


The opportunities of FirstCash are -

Creating value in data economy

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

Developing new processes and practices

– FirstCash can develop new processes and procedures in Consumer Financial Services 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.

Better consumer reach

– The expansion of the 5G network will help FirstCash to increase its market reach. FirstCash 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.

Use of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies for transactions in Consumer Financial Services industry

– The popularity of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies as asset class and medium of transaction has opened new opportunities for FirstCash in the Consumer Financial Services industry. Now FirstCash can target international markets with far fewer capital restrictions requirements than the existing system.

Harnessing reconfiguration of the global supply chains

– As the trade war between US and China heats up in the coming years, FirstCash 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 FirstCash to buy more products closer to the markets, and it can leverage its size and influence to get better deal from the local markets.

Using analytics as competitive advantage

– FirstCash has spent a significant amount of money and effort to integrate analytics and machine learning into its operations in Consumer Financial Services sector. This continuous investment in analytics has enabled FirstCash to build a competitive advantage using analytics. The analytics driven competitive advantage can help FirstCash to build faster Go To Market strategies, better consumer insights, developing relevant product features, and building a highly efficient supply chain.

Redefining models of collaboration and team work

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

Remote work and new talent hiring opportunities

– The widespread usage of remote working technologies during Covid-19 has opened opportunities for FirstCash to expand its talent hiring zone. According to McKinsey Global Institute, 20% of the high end workforce in fields such as finance, information technology, can continously work from remote local post Covid-19. This presents a really great opportunity for FirstCash to hire the very best people irrespective of their geographical location.

Buying journey improvements

– FirstCash can improve the customer journey of consumers in the Consumer Financial Services 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.

Lowering marketing communication costs

– 5G expansion will open new opportunities for FirstCash in the field of marketing communication. It will bring down the cost of doing business, provide technology platform to build new products in the Consumer Financial Services industry, and it will provide faster access to the consumers.

Increase in government spending

– As the United States and other governments are increasing social spending and infrastructure spending to build economies post Covid-19, FirstCash can use these opportunities to build new business models that can help the communities that FirstCash operates in. Secondly it can use opportunities from government spending in Consumer Financial Services sector.

Learning at scale

– Online learning technologies has now opened space for FirstCash to conduct training and development for its employees across the world. This will result in not only reducing the cost of training but also help employees in different part of the world to integrate with the headquarter work culture, ethos, and standards.

Loyalty marketing

– FirstCash 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.




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


The threats of FirstCash are -

Increasing wage structure of FirstCash

– Post Covid-19 there is a sharp increase in the wages especially in the jobs that require interaction with people. The increasing wages can put downward pressure on the margins of FirstCash.

Environmental challenges

– FirstCash 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. FirstCash can take advantage of this fund but it will also bring new competitors in the Consumer Financial Services industry.

Learning curve for new practices

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

Stagnating economy with rate increase

– FirstCash 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 Consumer Financial Services industry.

Increasing international competition and downward pressure on margins

– Apart from technology driven competitive advantage dilution, FirstCash 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 FirstCash prominent markets.

Instability in the European markets

– European Union markets are facing three big challenges post Covid – expanded balance sheets, Brexit related business disruption, and aggressive Russia looking to distract the existing security mechanism. FirstCash will face different problems in different parts of Europe. For example it will face inflationary pressures in UK, France, and Germany, balance sheet expansion and demand challenges in Southern European countries, and geopolitical instability in the Eastern Europe.

Technology acceleration in Forth Industrial Revolution

– FirstCash has witnessed rapid integration of technology during Covid-19 in the Consumer Financial Services industry. As one of the leading players in the industry, FirstCash needs to keep up with the evolution of technology in the Consumer Financial Services 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.

Easy access to finance

– Easy access to finance in Consumer Financial Services industry will also reduce the barriers to entry in the industry, thus putting downward pressure on the prices because of increasing competition. FirstCash can utilize it by borrowing at lower rates and invest it into research and development, capital expenditure to fortify its core competitive advantage.

Trade war between China and United States

– The trade war between two of the biggest economies can hugely impact the opportunities for FirstCash in Consumer Financial Services industry. The Consumer Financial Services industry is already at various protected from local competition in China, with the rise of trade war the protection levels may go up. This presents a clear threat of current business model in Chinese market.

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.

Regulatory challenges

– FirstCash needs to prepare for regulatory challenges as consumer protection groups and other pressure groups are vigorously advocating for more regulations on big business - to reduce inequality, to create a level playing field, to product data privacy and consumer privacy, to reduce the influence of big money on democratic institutions, etc. This can lead to significant changes in the Consumer Financial Services industry regulations.

Shortening product life cycle

– it is one of the major threat that FirstCash is facing in Consumer Financial Services sector. It can lead to higher research and development costs, higher marketing expenses, lower customer loyalty, etc.

Barriers of entry lowering

– As technology is more democratized, the barriers to entry to Consumer Financial Services industry are lowering. It can presents FirstCash with greater competitive threats in the near to medium future. Secondly it will also put downward pressure on pricing throughout the Consumer Financial Services sector.




Weighted SWOT Analysis of FirstCash Template, Example


Not all factors mentioned under the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats quadrants in the SWOT Analysis are equal. Managers at FirstCash 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 FirstCash 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 FirstCash 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 FirstCash 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 FirstCash needs to make to build a sustainable competitive advantage.



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