Market Analysis of Entercard … SWOT
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¶ … Swot
EnterCard is a finance company operating in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. The core product are credit cards, with consumer loans being offered in Norway, retail instalment payment plans in Sweden, and check the credit in Denmark (EnterCard, 2016). To examine the company, a SWOT analysis will be performed, as well as consideration of the company's corporate citizenship, brand position, and reputation score.
Founded in 1999, the company, with its head office in Stockholm, Sweden has been adept at growing quickly. The company is already the largest credit card supply in Norway, with in excess of 800,000 credit card holders, and a total of 1.6 million credit card holders across the entire Nordic market (EnterCard, 2016).
The company is now owned by Swedbank with 60% of the operation, and Barclays owning 40%, both bringing a significant level of financial expertise to the new entity which has facilitated the rapid, as well as the underlying financial stability,. Notably, Swedbank is the leading bank in Sweden, with more than 470 branches, as well as collaborations with 60 local savings banks. Barclay's is a well-known multinational banking corporation with a high level of expertise in many different areas of finance. This expertise manifests in many ways, including operations, good employment relationship to maximise input from employees, as well as effective marketing required to gain the existing market share (Kotler & Keller, 2011). Marketing is also included effective public relations exercises, enhancing the brand name, for example, the sponsoring of chess tournaments, attended by the world champion Magnus Carlsen (My Newsdesk, 2015).
The organisation is also good at developing strategic relationship. For example, a recent collaboration has been undertaken with Capgemini, with a five-year contract will be developing the IT systems for EnterCard (My Newsdesk, 2016). This shows a strong internal awareness of the internal limitations, and need to bring in external resources.
The smaller size of the firm compared to other major credit card operations may be seen as a weakness, especially when competing in the global environment. The small size of the operations reduces the overall level of diversification that is possible both geographic markets, as well as across the different types of financial product. The geographic limitations may be seen as a primary weakness, as the organisation has a high level of exposure to the potential for economic shock due to the limited geographical spread of the operation (Mintzberg, Ahlstrand, & Lampel, 2008). These three countries have close economic ties, the lack of diversification may result in adverse results during difficult economic period. As EnterCard is a privately owned company (Bloomberg, 2016), financial results have not been made available to assess how this may impact, by comparing the results with the 2007/8 crisis. It was noted in the workshop, that the visibility of the brand was not as great as it could be, so this lower than optimal level of visibility may also be seen as a potential weakness.
The reliance on external suppliers may also be seen as a weakness. While the company may bring in external expertise, the operation of outsourcing contracts, such as the IT contract with Capgemini, rely on external expertise, where costs may increase, and is also the potential for commercial confidentiality risk. Reliance on external parties to create a weakness in terms of the potential for disagreement, as seen in 2013 with the Danish Co-op bank (Munk, 2013). In 2013 collaboration which had taken place between EnterCard and the Danish Coop since 2006 broke down, and the firms referred to the consumer ombudsman and the financial services authority (FSA) (Munk, 2013). The disagreement regarded 100,000 customers, which the companies both believed with, and resulted not only in cost associated with result settlement, but also negative publicity (Munk, 2016). Negative publicity, regarding the outcome, can impact on the take-up by new potential credit card holders, due to potential damage to the reputation (Coombes, 2007).
A further weakness may be the structure of the company. While Swedbank owns 60%, the agreement between Swedbank and Barclays gives the partner equal rights for disbursement, and for voting rights (EnterCard, 2016). This leads to a scenario where there could be a potential stalemate in terms of strategic decision-making due to the equal voting rights.
EnterCard have a number of opportunities. The current operations are limited to 3 countries only, this indicates there is a significant market into which the company could expand. For example, Swedbank also operates in Finland, Luxembourg, Russia, USA, China, and Japan (Swedbank, 2016), while Barclays is a global firm (Barclays 2016). This indicates a great potential for international expansion. However, this may also present some challenges, as these markets are already well served by a competitive market, and the cannibalisation markets where either of the parties had a present (Hooley, Saunders, & Piercy, 2011). Initial expansion may be targeted at Northern Europe, based on existing resources of Swedbank.
Another opportunity is that of product diversification, offering a broader range of financial services. The be undertaken in collaboration with other financial providers, such as the existing parent partners, packaging and offering branded services from the external providers. For example, products such as insurance, and charge cards to complement the existing core credit card and loan business.
A major threat within any competitive industry, is that of competition. The financial sector is highly competitive, and customers with in the credit card market may choose to switch suppliers in order to maximise their own benefit. This can result in the Chinese government, and profits. Other threats include significant changes in the economic environment, and cost of borrowing, as well as changes to legislation. If you already been seen within the bank, where there have been significant changes to Basel III requirements (Chorafas, 2012), impacting on the parent companies.
The financial services sector faces some significant challenges in terms of good corporate citizenship. There is an ongoing asymmetry of information between customers and the company, which can lead to undesirable outcomes, especially for those in most need. In 2012 it was decided that should be a greater focus on stakeholders and society. Notably, the parent company already focus on corporate social responsibility, based on different priorities. For Swedbank there is a focus on environmental issues, education and working with the young, with support for entrepreneurship, as well as sponsorship (Jain andHasle, 2012). At Barclays there is a broad approach to supporting communities, contributing to growth, as well as consideration in way the firm does business. Barclaycard, part of Barclays, the citizenship is seen through a predominantly financial perspective, including provision of debt advice, support for those in need, with single parents most likely to have their accounts closed (Jain and Hasle, 2012).
The EnterCard approach the commitment to compete in a way that will provide for sustainable societal development, at the same time as providing for the company's own future. This includes participation in local communities and aid with customers everyday challenges (Jain and Hasle, 2012). This has included the development of a framework to facilitate improved analytics and reporting in order to identify areas for improvement and reduction of bureaucracy, with the citizenship based on the three pillars of Barclays, this provides a strong framework, and is also well aligned with the Swedbank citizenship approach. Strategies implemented include increased transparent communication, the provision of a money skills programme accessible on the company's website, as well as the creation of YouTube educational videos (Jain and Hasle, 2012). The council the pricing in order to view performance and progress (Jain and Hasle, 2012). Importantly, implementation required engagement with staff in order to create and then retain a suitable corporate culture which includes adoption and embracing of all of the corporate citizenship values. With numerous potential areas to measure, the balanced scorecard approach may provide an effective way of assessing performance in different areas, providing a general overview.
EnterCard, with 1.6 million customers in Scandinavia, is clearly targeting the mass market, seeking a dominant position. This has been achieved in the way, where it is the most common credit card (EnterCard, 2016). To gain a mass-market position, where the company is a preferred supplier, is necessary to satisfy customer needs. Many customers have different views of financial services, especially following the credit crisis of 2007/8 when many firms were seen to fail (Nelson & Katzenstein, 2014). EnterCard seeks to present themselves in a manner to suit the different needs, with a solid background, while still being innovative, and having empathy, while still benefiting from significant analytical capabilities. This is a difficult position to hold, and can cause challenges in terms of differentiation. However, EnterCard has strongly differentiated itself as a local Scandinavian brand, with an expertise in lending, providing stability and reliability. This has been beneficial in this market, but may also limit the expansion strategies to other areas in neighbouring the Scandinavia area due to the local reputation which is serving as one of the main sources of differentiation.
The reputation… [END OF PREVIEW]
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