Multichannel and Omnichannel – What is the difference?

The Omnichannel and Multichannel marketing are two unique strategies and both aim to reach existing  and potential customers by using multiple channels. In this article we will explain the differences between these two marketing strategies and explain the uniqueness of both.

What is Multichannel?

Multichannel marketing refers to the practice of interacting with customers using a combination of indirect and direct communication channels – websites, retail stores, mail order catalogs, direct mail, email, mobile, etc. – and enabling customers to take action in response. In the most simplistic terms, the goal of multichannel is to give customers a choice, and allow them to purchase products and services when and where they want to.

What is Omnichannel?

Omnichannel marketing presumes that a customer is using any and all channels at the same time. This approach is focused on providing customers with integrated shopping experience. For example, the customer can be shopping online from a desktop, mobile device or in a brick-and-mortar store, and the experience will be seamless. Because the customer is using all channels simultaneously, marketers prepare online and offline touch points—such as blogs, e-books, email campaigns, apps, etc. Companies which use omnichannel strategy are diligent to ensure that their customers receive the same experience and message through different channels and devices used to interact with the company.

The differences between Multichannel and Omnichannel

The Channel vs. The Customer

The Multichannel approach aims to reach the maximum possible number of customers and potential customers using different channels. Companies utilizing the multichannel strategy are adopting two or more channels to engage their customers. Most popular channels for this strategy are social media and email.

The Omnichannel approach inter-relates every channel to engage with customers as a holistic whole, to ensure they are having a wonderful overall experience with the brand throughout each and every channel. The focus is on building a stronger relationship between customers and the brand.

Consistency vs. Engagement

Omnichannel marketing wants to deliver consistency across all channels. Consistent experiences create trust to the organization. Each interaction is part of the overall user experience with a company. The bottom line is that delivering a seamless, high quality customer experience results in higher sales, consistent engagement and increased loyalty required by companies to develop.

Multichannel marketing’s goal is engagement.  The content used to reach a specific audience on a specific channel is the same fundamental message. It is more campaign-focused than anything else, though it does adhere to overall branding rules.

Effort vs. Effortless

Multichannel has tendency to consider the many channels available to connect with consumers today as simply more options to be used.

Omnichannel focus on eliminating effort from the customer experience. It uses data to understand where effort exists in the customer experience and how to remove it, rather than add it.

Worth to know

Companies with well-defined omnichannel customer experience strategies achieve 91% higher year-over-year increase in customer retention rate on average, compared to organizations without omnichannel programs in place, so the implementation of omnichannel strategy is definitely worth to consider in your company.