Omnichannel vs. Multichannel: Which Marketing Approach is Better?

Omnichannel vs. Multichannel: Which Marketing Approach is Better? | Sales and Marketing | Emeritus

There are now more ways than ever to buy products, thanks to technology and the rapid advances it has witnessed. While shopping mediums such as e-commerce, social selling, digital marketplaces, and physical stores, are mainly available for people to use, professionals broadly leverage two marketing strategies—omnichannel and multichannel marketing. Companies decide which marketing approach will work for them according to their individual requirements. Before diving into each approach and understanding which is right for your business, here are the critical differences between omnichannel and multichannel.

It’s important to know that omnichannel and multichannel marketing are different. Multichannel marketing is useful for organizations looking to expand their e-commerce reach, but it helps them fine-tune it. Omnichannel and multichannel marketing are strategies used by companies to reach customers through multiple channels and platforms. As the name suggests, multichannel marketing is an approach where multiple channels are used to engage with customers by communicating the same message across different channels. Both omnichannel and multichannel marketing have pros and cons, and marketers or organizations use them according to their needs and preferences.

Omnichannel Vs Multichannel

What is Omnichannel?

Omnichannel marketing refers to a cohesive and integrated approach to customer engagement across all channels, such as in store, online, and social media. Its goal is to provide a seamless and consistent customer experience across all touchpoints, creating a sense of “one brand, one voice” for the customer. The idea here is using each channel to move the customer journey forward at every touchpoint. Businesses use omnichannel marketing to implement a single strategy or campaign across all channels, resulting in a more cohesive experience. 

An omnichannel strategy ensures that customers do not become disoriented or lose interest when switching between channels because everything is integrated for a better user experience. Furthermore, 75% of customers expect brands to deliver a consistent experience across online and offline channels, so omnichannel marketing has become key to success.

How Does Omnichannel Work

Omnichannel marketing comprises a wide range of methods and features. It is generally based on collected data distributed across several channels so that customer experiences are consistent whenever and wherever they contact a brand.

Consider the strategies adopted by the well-known clothing retailer Zara. While shopping at one of their physical locations, you can receive an SMS text or email announcing a promotion. Additionally, Zara employees walk around with iPads, allowing them to place orders for you if the item you want is out of stock.No matter which option you select on your Zara shopping journey, their services are consistent and efficient across all channels, ensuring the success of their omnichannel efforts.

Although omnichannel methods can provide an exceptional experience, a solution that does not operate as intended can also leave a negative impression on the customer. Hence, ensuring that each phase of the customer journey is consistently favorable is critical to boost client retention.

Omnichannel marketing comprises a wide range of methods and features. Still, it is generally based on collected data distributed across several channels so that customer experiences are consistent whenever and wherever they contact a brand. Although omnichannel methods can provide a memorable experience, a solution that does not operate as intended can also leave a negative impression on the customer. It is critical to ensure that each customer journey phase is consistently favorable to boost client retention. 

Importance of Omnichannel

The objective of the omnichannel approach is to provide a personalized and consistent buying experience across all shopping channels. An omnichannel marketing strategy also has the following benefits:

Establishes Brand Trust

When you implement an omnichannel marketing strategy, all channels of communication work together to provide a seamless experience to customers. The information your customers find on the company’s website should be identical to that available on its social media channels and in the store. Customers should be able to trust brands in terms of gaining any information related to particular products, services, and offers.

Reduces the Complexity of the Marketing Message

This kind of strategy streamlines and simplifies the message you want to send to your customers. If your messages are disjointed, your audience may dismiss them and become less likely to engage with your brand, resulting in lower loyalty and purchases.

Encourages Purchasing Behavior

Omnichannel marketing has the potential to boost purchasing behavior and increase the conversion rate. Customers who engage with brands using three or more channels purchase 250% more frequently than those who use only a single channel. 

Omnichannel Marketing Examples

French personal care and cosmetics brand Sephora has a seamless integration of online and in-store customer experience. They’ve combined their physical stores with digital technologies(mobile app, loyalty program, interactive touch screens at stores, etc)  to improve the customer experience. They understand that even when people are in the store, they are still on their phones, whether to learn more about products or to look for better deals. The company focuses on cultivating a seamless experience across all customer channels by implementing an omnichannel marketing strategy. 

Pros

  • Customers have better access to products
  • Offering products and services through multiple channels increases web traffic, which can lead to an increase in in-store sales
  • Providing customers with an omnichannel distribution strategy encourages them to buy more
  • The flexibility of buying options increases customer satisfaction and sales

Cons

  • More channels mean more online competition
  • Implementing multiple channels is a costly affair which lowers the overall profit margins
  • Managing multiple channels can be time-consuming 

ALSO READ: How Does Corporate Governance Work and Why is it Important?

What is Multichannel Marketing?

Omnichannel Vs Multichannel

Multichannel marketing is the technique of communicating with customers and prospects across more than one media channel. TV, print, social media, email, billboards, display ads, and other channels come under multichannel marketing. However, all these routes are not necessarily interconnected. 

For example, the content and appearance of a particular Facebook ad may differ significantly from what is posted on Pinterest or in other promotional emails.

A Multichannel Marketing Example

Sports brand Adidas sells its items through online and offline merchants and its own web store, including the flagship Adidas Concept Stores. When it comes to advertising and communication, Adidas uses a variety of mediums, ranging from traditional TV commercials to social media, to promote its products. 

How do Multichannels Work?

Making things available to customers is the focus of multichannel marketing. When we talk about multichannel marketing, we usually mean a combination of e-commerce sites or online shopping destinations that firms employ to reach out to more customers. Ads on search engines, social media, direct sales on a marketplace, and a company’s own website are all examples of this marketing strategy. A multichannel approach provides a 90% higher client retention rate than a single-channel method.

Product data serves as the cornerstone for a multichannel strategy. Many businesses utilize e-commerce platforms to manage their inventory and product data. Modern e-commerce platforms provide several direct integrations, tools, and partnerships to assist enterprises in solidifying and streamlining their online presence.

Importance of Multichannel

Today, customers have far more influence over the purchasing process than marketers. They also have more options than before regarding how they want to obtain information, given the easy access to various channels. To balance the needs of the consumers, multichannel marketing offers the following benefits.

Better Brand Reach

Multichannel marketing can broaden a brand’s reach and expose it to a larger audience by utilizing numerous channels to reach customers.

Improved Customer Experience

This type of marketing improves the customer experience and makes it more comfortable and accessible by providing many touchpoints and channels for people to engage with a business.

Improved ROI

Multichannel marketing boosts ROI by optimizing the impact of each marketing expenditure and lowering the risk of relying on a single channel.

Pros

  • Better reach and more revenue
  • Regular feedback for product improvement
  • Enhanced customer loyalty

Cons

  • Lack of consistency and coordination
  • Managing multiple channels can be more expensive than focusing on a single channel, as it requires more resources and investment
  • Multichannel marketing is highly complex in terms of data and analytics, necessitating more advanced analytics

Key Differences Between Omnichannel vs. Multichannel

Basis of Difference Omnichannel Multichannel
Audience The focus is on understanding the customers and using data to give a more personalized experience and provide consistent engagement and an uncomplicated consumer experience.  The focus is on communicating a brand’s message to the audience and prompting the customer to complete a call to action.
Engagement and Interaction The customer experience is composed of touchpoints distributed over a number of channels that interact seamlessly, allowing customers to pick up where they left off on one channel and continue the experience on another. The use of many media channels, such as email, social media, print, mobile, display ads, television, and other channels, to disseminate the brand messages. 
Quantity or Quality It isn’t the number of customers that is of paramount importance, but the quality of the consumer experience; a strong omnichannel approach fosters trust, loyalty, and brand authority among target audiences, resulting in greater sales and retention rates.  The goal is to reach as many clients as possible across multiple channels; therefore, in this case, many organizations prioritize quantity above quality. The downside is that outcomes may suffer when the net is cast too wide.
Marketing Strategy The goal is to achieve uniformity and a comprehensive strategy that can be implemented across all channels, and even if the content and messaging may  differ significantly on different channels, there is an overarching plan that connects everything. Campaigns and messages across numerous platforms might vary dramatically without an overall plan.
Channel Interactivity This strategy delivers a consistent and tailored experience across all channels and devices. Multichannel marketing takes a channel-by-channel approach. It makes use of multiple channels, allowing brands to interact with their customers at various touchpoints for a more comprehensive campaign. 

Learn Marketing with Emeritus

Moving beyond a single-channel paradigm can benefit a corporation with appropriate planning and the correct technology. Understanding the business context and selecting an effective marketing method can also make a significant difference to the results. However, to maximize the potential of both these methods, marketers must understand these two marketing strategies in-depth. Emeritus’ online marketing courses will help you do so, along with skilling up on other sales and marketing strategies.  

Write to us at content@emeritus.org

Omnichannel Vs Multichannel

About the Author

Content Writer, Emeritus Blog
Sneha is a content marketing professional with over four years of experience in helping brands achieve their marketing goals. She crafts research-based, engaging content, making sure to showcase a bit of her creative side in every piece she writes. Sneha spends most of her time writing, reading, or drinking coffee. You will often find her practicing headstands or inversions to clear her mind.
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