In the world of social media and online marketing, people interact with customers from different platforms. Businesses should utilize different channels in order to get maximum exposure to customers. According to Shopify, nearly one-third of internet users use their mobile devices in making a purchase each week in 2021. Business owners should keep in mind that their customers will be coming from different channels so they need to meet them where they are.
Omnichannel and multichannel Marketing can help achieve that goal.
Omnichannel and multichannel are two important marketing strategies that businesses can implement. While they both involve using more than one marketing channel to communicate with customers, they are two unique concepts with several differences. Each has its own pros and cons so it boils down to finding the right one for your business. In this article, we will look at their differences so that you will have an idea of which strategy will work for you.
- What Is Omnichannel Marketing?
- What Is Multichannel Marketing?
- Difference Between Omnichannel Marketing and Multichannel Marketing
- Customer Engagement vs Customer Experience
- Channel Centric vs Customer Centric
- Quantity vs Quality
- Uniformity vs Engagement
- When Should You Use Omnichannel or Multichannel?
- Challenges of Multi-Channel and Omnichannel Marketing
- Which Is Better For Your Brand?
Let’s get it on
What Is Omnichannel Marketing?
Omnichannel marketing is geared towards providing a seamless shopping experience for customers between channels. With this strategy, you can sell your products through various channels like desktops, mobile devices, and physical stores. Omnichannel marketing helps establish a link between your offline and online store.
Omnichannel marketing focuses on the interaction between multiple channels with each other and the customer. It helps ensure that customer data and product are synced across channels. The main focus of omnichannel marketing is to make the shopping experience as easy as possible. This is only possible through consistent engagement regardless of where or how a shopper interacts with you.
The goal of omnichannel marketing is to maximize customer convenience so that every interaction with your brand through different channels will feel like it is part of one seamless experience. In omnichannel marketing, businesses can think outside the box in their delivery of customer experience which is not possible when shopping on a single disconnected channel. It is with noting, however, that omnichannel marketing will bring customers everywhere all the time.
What Is MultiChannel Marketing?
Similarly, multichannel marketing uses more than one channel for marketing and communication. However, the channels are not integrated with one another. The aim of multichannel marketing is to get maximum brand exposure and provide customers with more choices for purchasing products.
In multichannel marketing, businesses formulate separate strategies for each channel. It is often implemented using various systems for every single channel compared to a unified customer engagement solution. While each channel supports the main business, there is minimal or zero data synchronization.
Multichannel marketing poses some challenges to businesses such as maintaining the scalability of operations, meeting requirements for expanding to additional channels, and delivering a consistent experience across all channels. While it is less complex than omnichannel marketing, it still requires due diligence and proper investment for a more manageable and ensure customer satisfaction.
Difference Between Omnichannel Marketing and Multichannel Marketing
Let’s make it clear once again. While both involve using multiple channels, omnichannel and multichannel marketing are not the same. Let us take a closer look at these differences:
1. Customer Engagement vs Customer Experience
Multichannel marketing is more focused on engaging with customers. It aims to cast the net as wide as possible to increase brand awareness. Using social media as an example, multichannel marketing works toward getting more followers, comments, likes and shares of posts.
On the other hand, omnichannel marketing is all about improving customer experience. It aims to ensure consistency in the experience for customers who are already aware and are already engaging with your business. Using the same example, omnichannel marketing will not focus much on quantity-based metrics but instead, work on ensuring that your customers can seamlessly jump from your social media page to your website.
2. Quantity vs Quality
Multichannel marketing is focused on increasing the number of channels that can be tapped. The more channels offered, the better. By choosing more channels, you can increase reach and allow customers to choose the method of engagement. However, there is no effort to link channels to each other. This means that they will have to switch from one channel to another.
Meanwhile, omnichannel is about providing quality support meaning that whatever channel the customer chooses, they will be assured of receiving quality support. Unlike the multichannel approach, interactions are integrated so they do not have to start from the beginning when interacting from a different channel.
3. Channel Centric vs Customer Centric
Another major difference between the two is that multichannel is geared towards maximizing the number of channels used for promoting a brand. With more channels, customers have the option to choose how they want to interact with a business. Multichannel focuses on a product or service. Instead of the customer, it is the product that is at the center of the strategy.
On the other hand, omnichannel is more customer-centric. It focuses on providing the best experience when switching between channels. The aim of omnichannel is to remove the friction between different digital touchpoints. In omnichannel, it is customer behavior that dictates the strategies to be used.
4. Uniformity vs Engagement
Omnichannel marketing is focused on delivering a unified message through every channel. This ensures a consistent brand experience that will boost engagement and relationships with customers. It ensures that all related departments are in tune with your brand messaging.
On the other hand, multichannel marketing focuses on grabbing the attention of customers using different channels, whenever or wherever possible. However, they still want to remain omnipresent and follow every customer. They do this using all available channels or contact points to persuade customers into purchasing their products.
Choosing Between Omnichannel And Multichannel
When done right, omnichannel and multichannel marketing can be effective. It all boils down to choosing the strategy that will work best for your business.
When Should You Use Omnichannel Marketing?
The key to becoming successful with omnichannel marketing is to have a strong multichannel backbone. It needs to be streamlined and consistent so that your customers will not have a negative experience with omnichannel. The systems should first work independently before they can work together.
In addition, you need to have sufficient in-house resources as you need the right tech solution. Since the objective is to create personalized customer experiences, omnichannel will require much higher investment compared to a multichannel strategy. The payoff is a smoother user experience and higher customer retention.
When Should You Use Multichannel Marketing?
Multichannel is your best option if you are short on resources and cannot invest in a full omnichannel approach. However, it will be best if you will research the channel where you can advertise or sell to determine if your products are accepted on the channel.
Multichannel offers flexibility as it allows every channel to work independently. Each stakeholder need not worry about communicating and can instead focus on building up their channels. However, you still need to invest in the right technology to scale your multichannel operations.
Challenges of Omnichannel and Multichannel Marketing
Implementing a multichannel or omnichannel strategy can be challenging. For multichannel marketing, the challenge lies in keeping the touchpoints interconnected. If they are not, your efforts will go in vain no matter how interactive or responsive they are. You need to identify the barriers that keep the customer from making a purchase.
For omnichannel, the challenge is bringing customers back to their buying journey. In its 2020 Digital Commerce report, Net Solutions revealed that 58% of online retailers said that it is hard to upsell to their current customers.
Which Is The Better Option For Your Brand?
Building brand awareness and loyalty are important for businesses. For this reason, choosing the right strategy is vital. Just because omnichannel works for one company does not mean it will work for you. Similarly, multichannel is not for everybody. So how do you determine which is the right one for your brand?
Multichannel is considered the “old way” because it focuses on one-to-one engagement. If you are selling a product or service and the price or offer will not make any difference, go for multichannel marketing. Another advantage of multichannel marketing is that you can compare results across different platforms and focus your efforts on the channels where your customers are most engaged.
Meanwhile, omnichannel is the “new way” because it can provide your business with an opportunity to personalize the customer journey. Since the customer is at the center, you can offer different types of content, incentives, and options for customer engagement. Targeting customers on different platforms increases your chances of success.
Choosing between omnichannel and multichannel is a matter of personal choice. It all boils down to your manpower and resources. Whichever method you choose, it should be done right to ensure return on investment for your business.
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