Omnichannel and multichannel approaches refer to marketing strategies that are applied by a business. Multichannel focuses on having multiple channels of communication. Omni channel's focus is on being unified in all media. Let us understand multi and omnichannel approaches in detail.
Multichannel refers to offering several separate channels to the customers to purchase a product. These could be online, in-store, social media, or anything else. All of these channels are independent of each other. The content available on the different channels would be additional. Hence, to see certain content or avail of a specific offer, you must go to the channel that offered it and none else.
How Multichannel Works
Let us see an example. A customer visits a Facebook post about a product. While checking the product online, she realized that she had received an e-mail with a discount coupon for this product. But while making the purchase, due to some reason, she had to abandon the process soon after adding the product to her shopping cart. So the next time she remembers to buy the product when she sees related content on any of the channels or otherwise, she has to start from the beginning. This is because the online portal has not kept track of her activities across the media.
In this case, first of all, the customer may completely forget about the purchase. Secondly, when she decides to buy again, the experience is not seamless.
Advantages of Using Multichannel Approach
About Omnichannel Approach
Omnichannel means that all the various channels provided by a business are integrated. So, the customer gets a unified experience using different channels like in-store, mobile, social media, or e-mail. So, for example, the offers would be similar on all the platforms and not just one channel. So, the customer's channel to purchase a product would not matter.
How Omnichannel Works
Suppose a customer sees a Facebook post about a product, she would also get a direct link to the online portal. When she signs in, she can see that a discount voucher is already available in her account. She may have received this voucher in her email, too, and would have landed on this page if she had reached the website through her email. After adding the product to her cart, she has to abandon the purchase for some reason. Now, a unified customer engagement would happen through all her channels. She would get more frequent posts about the product in her mail, social media, and even YouTube ads. She would also get an SMS and email reminding her that the product was still in her cart. She might later get an upgraded discount to bring her back to the brand. Her creation will be there waiting for her whenever she chooses to return to the online portal. When she purchases, other products are shown that are related to this product and can be bought together. If the new product gets a click by the customer, she starts getting communication regarding this new product. It goes on like a cycle.
You may notice here that all the channels are connected and act together to achieve a goal, in this case, make a sale. Therefore, the information the customer sees on all the channels is the same and drives the customer towards the brand.
Advantages of Omnichannel Approach
Difference Between Omnichannel and Multichannel
The importance is given to the brand in multichannel, whereas it is given to the customer in omnichannel.
In the multichannel strategy, the channels work independently while they work together in the omnichannel strategy.
Communication with the customer is more or less static in the case of multichannel. It changes according to the customer's behavior and preferences in the omnichannel approach.
The omnichannel method provides a seamless and more consistent experience to the customer than the multichannel.
Who is the Winner?
Every business may have different needs and a different kind of target audience. Analyzing the pros and cons can give a clear picture of which style is more suitable for your business. It should be kept in mind that the new era of e-commerce is all about customer satisfaction. Shoppers are now aware of all avenues to shop; they do their research and read reviews before buying a product. A method that focuses on improving the customer's experience will be the winner in most scenarios. Here, it is the Omnichannel approach. There is a misconception that this approach is suitable only for large-scale businesses. But if applied after detailed market research, it is a good option for businesses of all sizes.
The omnichannel approach outweighs multichannel with its advantages. However, it is not easy to establish an omnichannel setup. A good amount of investment would be required to market through various channels such as brick-and-mortar stores, phones, e-mail, websites, social media, etc. Much more investment would be necessary to integrate and unify these channels and manage them continuously. But the investment is worth it. The returns on this investment would be much higher.
The integrated channels make it easier to resolve a customer's complaints. The customer feedback data can be used to understand the customer's needs and cater to them accordingly. There is also a high possibility of customers returning to your business if their experience with you was eventless and satisfactory.
It also becomes more accessible for a business to analyze market trends, determine which channels work better, and make adjustments accordingly.
The multichannel approach is how it began. The omnichannel strategy is how it is going now. Multichannel will soon be outdated because every industry is now focusing on customer satisfaction. In an age of tight competition in every business, it becomes essential to retain customers and focus on their experience with the brand. The omnichannel approach, if implemented well, ensures greater visibility of the brand name and a seamless shopping experience for the customers.