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Multichannel vs. omnichannel strategies - 4 key differences

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Multichannel vs. omnichannel strategies - 4 key differences

Multichannel and omnichannel marketing strategies may sound like two peas in a pod but they are actually quite different. We briefly touched the topic in our previous articles about customer loyalty and customer pain points where we discussed how omnichannel marketing can help you retain customers, however, we think the subject deserves its own article. If you’d like to be on the cutting edge of marketing, we encourage you to dive right in!

As you may have guessed it from its name, multichannel marketing indicates the ability to interact with (potential) customers on numerous platforms. A channel might be a website, a print ad, a social media platform, a retail location, a promotional email, a product’s package, an online advertisement, or even word-of-mouth. Multichannel marketing focuses on several different channels individually, on their own, whereas omnichannel marketing refers to the multichannel concept that provides customers with an integrated experience. Customers can be browsing online (the company’s website, social media platforms or even promotional emails) or in a brick-and-mortar store, and the experience will be comprehensive and consistent.

To better understand the key differences between the above, we will focus on four major characteristics:

1. Channel vs. customer

The multichannel approach focuses on getting the word out as fast as possible, through the maximum number of individual communication channels, usually using social media platforms and email marketing.

The omnichannel strategy is holistic and its focus is on interconnecting every channel to engage with customers and to ensure that they have nothing but positive experiences with the brand across every channel.

2. Consistency vs. individuality

While the multichannel strategy concentrates on an individual strategy for each communication channel, therefore its message may not be consistent, the omnichannel approach seeks consistency. Unified marketing messages are circulated to customers via each communication channel. Companies strive to maintain a consistent brand image and message that builds an elevated sense of familiarity and relationship with the brand.

3. Optimization

Optimization is the core and most basic condition of omnichannel strategy. Omnichannel marketing is about being effective, optimizing the use of every communication channel, giving customers a brand-specific, individualized, consistent experience. It is crucial to clearly determine what and how you’d like to optimize and what you want to reach by this process.

4. Effort vs. effortless

According to Misia Tramp, omnichannel marketing’s priority is to understand  “how to eliminate effort from the customer experience. (…) Omnichannel involves using data to understand where effort exists in the customer experience and how to remove, rather than add, effort.” Meaning, omnichannel marketing seeks to nurture an effortless shopping experience for every customer’s journey with a brand.

Now you know what the differences between omnichannel and multichannel marketing strategies are but might not be sure which one to implement. We are on the side of omnichannel marketing as “companies with well-defined omnichannel customer experience strategies in place achieve a 91% higher year-over-year increase in customer retention rate on average, compared to organizations without omnichannel programs in place.” – according to Emarsys. If after all this, you have absolutely no idea how to get started, worry not! Liferay can help you along the way. Request a free demo today.