Omnichannel vs. Multichannel: What is The Difference?

omnichannel vs multichannel

Many businesses face the challenges of understanding customer insights about their behavior or sentiments. They have a negligible idea about how the discovery happened and what are the customer actions across multiple interactions with your brand so that you can have better consistent engagement.

The important aspect of understanding the omnichannel vs multichannel strategy approach is which one fits better for your business and how it can help to gain better insights or behavioral data about your customers’ journey.

Invesp says, “Companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain on average 89% of their customers.”

When customers are not provided enough channels or the transition is not seamless, it creates friction and impacts the customer’s experience. The key difference between multichannel and omnichannel is that the latter one joins these touchpoints together so that the customer can experience a consistent and unified journey.

What is omnichannel strategy? 

Omnichannel strategy streamlines all the conversations under one platform to create a consistent and cohesive customer experience across all channels like website, social media, messaging apps, email, phone, etc. by taking the multichannel approach to the next level. 

87% of retailers agree that an omni-channel marketing strategy is critical or very important to their success. 

Being omnichannel means every touchpoint or channel has to be seamless to deliver a personalized experience to the customers. It engages customers across every stage of their journey starting from pre-sales to post-sales and everything in between.

What is multichannel strategy?

Multichannel marketing involves interacting with customers by combining both indirect and direct communication channels such as websites, retail stores or mobile. The goal is to encourage customers to take action in response to use the channel of their choice. 

Deploying multiple channels increases the brand presence and gives customers the ability to choose their own preferred channel to interact and engage with a brand. It maximizes brand awareness while also making it easier for customers to reach out to the brand for support.

However, both communication strategies involve reaching out to customers in a variety of ways, and both involve monitoring touchpoints. Marketers need to know what those differences are so that they can decide which goal to shoot for.

Omnichannel vs Multichannel marketing: What’s the difference?

Choosing the approach depends on your business sector, size, and audience. An omnichannel strategy connects all the channels and helps to gain a better understanding of customer behavior by analyzing their journey to deliver consistent customer service.

Difference between omnichannel vs multi channel marketing

The key differences between omnichannel and multichannel marketing strategy are discussed below: 

Channels vs. Customers

Omnichannel is a holistic approach that connects all channels to engage with customers ensuring seamless brand experience across each and every channel. It aims at developing a stronger business-customer relationship.

The multichannel approach aims at enabling customers to reach the brand via a maximum number of channels. The strategy adopts two or more channels to engage their customers and most popular are social media & email.

Uniformity vs. Engagement

The omnichannel strategy ensures that customers are satisfied with getting the same experience and messaging through each and every channel. Having consistent brand experience enhances engagement and relationship with the brand. 

Choosing omnichannel needs to make sure that all the internal departments are in tune with your brand messaging. It helps to deliver a consistent engagement across all channels to ensure the strategy is successful.

However, in a multichannel strategy, the engagement is siloed.

Hyper Personalization

Omnichannel marketing strategy collects and analyzes customers’ data to understand their pain points and that requires more effort to deliver hyper personalized experience.

While the multichannel approach just conveys the brand message and motivates customers to use the call to actions (CTA). The omnichannel strategy puts extra effort into understanding customer journey better to serve with personalized solutions.

Effort vs. Unified

Omnichannel marketing aims at fostering an effortless support or buying experience for consumers. It uses analytics to obtain insights to engage customers easily, while it does not happen with multichannel strategy. 

The significant difference between multichannel vs omnichannel is that the former one has the problem in collecting data that is scattered at various places. The latter one connects the touchpoints together so that, whatever journey the customer chooses to take, the experience is consistent and unified.

What are the benefits of omnichannel approach? 

Choosing the right customer support approach depends on your business sector, size, and audience. Google says, “Shoppers who buy through multiple channels have a 30% higher lifetime value than others.” By implementing the omnichannel strategy, you can exemplify better customer experiences. 

Having such a Fcustomer communication strategy connects all the channels and helps to gain a better understanding of customer behavior by mapping their journey to deliver consistent customer service.

Here are the key benefits of the omnichannel communication approach.

1. Higher return of investment (RoI) 

Businesses choosing an omnichannel approach across are likely to require significant investment in technology and tools. Implementing the technology will need to integrate right across the business systems. 

It involves a strategic business vision and needs to be integrated across the business system. However, investing in the marketing strategy results in a higher RoI in the long run. The significant benefits experienced by businesses are:

  • Lesser touchpoints – The strategy empowers your agents to understand customers’ concerns faster and provide effective solutions in the first go. It improves the first call resolution (FCR) metric and reduces the number of touchpoints.
  • Higher satisfaction – When customers receive quick feasible solutions with the right systems and technology in the first contact, the satisfaction level increases. It improves the lifetime value of the customer (LTV) significantly.

2. Streamline conversations under one platform

Omnichannel support unifies all your customer conversations in one place to understand your customer journey better.  By analyzing it you can gain deep insights to personalize engagement with customers across all touchpoints.

You need to be where your customers are. By being active on the preferred touchpoints you can offer real time engagement and improve customer experience.

Omnichannel vs multichannel - streamline all conversations

Here are the key steps to create omnichannel customer experience:

  • Map your customer journey – It helps to understand your customer needs better and use the insights to create strategies to engage them better across all touchpoints.
  • Identify the preferred channels – Know what are the frequently used channels by your customers to connect with you. Be active where your customers are to deliver a great experience.
  • Build the right strategy –  By using the customer insights and knowledge about channels, build the right strategy to deliver a seamless experience across channels.
  • Identify the gaps – Know the gaps in your communication strategies or the fragmented experiences and bridge the gaps to deliver the best omnichannel experience.

3. Understand your customer journey to gain insights 

Omnichannel strategy helps to gain insights into previous interactions that interacted with your brand. It helps to use customer journey maps to meet your customer needs and deliver optimal omnichannel customer service experience and increase future opportunities for customer engagement.

Knowing customers’ behavior helps to optimize your processes to reduce customer frustration, bridge the gaps in the process, and help nudge customers towards conversion. 

How does mapping customer journey help to create a great omnichannel experience?

  • Identify the touchpoints – You can understand the major touch points where your customers need your assistance and be actively present to engage them.
  • Take proactive actions – Understanding all touchpoints will help you to act proactively across the behavioral stages of the customers.
  • Create processes – You can define specific strategies to deliver effective real time support with the right channel to improve customer experience.
  • Develop self service options –  Having self-service options such as tutorials, videos, etc. helps customers to find solutions before they reach out to you.
  • Collect customer feedback –  Regularly ask your customers feedback, share with the relevant teams, and continuously improve the gaps.

4. Better team productivity

Generally, a lot of time is involved in resolving a single issue by having many back and forth conversations with the customers. omnichannel dashboard empowers your team with real time feedback about their interactions on their customer interactions handled on each channel. 

Being omnichannel helps to meet the important KPIs to improve team performance. The key metrics are First contact resolution (FCR), Total resolution time, Average response time, and Missed Conversations.

When the KPIs are met successfully, it creates a positive impact on customer satisfaction, at the same time reducing the number of touchpoints and increasing the efficiency of your support team.

How omnichannel improves agents performance and increases team productivity

  • Lesser touchpoints = Less complexity – The insights help to understand the customer journey better and all departments have to be constantly aligned to deliver personalized solutions in the first touchpoint. It improves the first contact resolution metric significantly.
  • Reduce time & resources – When there is an increase in the FCR rate, you are able to solve more queries by improving the average response time. You can manage and resources accordingly across business functions.

5. Boost your customer retention

Omnichannel customers are 30% more valuable to your business over the course of their lifetime. Brands that make the effort to engage their audience with a consistent omnichannel strategy enjoy a maximum improvement in customer retention rates.

When businesses open all the gateways for the customers to connect with time, customers find it most convenient and tend to retain your business for a longer time. 

An omnichannel communication strategy empowers customers to connect with the brand through their preferred channel and also make a smooth transition in the same interaction. It acts as one of the customer retention strategies of your business. 

When your business focuses on retaining more customers helps in building customer relationships and ultimately this will create an emotional connection between customers and business.

6. Deliver a unified customer experience

Users choose online channels like Facebook messenger, live chat, and offline channels like physical locations (storefronts or service centers) to engage with businesses. Creating consistency among every channel improves the omnichannel customer experience as well as the brand image. 

The omnichannel customer support strategy focuses on delivering seamless customer experience across all the channels. It means the channels are centralized under one platform to bring stability, ensuring consistency across the board. The support experience is consistent regardless of the channel or touchpoint used by the customer.

Benefits of consistent omnichannel experience:

  • Streamline all the customers’ conversations and manage them under one platform so that customers experience consistent support.
  • Connects with the customers in real time across their preferred channels and reduces the average response time.
  • Improves customer satisfaction by using insights to provide effective solutions in the first go and improves first contact resolution (FCR) rate.
  • Provide valuable insights about the customer profiles analyzing their journey to get a better understanding of customer needs and interests.
  • Businesses can build trust and credibility by delivering personalized solutions across all channels to enhance customer experience.

How to make a shift towards omnichannel? 

Harvard Business Review found that customers of omnichannel companies are more valuable on multiple counts. If you have made up your mind between omnichannel vs multichannel, you need to consider for a successful shift from one strategy to another.

Here are four great ways to make the omnichannel strategy work with your business.

1. Be data driven

Getting insights on customer behavior is imperative for omnichannel success. A customer’s journey through both digital and physical channels has to be correctly analyzed and accurately captured in order to deliver a more personalized shopping experience.

Shifting to an omnichannel strategy helps to obtain in-depth insights into customer engagement. The crucial analytics can enable businesses to target customers with the right message that suits their needs. When you target customers based on data, there are chances to have higher conversion rates.

Key benefits of data analytics are as follows:

  • Identify customer needs – The valuable insights help you to understand customer needs better and use the knowledge to tailor engagement strategies to serve them better. A deeper understanding of customer requirements which, in turn, builds better business relationships.
  • Recognize the opportunities – It provides the ability to make faster, more informed business decisions, backed up by facts for up-selling. You also get better insights into the financial performance of the business.
  • Measure customer satisfaction – The analytics help you to monitor whether the strategies are able to engage customers the right way or not. 
  • Know customer behavior – By using predictive analytics you can identify future trends in consumer behavior that helps to plan your business strategies.

2. Invest in system & tools

Effective customer engagement is one of the major goals of every business. Using the right system and tools helps your business to engage customers interactively and deliver effective support. It empowers your support team to deliver better customer service and strengthen customer relationships.

The advanced customer engagement tools help you to actively involve customers with your business to resolve their issues and provide faster solutions.

How investing in tools & systems help to serve customers better?

  • Chatbots are becoming a must-have technology for retailers and e-commerce stores, as they can help users to get the answers and the solutions, without having to leave the website or wait for a response via email or phone. 
  • With customer engagement tools like live chat, video chat, and co-browsing you can interact with customers in real time directly or by sharing the browser screen to identify the issue faster and resolve it successfully in the first contact.

3. Know your customer journey

When you move to an omnichannel approach, you will be able to understand your customers better. You will be able to know their wants, needs, and preferences. It further helps your business to build your product and services to match their interests.

Learning about how customers interact with you and what are their objectives for each interaction. Understanding the areas will help you to meet those objectives in the most efficient manner. 

How can you understand your customers better?

  • Acquire customer feedback – to know customers’ perceptions and opinions towards your brand.
  • Use analytical data – The data helps to know what your customer wants and needs so that you can match your product or services accordingly.
  • Social listening tools – Monitor the comments, posts, complaints made by customers across your social channels and promptly act on it.

Based on the methods you can examine your customers’ behaviors online and offline. Thus, you can customize your interactions to serve your customers better and boost satisfaction.

The future of omnichannel and multichannel

In a nutshell, the objectives of both omnichannel and multichannel marketing strategies aim to reach potential customers across multiple channels. With the rising customer expectations and technology advancement, businesses shifting to the omnichannel strategy will become vital.

It provides customer insights that have great value for any business. Using the data helps them to determine future strategies, acquire customers with a customized approach, targeted offers as well as communication channels, and lead to higher conversion.

While choosing between omnichannel vs multichannel, businesses should make the shift to focus on omnichannel efforts in order to increase customer retention and revenue.


Snigdha Patel
Author’s Bio

An avid reader, eclectic writer, blogger, and content writer by profession at REVE Chat, Snigdha Patel endeavors assiduously to understand complex support channels and provide information regarding them through comprehensive blog posts.

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