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Multichannel vs. Omnichannel Marketing: Which is Better for My Ecommerce Store?

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Ecommerce stores thrive using a clearly defined marketing strategy. Deciding between omnichannel and multichannel strategies isn’t about hopping on another buzzword train.

Omnichannel marketing is distinct from the multichannel approach. Knowing the difference is vital for creating an ultimate ecommerce success story. In this article, you’ll learn all about these contrasting digital marketing tactics.

What’s multichannel marketing?

Multichannel marketing places business at the central point of marketing activities. All the communication flows outward using a wide variety of channels. In the context of an ecommerce store, multichannel marketing involves the site, email, social media channels, or even creative mobile solutions. When you analyze the communication from the customer’s perspective, you might feel that the messages lack consistency and harmony.

What’s omnichannel marketing?

Omnichannel marketing starts with the customer. The strategy uses multiple channels, but they are all tied together to send a clear message, affirm the brand voice, and foster a seamless experience. The omnichannel approach recognizes that interact with many touchpoints before committing to a final transaction. All of the interactions are coordinated to create a unified customer journey across the channels.

What are the main differences?

Multichannel marketing relies on the executive board meeting’s vantage point. You have business objectives that are connected to picking the appropriate marketing channels along with the fitting messages. Each of the channels stands alone or possesses weak ties to the others. As you can see, just using multiple channels isn’t enough to label a strategy as omnichannel. You need integration.

Integration across all the channels is the main difference. Omnichannel marketing accounts for the fact that not all customers interact using all of the channels. If the messages aren’t consistent, then potential buyers will have wildly different experiences. This isn’t a case of A/B testing, it’s just weak integration between channels. When customers use multiple channels, the messages will enforce each other and create a consistent brand experience.

The difference between multichannel vs omnichannel marketing isn’t only based on unity. In the omnichannel approach, each interaction updates the customer data, setting off a cascade of relevant marketing messages.

Let’s see how it works in practice. If a customer with previous purchase history buys something again, the Facebook ads would switch for a complimentary product offer. At the same time, the customer would receive an email with a link to review the bought goods. Such information exchange architecture doesn’t exist in multichannel marketing because the channels are loosely connected at best.

Customer data is at the heart of omnichannel marketing. You need to measure everything possible because every bit of information counts. Some marketers may be sceptical at first as they have learned to rely only on a handful of KPIs.

Every ocean contains bazillion droplets. Smart analytics work allows your marketing team to create a useful big picture out of all the droplets of customer data. Optimization may be a part of the multichannel approach, but it’s a must when you are conducting omnichannel marketing.

Omnichannel marketing needs everyone’s attention because the integration results from strategic connections. Intuition may tell you that it’s the collaboration between the marketing and sales departments. In reality, you need to get more people on board.

For example, customer support plays an invaluable role in the omnichannel process. Remember, the whole strategy is based on starting from the customer. Multichannel marketing doesn’t need that kind of cohesiveness. Since the channels’ content isn’t inextricably linked to each other, you don’t need everyone to equally participate in the process.

Which is better for your ecommerce store?

Now you might be wondering whether omnichannel marketing is worth it. So many companies use the multichannel approach without any problems, right? Well, you could view the multichannel marketing as the first step towards a more professional and efficient marketing strategy. There’s nothing wrong with the multichannel practice, but omnichannel delivers superior performance and results. It’s something that you should consider when you feel like taking your marketing game to the next level.

All the data available to us supports the theory. As a starting point, using three or more channels in ecommerce marketing automation workflows boosted the engagement and purchase rate by over 250% compared to single-channel campaigns. Customers experiencing an omnichannel approach spend 13% more time online in contrast to people exposed to a single channel.

Aberdeen Group found a significant correlation between omnichannel customer engagement and retention rates. Companies showing an extremely strong omnichannel customer engagement boast a retention rate of 89%. Comparatively, the companies with a weak omnichannel engagement averaged out to only a 33% customer retention rate.

It’s not hard to see why more companies opt for the omnichannel marketing strategy. Customers buying more products and maintaining steady retention are objective reasons for radically changing your marketing game.