Those who work in the worlds of business or marketing may have come across the terms ‘omnichannel’ and ‘multichannel’ at some point.
But what exactly do they mean?
Also, more importantly, how do they affect the way your company interacts with customers?
In this article, we look at both omnichannel ecommerce and multichannel ecommerce, exploring what makes each approach unique and how to decide which one is right for you.
Omnichannel vs multichannel ecommerce: How to distinguish
At first glance, it may seem that omnichannel and multichannel ecommerce are essentially the same thing. After all, they both involve using more than one marketing platform to communicate with customers.
However, whereas multichannel ecommerce increases brand awareness through various different mediums, omnichannel ecommerce provides seamless integration for users across all platforms.
On the ecommerce side of things, both approaches can be employed throughout the digital shelf to great effect.
What are the key differences between omnichannel and multichannel ecommerce?
Despite their obvious similarities, omnichannel and multichannel ecommerce offer very different customer experiences, including:
While an omnichannel ecommerce strategy aims to produce a smooth user journey that makes online shopping both convenient and enjoyable, multichannel ecommerce is more concerned with getting products in front of as many potential customers as possible.
Each focus has its merits, and the deciding factor will always be what is best for your brand at the time. Just remember not to hop between focuses, as this could lead to confusion and a lack of brand compliance.
As its name suggests, omnichannel ecommerce uses a wide variety of channels to engage customers and win their business, with everything being seamlessly connected. Multichannel ecommerce, on the other hand, takes a slightly different approach.
By using separate mediums in uniquely distinct ways, it allows customers to gain a good understanding of brands without having to interact with them all the time, which can be a turn-off for some shoppers!
There are always limits to marketing, and although multichannel ecommerce can be used to create a strong impact, it is sometimes restricted to the medium through which it is delivered.
Omnichannel ecommerce, however, by virtue of interweaving so many different mediums, allows customers to access a brand’s full potential in countless ways that keep them engaged and therefore make them more likely to convert.
Examples of omnichannel and multichannel ecommerce
A few examples of how brands use both omnichannel and multichannel ecommerce are as follows:
- Integrating a live chat app into the company’s main website as a way for customers to contact the relevant staff about products/services they may wish to acquire.
- Developing an app for customers to download, which could give them access to additional content as well as their usual products/services.
- Having click and collect options if you have a physical store and want to combine it with your online platforms.
- Distributing products to customers via third-party retailers.
- Arranging exclusivity agreements for certain products via platforms like Amazon.
- Advertising on multiple digital platforms, such as Facebook and Google.
Choosing between omnichannel vs multichannel ecommerce
It may seem like omnichannel is the obvious choice for any ecommerce business looking to win at the digital shelf. Still, you must think carefully about whether your company can implement a successful omnichannel strategy.
Remember, omnichannel ecommerce is only as good as its functionality!
Ask yourself two questions when weighing up the pros and cons of omnichannel vs multichannel:
- Do I have enough resources? – This not only includes the right software and tools, but also the staff to use them, as well as continuous investment in both areas. By hiring strong marketing and IT professionals, not to mention upgrading your tech stack, you stand a much better chance of creating an ecommerce strategy that’s built to last.
- Can I afford to be flexible? – Adapting to customer needs is a key part of omnichannel ecommerce. You must take what shoppers are saying about your business on board and, where possible, align yourself with market values. A stagnant, unrelenting outlook will only harm sales in the long run.
If you’re fully committed to investing in omnichannel ecommerce – and are prepared to change your tactics where necessary – there’s no reason why you shouldn’t try.
But if you’ve got reservations about scaling your business so rapidly, it may be worth trying a multichannel approach first to see what works (and doesn’t work) for the brand.
Omnichannel vs multichannel ecommerce with Magpie DBX
Whichever approach you decide works best for your business, Magpie DBX will be there every step of the way.
No omnichannel or multichannel ecommerce strategy works without the proper software to monitor important data, and take it from us, Magpie is more than up to the challenge.
A fully integrated platform designed to draw actionable insights from relevant market data, we’ll adapt Magpie so it’s the best fit for you. Whether you’re tracking promotions or focused on enhancing brand awareness, our modules can help.
Want Magpie to streamline your business’s omnichannel or multichannel ecommerce strategy? Request a demo today!
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