MultiChannel Vs OmniChannel: The Differences

Home Comparison MultiChannel Vs OmniChannel: The Differences

“Buy our superior omnichannel CRM experience, allowing you to target multiple customers directly from a single dashboard”.

You’ve probably read this and many other well-written advertising copies like this.

If you have, then you’ve probably read these as well:

“The multichannel CRM experience you need”.

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Multichannel vs Omnichannel

When it comes to CRM and customer engagement solutions, these two words are very common to see.

While both of these concepts have unique functions, the unfortunate thing that they have to deal with is they are considered synonymous to one another.

At the very basic level, yes, they’re one and the same. After all, it’s using a variety of channels to interact with and talk to a business.

Both involve the use of various channels for customer engagement. However, the ways they go about engaging customers is very different.

Let’s begin first with introductions to the concept and then move on to their nitty-gritty.

Dissecting The “Channel” In Omnichannel vs Multichannel

Think of a channel as a funnel, a medium through which something moves.

In marketing and business, it’s the process through which a consumer communicates with a business and its offerings.

In our discussion, we need to sub-divide channels through which a brand communicates to customers into two parts; acquisition channels and nurturing channels.

Acquisition Channels

Also known as marketing channels, these are the channels through which a customer finds out about your products/services. Think of social media advertisements, billboard banners, and posters as acquisition channels.

It’s aim? To build awareness of the product.

Nurturing Channels

Also known as the contact channel, this is the second half of the omnichannel vs multichannel process.

It includes the medium through which a customer communicates with a business.

Think of social media again. The messages you get from customers inquiring about your product include the nurturing channels.

It’s important to make this distinction since channels can differ depending on the part of the business we’re talking about.

It could mean something totally different in the context of the supply chain, administration, and so on.

Now, What Is Multi-Channel?

Multi-channel is all about marketing and communicating with a customer through multiple channels. The channels work independently and they’re used separately for increasing brand awareness.

What About Omnichannel, then?

Omnichannel is all about marketing and communicating with a customer through multiple channels. The channels in omnichannel work interpedently with one another. They’re used together to help the customer move on from one channel to another.

In a multi-channel setting, the ideal examples come from a billboard. Its goal is to simply communicate a message.

The customer then has to contact by themselves.

In an omnichannel situation, the customer is first made aware of the product/service, and then proceeds to contact.

After the initial contact, they are sent to the second phase directly from the second step.

OmniChannel vs MultiChannel: What’s the Difference?

Now that you know the essential differences between the two concepts, it’s time you learned just how different they are in terms of functionalities and goals. 

They’re Different in Their Customer Approaches

Multichannel focuses on improving the customer engagement metric of a company while omnichannel focus on improving the customer experience.

That’s the main difference.

The multichannel process will focus on gaining as much traction for a business as possible (enticing advertisements, catchy marketing collateral) and all that. It aims to build up interest and conversations around a brand.

The omnichannel will focus on converting new customers landing or nurturing existing relations with customers. This helps to improve the customer experience.

Can they work together?

Seeing from what we’ve discussed till now, you can get a pretty good guess that they would. While the multichannel experience works on the qualitative metrics of customer engagement (i.e., brand awareness, marketing collateral distribution), the omnichannel strategy focuses on the qualitative features (the number of customers).

There are two ends of the spectrum at play here. One focuses on engaging customers, while the other focus on improving the overall experience. So yes, both can work interchangeably.

They’re Different Because Of Their Approaches

Multichannel focus on channels. Omnichannel focuses on customers.

Multi-channel focuses on promotion and brand awareness.

As the saying goes, the more your marketing, the better the choice a customer has in the matter.

Let’s look it from both a physical and digital standpoint. You go out and promote your brand through traditional advertising like billboards, posters, and other mediums.

At the same time, you also move towards digital mediums like SEO, PPC, and Search Engine Marketing.

The end result is a customer awareness of the product at different levels. Not only is the customer seeing digital advertisements online, they’re also remembering the name of the company through the traditional channels as well.

With omnichannel, things are focused on the customer end of the business.

How can we get the customer through the funnel? All the marketing strategies mentioned above are a means to an end. To get more customers.

Of course, once the customer is there, you need to ensure that they move through the funnel efficiently. They’ve already discovered the product; how will they move through the hypothetical funnel?

Here’s where you need the omnichannel strategies in the form of live chat, video chat, and other customer engagement tools. Interconnectivity matters a lot in this case since the more touchpoints you can drive a customer through to your purchase, the better.

Now, synchronization of those channels is important since you don’t want your customer or the agents to lose track of the conversation going on.

Targeting the broader base, nurturing the quality leads

From all we’ve discussed, it should be clear that omnichannel focuses primarily on quality.

You’ve already got the customers coming to you for queries and quotations. All you have to do then is to sift through those already filtered prospects.

We already know that the average conversion rate is about 1%. With the quantity coming in, these are the only amount of people that are left.

This isn’t to say that quantity is a bad thing. If it was, multi-channel wouldn’t even exist as a concept. Thinking about it from a business perspective and considering the average conversion rates, you can understand that having that quantity come in is important. If that wasn’t the case, then we’d be looking at little to no conversion rates.

Multichannel aims at expanding the reach of your ecommerce business and marketing collateral. The more the channels, the more the reach.

The ideal multichannel operation will focus on spreading the message all across a particular region or location as well as on social media.

The problem then arises is that there is no way to communicate with the business for a customer. This is where we can use omnichannel.

This depends on the business. Considering the differences between the two concepts, our conclusion is that the omnichannel experience is a lot better.

There are several reasons for that.

Our Verdict?

The focus on omnichannel is on the customer experience.

It’s a valuable focus that determines the performance of your business. Omnichannel ensures that the customers can get both the marketing message and a way for them to contact.

Multi-channel approaches are single-tier whereas omnichannel adds to the approach by giving customers a communication method.

Omnichannel solutions like Freshdesk, with its many integrations can help you improve the customer experience by a significant margin.

This improves the overall customer engagement prospects of your business and gives you the edge when distributing your marketing collateral.


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