To most people ‘multichannel’ and ‘omnichannel’ are the same thing. They are all about offering services and communicating with customers on many different platforms and devices. There are, however, differences between them and it is very useful for business to know them.
Knowing which method is more convenient for your customers is important for providing an excellent customer experience. So what are the differences between multichannel and omnichannel, and which one is better? Let’s find out!
What Is Multichannel?
Multichannel means being present for your customers on more than one channel. You can have a physical store, an online store, and many channels on which a customer can reach you – phone, live chat, email, WhatsApp, etc.
One of the characteristics of multichannel, however, is that there is no connection between all the channels. So if a customer reaches you twice on two different channels, the experience will not be the same. This is because the channels are separate from each other.
The same happens, for example, when a customer orders something online, but they cannot return it in a physical store. Even if the company has a physical store, it will not be possible to return the item there, customers will need to do it online.
What Is Omnichannel?
Omnichannel comes from multichannel. It is its successor. With omnichannel, the customers are in the center and all the channels are available for them in an easy and most importantly connected way. So if a customer contacts you on one channel and then on another, the experience will be the same.
With omnichannel, there is no separation between channels. Unified channels lead to a seamless customer experience across all devices and platforms. So the switching between channels will not be a problem and it will feel as if they didn’t switch channels at all.
Multichannel and Omnichannel – Differences
The biggest difference between the two is the way the channels are used. With multichannel, the channels are separated from each other. The downsides of this are:
- Miscommunication between channels
- Different experience with each channel
- Inconsistency in brand’s style
With multichannel, customers still have the possibility to choose among different channels. But the downside is that all the channels are not working together in a unified way. They all provide different services and they are separate from each other.
With omnichannel, all the channels provide the same services and they work together. There is no miscommunication between channels. In this way, they focus on the customers and their needs and make sure to provide personalized service. The customers are able to access all kinds of information in a very easy way since the channels are connected.
The customer expects a unified experience, so it is better to be able to provide it. They want a seamless and easy experience with the brands they are using. If they are to contact you on one channel and in time they contact you on another channel, they expect things to be the same. They are still talking to one brand, so the experience should be the same on all channels, platforms, and devices.
If this all is covered, with the help of omnichannel, the customers will trust your company more as there is consistency and they know you are paying attention. This will lead to your customers being loyal to you as their trust in you is much higher.
When your channels are unified and connected, this goes to say – we are trustworthy, organized and we care. And this is how your customers will see you.
Why Is Omnichannel Better Than Multichannel?
There are many ways in which omnichannel is better than multichannel. We are going to list just the key points:
Using more than one device when shopping
With omnichannel, it is possible for a person to choose a product on their phone and then go back to a laptop device to find the same. The information on all of the brand’s channels is the same. People can find the same across all devices they use. And more importantly – the information is personalized according to their likes and behavior.
Another good example is the possibility to choose the product on the web and then go to the company’s store to actually buy it. This wouldn’t be possible with multichannel, as the channels are separated and the products available on the website would most probably be different from the ones in the store. But being able to choose something online and go get it from the store, is of great convenience for the customers.
When you communicate with a brand it is better to have their style and their message delivered in the same way everywhere.
Longer lifetime value
The examples above will make the customers’ lifetime value a lot longer. Customers that use multiple unified channels are more satisfied and more likely to come back. This holistic approach will bring much more gains to any company.
Be Multi- in an Omni- way
Even though we would not have omnichannel if there was no multichannel created, omnichannel seems like the better version of the two. Customers have always been the most important part of any business. And focusing on them is one of the best practices any business can adopt.
Omnichannel helps with focusing on the customers and providing them with the help and information they need. And all of that from the channel they prefer. Providing a unified and consistent service to our customers is crucial.
Having multichannel is important – customers are everywhere nowadays. But being able to unify them and have them work together for your customers is even more important.
You can start with omnichannel right away by simply clicking here.