Many businesses are confused about the differences between an omnichannel and a multichannel approach. Here’s a look at both and why one is better.
New technologies are constantly emerging and evolving, giving marketers a lot more opportunities to engage with and connect with consumers, and consumers a lot more ways to find and buy the products and services they need. But these expanded marketing channels are also increasing the complexity of getting a marketing message out to a company’s customers. Although it’s accepted that a company has to make use of multiple marketing channels to reach consumers that are increasingly using smartphones and other mobile devices, as well as PCs, to do their browsing and shopping online, many businesses are confused about the different options available and how to use them effectively, and thus don’t use them effectively.
The terms omnichannel and multichannel have been around for a long time, yet many marketers don’t understand what they mean. While there are similarities between the two strategies, there are significant differences, too, ones that can have a big impact on the success or failure of a company’s marketing outreach. Here’s a quick look at the meaning of both terms, and argument as to why an omnichannel approach is better, and how leveraging the right technologies can help a business to succeed.
The Difference Between Multichannel And Omnichannel
Both marketing approaches use more than one channel to sell products and services, using both physical and digital tools, but the experience for the customer is different. Most businesses use a multichannel approach, but the channels aren’t connected. For example, a company might have a brick and mortar store and an online store, but each might have a different inventory, and a customer can do things at the physical store that they can’t do online, and vice versa. A customer can’t easily switch between the two because transactions are separated.
An omnichannel approach allows for seamless customer experience. They can initiate a transaction or communication online and then continue it on another channel or at a physical location. It puts the consumer first, making it easier for them to shop and buy, thus making for a better marketing strategy.
The Advantages Of A Multichannel Marketing Approach
An omnichannel marketing approach is more effective than a multichannel one in several ways. Here are some of the benefits of a better customer service experience through omnichannel.
It allows for a customer relations hub. An omnichannel lets a business interact with its customers from a central hub, giving an overview and command of the whole purchasing journey and enabling a seamless transition from one communication channel to a different one, from chat to voice to SMS text to email, without losing any information in the process.
A more personal customer connection. Being able to interact with a business across multiple channels seamlessly makes customers feel valued, and integration with a CRM system gives an agent instant customer information on any communication channel for a more personalized conversation.
A better understanding of customers. The combination of artificial intelligence technology, big data, machine learning, and cloud communication allows for the analysis of customer communications across every channel, including reviews and social media, to create accurate customer personas and spotlight customer complaints and other problems so that they can be addressed promptly.
Improves efficiency and productivity. When customer agents have the option to share information across multiple communication channels instantly, call resolution rates to improve and customer wait times and costs per call are reduced. Artificial intelligence technology lets a business identify problems in the call process, increasing agent efficiency, and productivity when resolved.
Improves communication with vendors. An omnichannel approach makes for more effective communication with suppliers and vendors, allowing a business to be immediately informed of delivery delays and other problems so that they can be addressed before they have a serious impact on operations and customers.
The omnichannel approach is the better approach for marketing, customer service, and communications. A company should assess its specific needs and requirements and then choose the right vendor to provide the technology and tools to implement their particular omnichannel solution.
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