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Home>Blogs>Business Glossary >Multichannel vs Omnichannel

Multichannel VS Omnichannel Retail

Gone are the days for single-channel retailers, in today’s era it’s important to make your business stand out from the others. The customers wish to possess the ability to shop whenever they want, from wherever they want, and however they want, single-channel retailers have failed to cater to these consumer needs leading to the emergence of multichannel and omnichannel retail.  
Although both multichannel and omnichannel retail involves selling across multiple physical and digital channels, the key difference lies in the purchase experience that is delivered to the customer. A traditional multichannel retailer may have a website and physical stores, but these channels act as independent silos and have very little interaction with one another. However, Omnichannel retail is more customer-based rather than channel-based.

What is Multichannel retail?

Multichannel Retailing is the practice of engaging customers through multiple options to interact and purchase with your brand. The brand remains a centerpiece in this retail model, while other channels act as independent silos. It may include selling through traditional outlets such as brick-and-mortar stores, catalogs, mails, and telephones or nontraditional electronic and mobile outlets like websites, emails, apps, social networks, and E-marketplaces.
Thus, marketing, sales, communication, and shopping experiences are different for different channels.
For example,  a brand ‘X’ is selling its fashion products via its Brick and Mortar store, Facebook page, Instagram Business Account, Amazon store, eCommerce website, etc. at the same time, but with different shopping experiences.

The multichannel approach is a way to reach a lot of customers by targeting those channels that give the maximum return on investment.

What is Omnichannel Retail?

Omnichannel commerce is a multichannel approach to sales that provides customers with a unified and seamless shopping experience, whether they're shopping from an online store or marketplace, or in a brick-and-mortar store. There is integration between distribution, promotion, and communication channels on the back end. It improves customer support services by providing seamless, high-quality shopping experiences between multiple channels of contact. An omnichannel approach to retailing drives better relationships across all channels and points of sale or interaction.

Benefits of Omnichannel Commerce

With the revolutionary development in technology and the internet over the last two decades, there has been a massive change in customer buying behavior. Businesses are now expected to offer products and services via multiple retail channels, including online stores, mobile apps, brick and mortar stores, etc.

1) Omnipresence:

Gone are the days of the single-channel retail business. In today's era, if a brand wants to cater to all the needs of their customers, they need to be available to them at all times and places, providing a consistent shopping experience irrespective of the time and place of their interaction.

2) Integrated Data Collection and Analytics:

Omnichannel strategy enables a company to monitor and collect its customers' data across all the channels. This data helps the company to understand its customers better and to learn their needs and preferences, such as the products they have looked at, the products they have left in the cart, the deals they got attracted to, etc.
This facilitates enhanced customization of communications and promotions made to each customer, thereby personalizing their purchase journey making them feel unique and important for the brand.

3) Customer Loyalty:

The omnichannel approach focuses on the individual purchase experience across various channels and devices, enhancing customer loyalty. By emphasizing the customer instead of the platform from which they interact, companies tend to drive more sales and better retention rates. The targeted messaging builds loyalty and creates brand retention making it more likely to purchase from the same brand again.

4) Enhanced Brand Image:

Through an omnichannel approach, businesses can provide their customers with a consistent experience across all platforms and channels and offer a personalized experience for each of them. This improves the overall customer experience and builds a positive image for the brand.

5) Increase in Revenue:

An omnichannel approach towards e-commerce invites customers to engage with a brand across multiple touchpoints and channels. This increase in various engagements and enhanced customer experience at each stage of the consumer's purchase journey can help increase revenue.

Key Differences between Multichannel and Omnichannel Commerce

Whether to adopt an omnichannel or a multichannel approach is easy to decide if you understand what differentiates the two approaches. It also depends on the size, and audience of your business.

Omnichannel retail is a strategy that is customer-centric and involves all channels whereas Multichannel retail strategy is product-centric and involves many channels. The omnichannel retail approach integrates the customer experience making it consistent across all the channels of interaction with the customer. Multichannel retail allows customers to purchase goods and services through many channels but without integration and a seamless shopping experience.

Channels and Customers

Omnichannel Retail includes a holistic approach directed towards engaging with customers and delivering a seamless experience across all channels. It aims at developing a strong and long-lasting customer relationship. On the other hand, the multichannel approach enables customers to interact with the brand through a maximum number of channels.

Uniformity

The omnichannel approach aims to deliver a unified messaging experience to the customers through every channel ensuring a cohesive engagement throughout. However, in the multichannel approach, customer engagement differs with each channel.

Personalization

The omnichannel approach to retailing helps the brand to collect and analyze customers’ data and insight to understand their needs, preferences, and pain points. These insights help the brands to understand their customers better and drive their marketing strategy accordingly.

Thus, the significant difference between multichannel and omnichannel retail strategies is that the latter connects the touchpoints together so that, the customer experience is consistent and unified across all the channels.

Future of Omnichannel and Multichannel

With the revolutionary development in technology and the internet over the last two decades, there has been a massive change in customer buying behavior. Businesses are now expected to offer products and services via multiple retail channels, including online stores, mobile apps, brick and mortar stores, etc. Thus, each day we see more and more brands shifting to online business and exploring the benefits of omnichannel retailing. Customers who shop "heavily or exclusively" online increased up to 133% from September 2019 to September 2020. A report by Adweek says that "62% of the Gen X population and 44% of Baby Boomers are doing more online shopping now than they were before the pandemic".

The pandemic has not only changed customers buying behavior but has also restricted companies from using traditional marketing approaches, making it necessary for them to embrace the omnichannel retail strategy to provide unified shopping experiences across all channels.

Is your business ready to jump into the fascinating world of omnichannel commerce? Among the various rising Omnichannel retail solutions, Fynd Platform has emerged as one of the best omnichannel platforms. Fynd Platform being the ultimate solution for omnichannel retail business, provides a new way of retailing and offers inventory syncing from offline to online stores across channels, website development. Apart from this, you can also integrate delivery partners who will help deliver goods to your customers.

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