Both omnichannel and multi-channel refer to marketing strategies to reach potential customers. However, there are distinctive differences between omni-channel and multi channel that you cannot substitute one marketing strategy for another.

It is not rare to find companies which confuse the two terms while trying to come up with the best strategy to interact with their customers. For businesses to effectively use each marketing strategy, they should understand the key differences between omni-channel and multi channel.

Multi channel is a new marketing strategy that refers to using multiple channels such as email, print ad, web and social media to engage with consumers. On the other hand, omni-channel is a marketing approach where businesses use multiple channels to engage with customers in addition to viewing the experience via the customer eyes.

Let’s look at each marketing terminology separately so that we can understand the difference between the two terms.

What is Multi channel?

Multi channel involve combining different promotional and distribution channels for marketing purposes. Today, you will find click-and-mortar businesses which use different platforms to sell their merchandise, including a physical store, internet, mobile device and phone calls.

When a business sells both online and on physical store, it is said to be a multi channel business. Multi channel came about so as to improve the convenience and ease at which customers buy from businesses. Therefore, if customers find it easy to interact with your business via social media, then they will choose to purchase via that platform.

If they prefer visiting your physical store, then that is the channel they will use to make a purchase. The whole idea of multi channel is to offer customers variety of choices that they can buy from you.

What is Omni-channel?

Omni channel involves using multiple channels to interact with customers but distinguishes itself through focus and consistency on the device used for customer interaction. Businesses that adopt omni-channel are keen to ensure their consumers have the same message and experience when they use different device and channels while engaging with the company. Omni-channel businesses foresee their clients starting on one channel before transitioning to another platform before they make a purchase.

Therefore, the focus of omni-channel is to make sure customers who choose to interact with a business through social media, website and mobile app have the same look and feel, and the message they receive across different channels are seamless.

omnichannel marketing and multichannel marketing

Omni channel vs Multi channel: The difference

Now that we have seen the definition of each term, you might be wondering which marketing strategy between the two is right for your business. Before you choose between omni- channel and multi channel, you must understand how they work and the tools needed to implement each strategy to your business. Here are the key differences between omni-channel and multi channel.

One focus on customers and the other on channels

If you are a marketer and you are new to omni channel and multi channel, this is one of the main differences that you should know. Multi channel focuses on different channels where they can convey their message to customers. This marketing strategy aims at using the most channels so as to engage with as many customers as possible.

Therefore, you will find multi channel businesses using social media, website, email or additional channels to engage with their consumers. Omni-channel on the other hand, makes sure those customers who use different channels from mobile device to brick and mortar, have the same customer experience.

Unlike multi channel whose focus is on quantity, omni channel ensures that customers receive a great experience while interacting with the business. This helps to ensure that there is a strong relationship between the customer and the business.

One focus on consistency and the other on customer engagement

When it comes to omni-channel, consistency is the king. Businesses that adopt omni-channel ensure that their customers receive the same message and experience every time they are using different channels. When consistency is achieved, it makes it easier for customers to be familiar and to relate with the business brand.

On the other hand, multi channel gives priority to customer engagement. Multi channel businesses use different channels so as to gain a wide customer engagement.

In conclusion, businesses that use omni channels have a higher customer retention percentage compared to multi channel businesses. However, there are pros and cons of using each marketing strategy. To effectively implement omni channel, businesses must make cultural and organizational changes. Customers no longer view businesses as silos. Therefore, rather than teams working in silos, they should communicate and collaborate as a unified company so that they can improve customer experience.