Omnichannel vs Multichannel Marketing: What’s The Difference?

Last Updated on April 28, 2022 by Troika Gellido

Understanding customer insights according to behavior is a must for every business.

Today’s customer behavior shapes the way brands communicate. But with so many options today, a customer’s attention is more difficult to catch, making them very challenging to convert. However, knowing the right channels your customers use the most and utilizing them to your advantage is your secret sauce to success.

When it comes to channels, there are two buzzwords common in the business and marketing world: omnichannel and multichannel. If they both involve using over one channel to communicate to customers, is there really any difference?

Read on to learn more about omnichannel vs multichannel issues, realize the major distinctions, and uncover the right strategy for your business

Difference between Omnichannel vs Multichannel

The lines between omnichannel and multichannel marketing are blurry. There’s a continuous debate on the differences even as the terms are interchangeably used.

difference between omnichannel vs multichannel

The definitions of each marketing approach yield some similarities but can also differ in critical ways. Let’s examine each approach and see how they differ.

What is Omnichannel Marketing?

Omnichannel marketing is the integration of multichannel commerce, so there’s data synchronization across different channels. Omnichannel marketing refers to linking a business’ physical operations with its online processes. 

The marketing strategy may be part of a larger marketing strategy connecting diverse customer and brand interaction touchpoints. Omnichannel strategies ensure the seamless handover of information between touchpoints. 

Omnichannel strategies focus on how various channels interact together and with the customer. A successful omnichannel organization ensures customer and product data are in sync between all the channels. 

The goal is to maximize customer convenience, so each interaction across diverse channels feels like it’s part of a single experience. 

Any complete omnichannel marketing strategy includes two-way integration between physical stores and online stores; and handovers between the online channels. 

The physical store share critical and accurate data, such as inventory, with the online channel. Online channels also pass data to the physical store, such as when customers place orders for pickup. 

Such a system means your customer moves from discovering the product to purchasing it on any channel via a brick-and-mortar store, online store, and social media. You earn extra opportunities for marketing and increasing brand interaction each time a customer takes action. 

Delivering an omnichannel experience is possible through various methods, depending on a business and clientele. The strategy offers you a chance to be creative and offer customers an experience they would otherwise not get from a single disconnected channel. 

Combining multiple channels and their strengths offers new and improved ways of engaging with the customer. However, omnichannel marketing does not mean being present everywhere, even when “Omni” means “all.”

The omnichannel strategy means making your customers the focus and meeting them where they interact with a business. These locations are physical stores, desktop, and mobile devices. Creating a marketing strategy for a channel your customers no longer use is ineffective. 

The limiting factor to executing an effective omnichannel marketing strategy is technology. You need to invest a significant amount of time and resources to: 

  • Creating the integrations; 
  • Collecting the proper data and maintaining; 
  • And building strategies for the data. 

Fortunately, many solutions are available today to help create a seamless commerce experience for your customers. 

What is Multichannel Marketing?

Multichannel marketing blends multiple distribution and promotional channels into a unified, single strategy for attracting customers. The approach helps communicate a product’s value using the strengths of different marketing channels. 

Some channels in the multichannel marketing strategy include:

  • Direct mail
  • Social media
  • Retail storefront
  • Email 
  • Websites
  • Display adverts

You are using different distribution channels so customers can get the products where they prefer. 

Multichannel marketing is a popular strategy that affects businesses today. It is said that 73% of consumers are shopping in more than one channel.

Expanding your marketing efforts to several channels helps increase your reach among the potential audience. Many of your customers are interacting on a few channels. So, expanding the campaigns to involve more channels helps cast your net further for more potential customers. 

Many channels mean an increased number of touchpoints for potential customers. This strategy offers consumers more chances to engage with brands while opening up new communication channels between your business and a customer. 

Your customers are interacting with multiple media sources daily. Instead of waiting for the customer to find your brand, you must uncover the channels customers hang out at and meet them there. 

Multichannel marketing is an ideal strategy for many businesses, but not all. Before implementing this strategy, you must understand the challenges. 

Multiple channels require more management, so you must allot more time, resources, and money to create the perfect strategy for each channel. Further, businesses running siloed departments may have difficulty implementing the strategy without combined input. 

An increasing number of channels makes it difficult to determine what message is right for which audience. While there are models you can adopt, they don’t provide a holistic view of your online and offline campaigns. 

Your customers need to see messages that also resonate with their lives. Multichannel marketing messaging should depend on the customer’s purchasing history, demographic, and psychographics. All the information requires a deeply personalized approach to marketing. 

A poorly managed multichannel marketing experience means your customer gets different messages from your brand on multiple channels. Even worse, promotions, branding, customer service, and product availability may be inaccurate or inconsistent. 

Automating several manual processes may help improve efficiency while reducing human error. Technology can help you optimize products, listing, order fulfillment, and improve the customer experience for easy expansion to other channels. 

A successful multichannel marketing model lets your business increase the sales volume where possible but won’t create a personalized customer experience. Businesses that want a solid omnichannel experience should streamline their multichannel processes first. 

Differences Between Omnichannel vs Multichannel

Choosing any of the approaches depends on the size of your business, the sector, and the audience. Understanding the differences will help connect all the critical touchpoints for a consistent customer experience.

The main distinctions between omnichannel and multichannel marketing are below, so you find the right fit for your venture.

Customers vs Channels

The omnichannel approach means a holistic connection between all channels to engage with customers for a seamless brand experience across each channel. This strategy helps develop a strong business and customer relationship.

Multichannel marketing enables customers to reach your brand across the highest number of channels. The approach involves adopting two or more channels for engaging with customers, and the most popular are email marketing and social media.


Omnichannel marketing involves collecting and analyzing customer data. The research helps you understand their pain points for a hyper-personalized experience.

Multichannel conveys your brand’s message while motivating customers to tap on the Call to Action (CTA). The omnichannel strategy requires more effort into understanding the customer journey, so they get personalized solutions.

Channel Centric vs Customer-Centric

The customer is the center of omnichannel marketing, so your customer moves from one channel to the next. Multichannel marketing maximizes the number of channels your business uses for promoting, and customers choose what channels they want to engage with you.

For example, a multichannel focus in retail may involve several channels, such as digital marketing, TV, emails, social media, and emails to promote a product and increase engagement.

An omnichannel focus, in comparison, involves just a few of these channels, such as social media, email, and websites, but all synced up towards providing a seamless move for customers from one to the other.

differences between omnichannel vs multichannel

Engagement vs Uniformity

Omnichannel marketing ensures the customer gets the satisfaction of receiving a unified messaging experience through each channel. A consistent brand experience enhances the engagement and the relationship with your brand.

The omnichannel approach means that all your internal departments are in tune with the brand message. Such an approach ensures a cohesive engagement across the channels for strategy success.

However, the customer engagement experience in multichannel marketing is siloed.

Quality vs Quantity

An omnichannel strategy is all about providing quality support through your business channels. Customers know they will receive the same quality support, no matter which channel they use to interact with your business.

A multichannel approach is about expanding the number of channels. Offering more channels helps increase your reach, and customers have a choice of ways to engage with your business. However, there is no link effort, so customers start from the beginning when they switch channels, which affects the support quality they receive.

Which of Them is Better?

It depends.

Omnichannel and multichannel marketing strategies can be successful. The key is choosing the right strategy and executing it consistently and effectively.

When Should You Choose Omnichannel?

Do you know that 87% of your customers expect a consistent and personalized experience across all channels? So, your customer will not settle for anything than the omnichannel experience.

This marketing experience ensures customers remember how they feel after encountering your brand at various touchpoints. Omnichannel marketing leaves prospective customers with a positive feeling about your business, no matter the number of interactions and engagements, channel, time, or place.

The feeling drives your prospects to take action and purchase a product or use your service and even tell their friends. Businesses using omnichannel marketing strategies that provide stellar experiences get positive returns.

Below is a description of the best times to adopt an omnichannel marketing strategy.

You Want to Achieve Synergy Across Channels and Departments

Omnichannel marketing creates better synergy by engaging customers in a channel they prefer. For example, a customer purchasing a shoe on your online shop and visiting your physical store to return it.

A seamless integration process makes extracting customer data fast. You acknowledge the customer’s individuality by providing a personal online and on-site experience.

To Improve Brand Visibility

Omnichannel marketing places the brand message across all channels in a timely and uniform manner-online, on-mobile, or in-store. Prospective customers get a personal and consistent experience each time they encounter your brand, increasing brand visibility and customer loyalty.

Want to Collect and Analyze Data

An omnichannel strategy makes gathering and integrating customer data from different systems and channels easy. These include shopping carts, device IDs, POS systems, social media, cookies, and more.

The information offers a 360-degree view of any customer engaging with your business. This data is critical when examining customer behavior, intent, and interests for better marketing campaigns. The result is higher conversion rates.

You Want to Improve Targeting

Accurate analysis of the customer data helps identify the ideal persona and market segment depending on purchasing intent. Use this information to create better marketing campaigns.

For instance, when a customer buys a shoe from your online store, a scrolling ad about the same product can annoy them. So, you need to cross-sell or upsell with ads for pants or jackets that perfectly match the shoe.

When Looking for a Cost-Effective Marketing Campaign

Insights from the data help you create marketing campaigns and use resources effectively. Interpreting the data lets you acknowledge what channels to focus on for a better return on investment.

Your Instagram ads, for example, are doing better than Google ads after analyzing the click-through rate, cost-per-click, and call-to-action of each platform. So, reduce the money you invest in Google ads and focus on Instagram.

When Should You Choose Multichannel?

Multichannel marketing is critical because your customers are everywhere. The modern world has more channels than ever before, so embracing multichannel marketing is relevant. 

The rise of digital marketing means your customers have more control over their purchasing decisions. Many prefer consulting different channels before settling on a product. Therefore, the ability to customize how individuals interact with your brand helps increase conversions. 

Further, many customers expect multichannel marketing today. The strategy is an opportunity to brand consistently across multiple channels while staying relevant and fresh. 

Implement the multichannel marketing strategy when you want to achieve the following. 

Gain Access to Valuable Data

Multichannel marketing helps you reach customers at each stage. Analyzing behavioral patterns will help you send messages that align with customer interests. 

Improve the Effectiveness of Marketing Campaigns

Businesses can create an integrated approach by combining multiple communication channels to reach customers via multichannel marketing. The strategy allows these businesses to measure and respond to each channel, in real-time. 

A multichannel marketing platform also helps marketers connect and execute cross-channel campaigns. Such a platform will help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of marketing strategies while reducing costs. 

For instance, adding more touchpoints to the funnel will help you collect more data. Use the data to determine how best to reach your customers. 

Track Your Wins

Multichannel marketing may also help you measure the success of promotions and identify the areas that are working well. The information is a critical data point for A/B testing using the same message across multiple channels. Or, you can customize a message for each channel once you know who is using what channel.

Want to Understand Your Customers Better

The best multichannel marketing campaigns help you understand customer communication and brand preference, so you deliver relevant offers. After the onboarding process, you can start firing targeted promotions based on customer interests.

For example, users that save their future purchase interests are an excellent target niche for time-limited discounts or you can promote products that match their interests.

Customers engaging with your business across various channels provide critical behavioral insights for marketing message personalization. Use these insights to form content that applies to the interests.

When Developing Strong Ecosystems

An excellent multichannel marketing ecosystem connects different customer touchpoints for a single overall experience. You can measure and react to each customer’s behavior using various marketing channels.

When You Want to Engage With Your Audience More

Multichannel marketing campaigns also help drive engagement and enhance your customer’s experience. For instance, a customer visiting the shoe store receives a discount code after opting for a personalized message in the store. Choosing a welcome email also prompts the customer to download your brand’s app.

Multichannel Marketing Examples

The simplest multichannel marketing approach involves adding a complementary channel to successful campaigns. Some multichannel marketing examples include:

  • Using Google ads for product and services promotion. The extension allows you to integrate web and mobile activity into your ad campaigns.
  • QR codes or URLs in mail-order catalogs can direct readers to your website. This is a popular strategy because it lets customers make orders online without navigating your brand’s online presence manually.
  • A second screen effect in many TV shows indicates a Twitter hashtag overlay. The hashtags may contain messages such as follow and retweet.

Key Takeaways

Objectives of omnichannel and multichannel marketing strategies help you reach potential customers across various channels.

Many businesses opt for multichannel marketing because it is easier to implement. But you must leverage insights and customize messages to the customers’ interests and position in their journey.

An omnichannel marketing strategy allows you to do this. Use the strategy to create effective targeted campaigns that put the customer’s needs at the center. Data insights help drive these campaigns and assist in journey planning while running multiple communications in a single place.

Want to find out more about omnichannel vs multichannel marketing? Get started with Nimbletoad today!