• Marketing

Multichannel vs. Omnichannel: What’s the difference?

Garratt Wooton
Garratt Wootton
Business Development Manager
Write to Garratt

Is your audience made up of Baby boomers? Gen Z? Millennials? All of the above? Depending on who you serve and what you offer, you may need to employ one or a combination both (multichannel and omnichannel) marketing strategies.

Read on for the distinctions between the two! 

Customer Experience or Customer Engagement?

An omnichannel strategy integrates all channels and customer touchpoints, providing a unified experience that is consistent on all fronts with a focus on creating the ultimate customer experience


A multichannel strategy reaches customers via many separate, independent and generally disconnected channels. By using a combination of physical and digital marketing, the focus shifts to a strategy of customer engagement.

People or Product?

Omnichannel marketing plans revolve around the customer, hence being better geared towards customer experience, and perform well in industries such as retail and ecommerce. 


On the other hand, multichannel marketing plans revolve around the product. This is a great approach for small businesses and traditional industries to develop great customer relations based on providing the best product. 

Integrated & Interactive Channels or Independent & Disconnected Channels?

With an omnichannel experience, businesses need to consider all devices and platforms when creating their customer journey. This means that customer feedback from all channels is essential to creating a seamless and consistent customer experience, and if you fail to address a key channel, you risk losing customers to poor customer service or a lack of customer engagement.

Ultimately, the connectedness of an effective omnichannel strategy gives you the power to improve the overall customer experience, increase customer retention, and grow revenue. 


With siloed methods in a multichannel approach, marketers must be agile in a different way. They need to be able to develop & coordinate highly orchestrated micro-campaigns and touch points for a customer journey that span across multiple channels seamlessly, and in a manner that creates trust and meaningful connections.

The best way to do that is to have a platform that will allow you to integrate both traditional and new media channels to create a single campaign that can be repeated over various channels. This simplifies both, the creation and execution of multichannel campaigns, and can improve the performance of your campaign while also reducing costs.  


Potential downsides?  

Omnichannel requires a lot of moving parts and a strong tech stack, increasing the cost of the implementation. This can be a big deterrent if you’re bootstrapping your startup or run a smaller business. 


Multiple budgets, multiple marketing plans, and multiple teams are some of the potential downsides to a multichannel approach. It can also result in going over budget, eating up time, and requiring strong customer analytics. If you don’t have an organized team, this one may not be for you.


Famous brands and their take on both strategies 

  • It doesn’t matter where you turn, Nike has a powerful presence online and offline. The brand also boasts of a strong social media strategy - another big way the brand promotes products and seamlessly connects with customers via their fully integrated omnichannel strategy. 
  • Sephora offers a seamless experience across all channels (omnichannel), as well as a strong loyalty program to reward and engage customers who shop on multiple channels (multichannel).
  • Apple has a notably strong presence covering all channels, which you can probably think of instantly - brick and mortar stores, digital stores, and a mobile app. As an added component of hooking customers, Apple tends to offer exclusive products (think iPad or the iPhone) through its own channels or at a consistent price.

Which one will you choose? 

Thanks to some key differences, most companies today opt for some form of both omnichannel and multichannel marketing strategies. That’s because there’s a spectrum - single channel, multi channel, omni channel - and it depends on budget, audience, product, or a combination of these things. 

What's the real secret?

The age-old marketing tip: know your audience, serve them where they are, and give them what they want in whatever form that requires. 

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