A few years ago all companies wanted to offer multichannel customer experiences. However, time and the pace of technological and social advances have caused companies to go from multichannel to omnichannel. Discover the differences between a multichannel customer experience and an omnichannel customer experience.
Customers' growing appreciation of the intangible aspects of the shopping experience has led organizations to pay more attention to the customer experience they offer.
Static customer experiences were left behind many years ago. Today, pretty much all companies have more than one channel or touchpoint in their customer experiences.
If some years ago companies were striving to build multichannel customer strategies, today the focus is on omnichannel strategies.
Both perspectives respond to the multitude of devices and touch points that intervene in any purchase process or in any other interaction between a company and its customers.
Differences between multichannel and omnichannel customer experience
What is a multichannel customer experience?
A multichannel customer experience is one that integrates multiple channels. The basis of a multichannel strategy is that the customer can carry out the purchase process from more than one channel. However, the customer experience not only encompasses the purchase process, but also any other interaction with the brand.
The proliferation of multichannel strategies came with the arrival and democratization of the Internet in the 2000s. The new digital environment gave way to new communication channels between companies and their customers, who no longer had to make their purchases from a physical sales point.
Nowadays it would be hard to find a customer experience that is not multichannel. All companies communicate with consumers through multiple platforms, environments and devices. In addition, e-commerce is booming and many brands already have an online store.
The popularization of the Internet also resulted in customers having the possibility to research before buying an item. Customers now search for information about the company, the brand and, most importantly, they compare their options with those of the competition. In this sense, multichannel has ceased to be a strategy and has become a necessity or a basic service that the vast majority of brands offer.
The expansion of options has translated into greater opportunities for both customers and companies. Companies have more options to capture new potential customers through new spaces and to build customer loyalty through digital marketing strategies, email marketing, etc. However, customers also have more purchasing options, so greater choice also means greater complexity.
What is an omnichannel customer experience?
If the proliferation of digital and physical touch led us to multichannel, the customer-centric perspective and new customer demands have led us to omnichannel.
The omnichannel approach does not focus on maximizing the potential of multiple communication channels. Instead, it focuses on building a better customer experience that puts the customer at the center of the organization, of all business decisions and, evidently, at the center of the experience offered.
The purpose of an omnichannel strategy is to offer consumers an optimal customer experience that integrates all of the company's touch points. In other words, omnichannel sees all channels as a whole, not as independent pieces that should be addressed individually.
The omnichannel approach does not focus on the channel through which customers arrive, but rather on the overall customer experience and eliminating dissatisfaction at all touch points to create a frictionless experience. The goal of this perspective is to leverage all channels to build a complete, frictionless, cohesive and customer-centric experience.
The basic principle of the omnichannel strategy is continuity in the structure, functionality, content, usability and interactions available at all channels and touch points.
Multichannel or omnichannel?
If you're wondering which approach is the most convenient or cost-effective, the answer is simple. Multichannel is pretty much a given, and you're probably already applying it. Think for a moment about your customers' buying process and all the different touch points your company offers. They are probably in multiple channels.
However, it is now convenient to go a step further and commit to omnichannel strategies. Take advantage of technology to build an integrated customer experience that brings all channels together.
Leverage all your touch points to build a seamless experience and consolidate a customer journey focused on your clients' needs.