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What's The Difference Between Omnichannel And Multichannel?

We live in a period where we see the rise of new social media every week. Customers trust the brands which are active on these platforms and also want to interact with the brands across the channels of their choice.

When brands start providing value and interactions across multiple channels the effort and value proposition can remain uneven and create a misalignment in user interaction.

With marketers predicting social media spending to grow by 89% in the next few years, now is the time that brands to at least know and understand the difference between the two channels of marketing. Omnichannel and multichannel.

What is the omnichannel approach?

The omnichannel approach unifies sales and marketing that aims to provide personalized and integrated experiences across diverse touch points and devices.

This approach allows customers to engage and switch seamlessly between one channel and another without losing track of the customer's journey.

What is the Multichannel approach?

The multichannel approach uses different channels to connect and engage with the audience. However, it may not ensure a seamless experience across all the channels.

In this approach, the content delivery and user experience may vary specifically to each medium based on the consumer traffic to that medium.

As of today, nearly 52% of Marketers use 3 to 4 marketing channels as compared to 44% in 2015 (source).

The key difference between omnichannel and multichannel:

There are 4 critical differentiating factors that can be seen between them.

Channel-based vs customer based-

As the term clearly says, multichannel marketing focuses on creating maximum channels to reach customers. It uses more channels to create more engagement.

Apparently focuses on the channels which drive maximum results to your marketing goals.

Omnichannel on the other hand focuses on providing a holistic customer-centric experience.

It does so by creating stronger customer relationships by connecting the channels and giving a unified personalized experience.

Customized experience-

A multichannel approach conveys a brand's message to its customers for the purpose of getting the customer to take action on the message.

On the other hand, the Omnichannel approach also does the same but aims at a more personalized value to offer. It takes care of the existing customers at the same time.

Quantity vs Quality-

Let’s demonstrate with an example.

Multi-channel marketing focuses on widening its spread across the channels and driving more engagements from social media in the form of likes, comments, and many more.

Omnichannel marketing focuses on qualitative metrics and encourages the customer to jump directly from social media to the brand's website.


The multichannel approach treats each channel as independent. So, focuses more on where it is getting more benefits. This clearly defines that the engagement and customer experience may not be the same across the channels.

The omnichannel approach will provide the same experience across multiple channels. Here user interactions are recorded and stored which eases providing a seamless experience across the channels.

Which approach suits your business?

While the above points show omnichannel marketing as the better approach, in practical applications, the best approach will vary on the way you do business and you're positioning in the market.

However, 72% of consumers say they would rather connect with brands and businesses through multichannel marketing (source).

It all comes down to user experience. This can be the ultimate guide to selecting the channels. The brand should always develop strategies that ease them to connect to the audience and provide a robust user experience.

We have an example of brands discovering the best channel approach for them and nailing the campaigns across the industry.

Apple’s Multichannel success

With the shopping format changing over time, Apple noticed that most of the sales were coming from its own and third-party online stores.

Adapting to the new changes it changed the functionalities around its physical store, and made it a customer touch point for in-hand experience and customer education.

This strategy allowed them to gain consumer trust in physical locations and make the purchasing decision online with better seasonal, card offers.

Another key factor is Apple uses visual branding guidelines. Here the message shared across the channels online or offline will share the elements of a common design language. And customers can easily identify the Brand through the theme without jumping onto their website or any other channels.

Hence this can be a great example of building authority without having to work on each channel consistently.

Winding up the debate

Like the content and value delivery across the channels may vary in multi-channel marketing, the answer to which channel is best will also vary according to the business.

One has to understand that they can produce a magnificent result from any approach if they have the right strategies and systems in place. If you have a clear visualization of the product positioning the systems are already out there for your marketing campaigns to be flawless.

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