Definition: Multichannel

What is multichannel?

Multichannel is a business strategy or approach that involves interacting with customers through multiple channels or platforms. These channels can include online marketplaces, social media, mobile apps, or brick-and-mortar stores.

Why is it important to have a multichannel marketing strategy?

The widespread availability of the internet and the ubiquity of eCommerce have fundamentally transformed the shopping behavior of customers. Instead of visiting a physical store to gather information about a product, make a purchase, or seek assistance with the customer support team, they can now leverage the power of digital channels to accomplish their goals.

As discovered in a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review on over 46,000 US shoppers, 73% used multiple channels during their shopping journey. In comparison, 20% of the study participants were store-only shoppers, while only 7% were online-only shoppers.

With a huge majority of customers utilizing a mix of channels throughout their shopping journey, businesses must adapt their marketing approach to reach and resonate with their target audience wherever they may be, or else risk being overshadowed by competitors who have successfully embraced the power of multichannel marketing. In today's highly competitive marketplace, where customers have endless options and fleeting attention spans, a lack of presence across relevant channels can result in missed opportunities and, ultimately, a loss of market share.

By implementing a robust and well-executed multichannel strategy, businesses can proactively engage customers at every touchpoint, deliver tailored messaging, and create seamless experiences that not only drive conversion but also foster brand loyalty and advocacy.

Is multichannel the same as omnichannel?

In terms of customer experience, multichannel and omnichannel are not the same, although they have some similarities.

Multichannel refers to the use of multiple marketing and communication channels to reach customers. In a multichannel approach, businesses establish a presence across various channel such as websites, social media platforms, mobile apps, physical stores, and more. However, the challenge with multichannel is that these channels often function in silos, with little to no integration or consistency in the customer experience.

Omnichannel takes the concept of multichannel a step further by seeking to provide a seamless and personalized customer experience, regardless of the channel or device customers choose to engage with, and presenting them with relevant and consistent messages throughout their entire shopping journey.

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