Optimization glossary

Omnichannel marketing

What is omnichannel marketing?

Omnichannel marketing is the practice of promoting good and services across multiple channels like search engines, social and advertising.

Shoppers today are dynamic. The vast majority (86%) move between two or more channels when shopping -- maybe they start on their phones and move to their computers, or start shopping online and end up buying at a brick-and-mortar store. To reach these customers where they choose to be, your business needs to embrace omnichannel marketing to meet the expectations of the customer journey. It's the only way to stay competitive going forward.

Key takeaways

  • Customers today expect a seamless ecommerce experience across multiple channels and devices

  • Omnichannel marketing presents a consistent and integrated brand or product experience across multiple channels

  • Multichannel marketing fine tunes the message for each channel, while omnichannel market fine tunes the message for each customer

  • Omnichannel marketing results in higher engagement and purchase rates, higher order values, improved customer retention, and more consistent brand identity

Omnichannel marketing defined

Omnichannel marketing presents your product, brand, and message in multiple channels and media. However customers access your company, product, or brand, you're there -- with a consistent message that's fine tuned for each channel.

The goal of your omnichannel marketing strategy should be to consistently present your content and messaging across all relevant channels -- in-store, on the web, mobile app, emails, on social media, and wherever else customers may be looking. This also includes systemizing your message for specific devices -- phones, computers, tablets, print newspapers, television ads, and more. It's all about delivering an impactful customer experience across all channels. 

To embrace omnichannel marketing, you have to take a consumer-centric approach in your marketing campaigns. Customers choose how they interact with your brand across different channels. Omnichannel marketing ensures that all consumers have a consistent and positive experience in each channel. 

How does omnichannel differ from multichannel?

Many people confuse omnichannel marketing with the more traditional multichannel marketing -- and, in fact, omnichannel is an evolution of multichannel. 

Both omnichannel and multichannel marketing aim to engage customers across multiple platforms. However, the focus of each type of marketing is different. Multichannel is focused on the channels themselves, assuming that customers use only one channel at a time. The omnichannel approach, however, focuses on the customers, assuming that their journey may carry them across multiple channels including email marketing, mobile devices, etc. for a more personalized experience. 

As such, multichannel is the simpler approach of the two. Multichannel marketing takes your product, brand, or message, and presents it in each identified channel. Multichannel marketing ensures that the path to purchase within a channel is as direct and easy-to-follow as possible. Customers can choose which channel to use, but the marketing efforts are effectively siloed within individual channels.

Like multichannel, omnichannel makes your brand or product available across multiple channels. It goes a step further, however, to create a seamlessly integrated experience across all channels. This enables customers to move from one channel and/or device to another and not only have a similar experience, but also retain their shopping and purchase history. A customer's shopping experience in one channel is deeply informed by prior experiences in other channels.

Who's using omnichannel marketing today?

Omnichannel marketing is the ideal marketing strategy for today's consumers -- which is why it's been adopted by companies across multiple industries, including:

  • Automotive, where products and services are integrated across dealer, manufacturer, and service center websites and social media. 

  • Banking and financial services, where clients demand a seamless experience while using ATMs, phones, computers or visiting in person at bank branches.

  • Healthcare, where consumers can interact with multiple touchpoints from a variety of providers -- general practitioners, specialists, clinics, hospitals and pharmacies.

  • Retail, where omnichannel marketing integrates online and offline shopping across websites, social media and more. Some of the biggest retailers today have omnichannel marketing operations, including Best Buy, Target and Walgreens. 

Why omnichannel marketing is important 

Consumers want a consistent experience, wherever and however they interact with your business. They may start a transaction in one channel, move to another to continue the transaction, and conclude the transaction in yet another channel. The ease in which they can do this determines which companies they'll deal with in the future and how much money they'll spend there.

This type of omnichannel experience is equally important in B2B marketing as it is in B2C. Company purchasing agents want a similar experience at work to what they have when shopping at home. A buyer may start a purchase order on the phone while walking through the warehouse, and then finish it up on the computer in his office. The transition must be seamless.

What happens when your company embraces omnichannel marketing? Whether you're a B2B or B2C company, there are a number of significant benefits you're likely to recognize.

Higher engagement and purchase rates

The majority of customers today expect a seamless omnichannel experience -- and reward those companies that offer it. According to Omnisend's Marketing Automation Statistics report, companies that employ three or more channels in their omnichannel marketing experience engagement and purchase rates are more than 250% higher than those employing single-channel marketing. Engagement rates jumped from 5.4% to 18.96%, while purchased rates increased from 2.56% to 8.96%. 

Higher order values

Not only are customers more likely to purchase from an omnichannel retailer, but retailers will also purchase more from each order. According to the Omnisend report, the average order value of purchases from omnichannel marketers was 13% higher than from single-channel marketers. With omnichannel marketing, you make a larger number of sales -- and more higher-priced sales.

Improved customer retention

Because customers are happier with the omnichannel marketing experience, they're more likely to order from you again. Forbes reports that companies with strong omnichannel customer engagement retain 89% of their customers, compared to just 33% retained by businesses with weak or no omnichannel presence.

More consistent brand identity

By focusing on the customer experience across all channels, you present a more consistent brand identity to your customers. It's not about developing your presence for each channel -- it's about establishing a constant presence for and persistent relationship with each customer. 

More useful analytics

Omnichannel marketing produces valuable customer data across multiple channels. This omnichannel customer data helps you better personalize the customer experience and enhance response rates.

Let Optimizely help you embrace omnichannel marketing

Optimizely works with you to innovate across multiple online channels. The Optimizely Digital Experience platform helps you create consistent omnichannel experiences, so you can personalize every experience to user behavior. We take the guesswork out of omnichannel marketing to help you deliver a data-driven user experience across all relevant channels.