Omnichannel Strategy (With Steps, Benefits and Differences)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 15 November 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Customers may get more satisfaction from businesses that optimise the purchasing process and stages for their convenience. A convenient strategy integrates various customer processes and helps save them time. If sales and marketing interest you, learning about an omnichannel approach can help you apply this strategy to integrate various tools, channels and devices and make transactions more convenient for customers. In this article, we define the omnichannel strategy, discuss how it works and how to implement it, outline its benefits and differentiate it from a multichannel strategy.

What is an omnichannel strategy?

An omnichannel strategy is a sales and marketing strategy that integrates various tools to unify and improve a customer's shopping experience. The approach unifies a company's physical and digital presence to deliver consistent marketing messages. Customers can access the company's products or services, along with its offers and support services, across multiple channels, platforms and devices. Some tools, elements and platforms that a business can consider integrating when using this strategy include the following:

  • email

  • social media

  • websites

  • phone

  • retail stores

  • events

  • exhibitions

Related: 9 Marketing Campaign Examples (Types, Objectives and Tips)

How does an omnichannel strategy work?

An omnichannel approach works by integrating various elements in specific business pillars. These pillars include the following:

  • Sales: The sales strategy and channels are part of the omnichannel approach and directly influence the strategy's effectiveness. It helps to prioritise the sales channels that many customers use.

  • Marketing: Businesses integrate their marketing strategy in the omnichannel approach to ensure consistency of marketing messages. An omnichannel marketing strategy helps customers connect and relate with a brand in any marketing channel you use.

  • Operations: An omnichannel approach unifies a company's channels to support user operations. It also integrates various external tools to make operations more efficient for the company's customers.

  • Fulfilment and logistics: Customers get what they purchase through fulfilment and logistics operations. Integrating this into the omnichannel approach helps reinforce the brand's image in the last steps of the purchase process.

Benefits of an omnichannel approach

An omnichannel approach offers the following benefits:

  • Improves data collection: The omnichannel approach focuses on helping businesses customise and optimise each customer's experience. Businesses collect data to gain insights about customers and tailor the experience to create effective promotions and offers.

  • Optimises customer experience: Customers interact with businesses using various methods, such as the company's website, social media platforms and physical stores. An omnichannel approach makes these interactions easy, improving customer experience and turning them into repeat customers who also refer the company to friends and acquaintances.

  • Improves customer loyalty: This strategy improves the customer's experience, which improves brand loyalty. A pleasant experience prompts them to spend more per transaction, shop more often and advocate for the brand.

  • Increases traffic: This approach also helps businesses generate more website traffic. A platform has more value with every channel, platform or tool it integrates.

  • Unifies marketing efforts: An omnichannel approach unifies a company's efforts across multiple channels, which provides consistency and helps to achieve objectives efficiently. For example, this approach aligns the company's message on social media, email and content marketing platforms.

  • Improves competitive advantage: Many customers use multiple channels and devices in their shopping journey. A business using popular channels can gain a larger market share.

How to implement the omnichannel approach for brand awareness

The following are steps you can take to help you launch an omnichannel approach to improve a company's brand awareness:

1. Understand the target customers

Collect and analyse data to understand the target customers and develop an omnichannel approach that fulfils their needs. Businesses use various methods to collect data for their omnichannel approach. Consider issuing questionnaires to customers to understand their shopping preferences. Some companies offer incentives, such as discounts, for completing a questionnaire. The information helps them integrate the right channels and tools to optimise the customer experience. Businesses use different metrics to collect information about their customers. Some analysis metrics to consider include the following:

  • using social media conversion metrics

  • monitoring email engagement

  • determining popular pages on the website

  • analysing sales by various devices to compare sales among desktop and mobile users

  • evaluating reactions to changes in products and offers

Related: What Is Marketing Analytics? (Components and Uses)

2. Map the customer journey

Visualise the customer journey to understand different customer engagement points for each audience segment. The map evaluates a customer's steps to purchase from a brand after discovering it. Identifying the steps in a customer's journey helps businesses create campaigns that target audiences better. They can optimise the user experience, consider individual interests and determine external factors that affect the customer's decision, such as technology or finances.

3. Diversify the company's presence

After identifying customer engagement points, invest the company's presence in these areas to gain more customers and improve their experience. For example, a company can invest in social media marketing, optimise its website, list products on online marketplaces, request customer feedback on review sites and add customers to its email list. Maintain consistency and brand identity across different channels. For example, a company can apply similar pricing, branding and messaging across all channels.

4. Provide educational content

Content quality and value directly influence the number of sales for a business. Deliver engaging content across all platforms to educate customers, answer questions and develop trust. There are various forms of content marketing campaigns depending on the type of platform. Some examples include social media campaigns, blog posts, customer reviews, product guides and live stream content.

Related: How to YouTube Live Stream (With Helpful Tips for Creators)

Video and image content engage customers more and help the marketing strategy perform better on social media. This content can also improve the brand's ranking in search engine results. You can create video tutorials for various topics in your field or produce explainer videos for the company's products or services.

Related: What Does a Content Creator Do? And How to Become One

5. Integrate the offline and online shopping experience

Combine the online and offline experience to improve customer satisfaction. Many customers prefer researching a product or service online before visiting a physical outlet. For example, customers may purchase products online but want a place they can go to return, exchange or purchase more products. They also expect a quick response from the in-store team when they make an order or enquiry online. For instance, they expect an order to be ready for pickup or delivery within a short period after purchase.

Related: What Is Customer Experience Management? (And How It Works)

6. Use a uniform message and include a call to action

Apply uniform messages for consistency and personalise some areas to communicate better with different audience segments. Consider dynamic segments, which require different messages depending on which stage a customer is in during their purchase journey. Include calls to action on the device or platform at the end of a customer's engagement with the company. For example, you can ensure social media ads redirect users to the mobile website and not the desktop version because many people access social media platforms via mobile phones.

7. Develop a reliable customer service infrastructure

Reliable customer service boosts the performance of an omnichannel approach. Develop an online customer service program to offer support that's convenient for customers. A customer service program also helps a business show its customers how much it values them, which improves their experience and satisfaction.

Related: What Is Good Customer Service? Definition and Guideline

8. Test and optimise the omnichannel approach

Test the effectiveness of this approach continuously to optimise it and implement changes quickly to maintain a good user experience. Some companies use media planning tools that create different forecasts by considering factors such as the target audience, budget, media mix and key performance indicators. Media planning tools analyse the factors to provide a specific media plan to help decision-making and maximise return on investment.

Differences between the omnichannel and multichannel strategies

The following are some differences between the omnichannel and multichannel strategies to help you understand them better:

Focus

An omnichannel approach integrates all the channels a company uses to unify and improve the brand experience across all channels. It helps develop stronger relationships between the business and its customers. Companies using a multichannel approach use two or more channels, such as email and social media, to engage their customers. The multichannel approach focuses on making a brand available in the maximum number of channels that the target audience uses, without necessarily connecting them.

Related: What Is Customer Focus? (Plus How to Improve and Benefits)

Personalisation

The multichannel strategy shares a company's message with its customers, using as many platforms as possible to reach a wider audience. Companies use it to influence more customers to encourage them to take action. An omnichannel approach is similar but focuses on collecting data and understanding customers to tailor their experience. Its primary goal is to improve customer engagement and provide a better experience for them.

Related: Omnichannel vs. Multichannel: Definition and Differences

Consistency

An omnichannel approach focuses on delivering a consistent brand message and customer experience. It integrates various channels to accommodate customer requirements and makes it easier to provide a consistent message. A multichannel strategy uses different or separate approaches for different channels.

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