Omni in the word comes from Latin and means “all”. So Omnichannel means all channels, or everywhere.

For ecommerce, this is translated down to you as a retailer being everywhere your customers are. When they are there. Now we understand each other, so let's take a deeper dive into what it actually means.

Omnichannel is about creating coherence between the different communication channels. When the customer interacts with the company in one way or another (contacting customer support, opening an email, or interacting with you on social media), this should be recorded in a system that interacts with the company's other systems.

Today, customers expect a consistent customer experience no matter what part of the business or channel they are in contact with at your company. Omnichannel allows communication to be tailored to people's actual behavior, supported by different systems. This means that some people receive information (news, offers, invoices) by physical mail and others receive it digitally directly in their inbox, all based on their actual, past behavior or self-selected preferences.

What is Omnichannel - an images illustrating the concept of omni-channel

Omnichannel, Crosschannel or Multichannel

Although Multichannel, Cross-channel, and Omnichannel are similar to each other, they are three different communication strategies and solutions on three different dimensions.

Crosschannel - a crosschannel approach includes using multiple channels to communicate with the customer. This data is transmitted and used in selected communication channels, although not all of them. This approach creates a better, more connected user experience than the Multichannel approach.

Multichannel - a multichannel approach uses multiple channels to communicate with the customer. This data is not used across the different communication channels, which means that there is a lack of integration and scalability in the customer experience..

Omnichannel - an omnichannel approach uses multiple channels to communicate with the customer. All data is transmitted and used in all communication channels. This approach creates the best customer and user experience and creates a high value of engagement with your brand.

Multiple channels - one experience

Unlike Multichannel, the experience is the same across channels with an Omnichannel approach. The customer gets the same customer experience regardless of the touchpoint/channel.

To work effectively with Omnichannel, you need to start by focusing on the customer experience rather than the individual channels - that is, focusing on the entire customer journey when using your company's services.

Especially for those in customer service, Omnichannel can be gold in a conversation with the customer. They can then see all the customer's touch points with the company. Whether they have been physical or digital, they have access to all the relevant data about the customer.

This leads to a cultural shift away from the silo-thinking of the individual channels. All systems must be integrated and all departments within the company must help complete the task to ensure a consistent customer experience for every current or potential customer.

So it is a win-win situation for all parties, at all times (or “omni” time, sorry about that - I just had to).

Put the customer in charge with Omnichannel

The purpose of Omnichannel is to create a consistent user experience regardless of the channel or device where the customer or potential customer interacts with the company.

Today, it is not good enough to communicate through one channel to all customers. Everyone is different and everyone has different preferences about how they want to receive information from your company.

With Omnichannel, you can let customers decide where they want to receive their communication, whether it's physical or digital.

If you want to succeed in your communications today, you need to let customers decide how they want information from you and then meet them there - that's what Omnichannel is all about.

Illustration of a omnichannel strategy

Omnichannel marketing strategy

If done right, you can provide your customers with a more effective brand message and recognition. If you can unite your different communication channels by their different strengths, you can give a seamless journey and experience for your customers.

This also makes it easier for your different teams to target potential buyers and make it easier for them to convert.

An Omnichannel marketing strategy takes notice of the customer's interests to provide the right message at the right time. If you are on Instagram you are open to one type of message while being on your ecommerce website, the customer is open to other aspects and other needs.

This means that you also understand the different needs and different intentions based on where they are and when they are there. So in other words, this also gives you valuable insights for your other marketing efforts.

Reading tips: Guide to SEO for Ecomerce websites

Build Omnichannel campaigns

A successful strategy in omnichannel should use consistent communications throughout the customer experience. This is the only way to create a truly seamless and well-recognized brand experience. Examples of these communications are:

  • messaging
  • images, videos, infographics, or other visuals
  • different statements
  • tone of voice
  • branding and colors

It could also have a direct impact on your sales, simply just by being where your customers are. They will recognize you as a strong brand and a leader in your field.

Start slowly with your omnichannel campaigns if you haven't done anything like this before. Why? Because you can't be everywhere all the time, at the same time - it is just not possible. I put this list together for you to take inspiration from, and maybe you find your way forward with your omnichannel marketing strategy.

1. Be customer focused from the start

Remember that you are not doing this for your company to get more visibility, increase sales or maybe get better rankings. You do this solely for your customers to help them navigate through your products or services. If you give your customers an easy trip in the shopping landscape, they will choose you to interact with. Never forget that.

2. Your website and social channels

Now you have understood who you are doing it for, it is time to start creating the content. I suggest you start with your website and your preferred social media channels. This is simply because you want your audience to convert – they do that on your ecommerce website, and you want them to interact with you on the way – they do that in your different social channels.

Post new blogs, articles, or guides on your website. This will give you better organic visibility and rankings, leading to broader recognition. Choose not only Facebook or Instagram for your social communication channels, do both. But be consistent and post new stuff and answer your customers where you decided to be. If you don’t answer, they will notice and inevitably leave you.

3. Same messaging, same brand

This is super important – use the same messaging on all your channels. By doing this, you will build your brand and recognition and the users/customers will know who you are.

Yes, you can change the wording, etc., but the overall message needs to stay the same. Look at Klarna for example, they have done this really well. Smooth, huh?

But be careful to not use the same copy in the exact phrase on all channels, this might lead to duplicated issues, and we all know where that might lead you. Adapt the copy of your message for each channel, but keep the overall feeling of it – what do you want to say?

4. Use platform relevant CTAs

Ending your communication with a customer with a clear CTA, to create engagement, is of course important. But you need to make sure the CTA is relevant and adapted to the platform, device or channel you are communicating on.

Examples of this could be to add a link to schedule a meeting with you at the end of the email and understand when your users/customers are using what kind of device to streamline your CTAs and communications further. Meaning, an ad on Facebook or Instagram should lead to the mobile (or responsive) version of your site. They use social media on mobile devices, right?

Platforms for Omnichannel marketing

As with many other things and concepts, the right platform can make or break your omnichannel strategies. Finding the right platform that can help you streamline your communication and build a seamless integration across your different channels is maybe the first thing for you to look at.

One example of a great marketing automation tool is HubSpot – a complete CRM solution for most companies.

Image of a woman shopping - retail omnichannel

Retail and Omnichannel

Omnichannel, for retailers, is the method that aims to increase reach. This is done mostly by having your products visible on all channels/platforms. The results could lead to increased sales, a seamless shopping journey, and brand recognition. No matter if it is in-store solutions, physical stores, ecommerce, social, app, or any other platform.

As you might have realized already, omnichannel retail applies (in most cases) to B2C brands like consumer goods, clothes, food, leisure, and more. This could be adding a CTA button on your Facebook profile page, implementing a “call up” function on the website, and others that try to capture the user.

Benefits from Omnichannel marketing

An omnichannel marketing strategy and approach can give you benefits across your different teams. Sales could increase, giving your sales department a more comfortable situation, and a broader brand recognition gives your marketing team a bit more creativity, your CSR work could benefit as well.

Reach will increase

As mentioned before, an omnichannel approach for your marketing will lead to you reaching your customers where they are, when they are there. Done right, you could be just one click/one interaction away from creating engagement and sales.

Increased customer satisfaction

If you can give your customers more ways to interact with you, they will be more positive about your brand. They will be more likely to convert and spread the word for you.

To reduce your customer churn, satisfaction for your customers is the key.

Boost in sales

With an omnichannel strategy, your potential customers will find it easier to buy from your company if they find you on different channels and platforms. It could also make it easier for your existing customers to renew subscriptions or buy again, which will give you recurring incomes.

What is the difference between Omnichannel and Multichannel?

A multichannel universe provides the user with access to different options for communication, but these are most likely not connected in any way with each other. An omnichannel solution, on the other hand, gives the user multiple channels with a connection between them, meaning that they get an easier and more seamless way of communicating with the brand.

So, it is easy to understand which one of these is more customer-focused, don’t you think?

About the author:

I have been working with SEO and things related to digital marketing since 2013. Experienced in different fields such as ecommerce, igaming, b2b and others. I had the opportunities to work with some of the best in world when it comes to SEO and succesful marketing and converions.
Geographical areas I have worked with are (for example): Nordics, European (english speaking) and US.

I speak English (C2 advanced, CEFR test), Swedish (native), Norwegian (knowledgeable) Spanish (beginner), and Italian (beginner).

Magnus Strandberg taks about seed keywords

Magnus Strandberg, SEO Conusaltant