When you’ve bought something, take a step back and think where did you first discover the product? Where did you get the first hint or got in touch with the brand(product)? When did you first decide you want to buy the product? How and where did you really end up buying it eventually??
When you start finding answers to all of the above questions, you will end up giving a definition to the term, omnichannel. It may sound new, but is actually not. Its meaning and spell lies very close to cross-channel and multi-channel, and which certainly is. Defining each of them can help differentiate between the three and send in a clear idea about the similar looking names.
The cross-channel approach is meant for the customers who utilize all the necessary and available social platforms to gain in-depth information of the brand(product) they are willing to purchase. On having utilized all the sources, they end up buying the product only from a physical store.
The multi-channel approach pays more attribute to the consumer’s choice of purchasing the product, irrespective of the medium of sources he/she chooses to utilize with the intention to know more about the product. In multi-channel marketing, the company makes use of various channels like e-commerce, social media or a physical store enabling excellent management of each channel providing the required consistency across all. The consumer ends up purchasing the product through his desired platform of purchase.
The omni-channel is an holistic approach in comparison with the previous two channels in terms of consumers’ experience irrespective of the channel utilized by the consumer to finalize and buy the desired product. The company gives immense priority to following a stringent approach in maintaining a consistency across all available channels to portray their brand to the consumers more effectively. This acts like a core identity of the brand which leaves an impression on the consumers’ mind which acts like a non-physical asset to the company.
The brands who can best interpret omnichannel data and understand all customers are the winners. There will be a new dimension of customer decision. As a final decision is being made to purchase, price, relationship, service and continuity will all be considered.