Derived by adding the Latin word ‘omni’–which means ‘all’ and ‘everything’–as a prefix to the otherwise prosy noun ‘channel’, omnichannel embodies a way of doing things that steps away from mere marketing tactics and focuses on building strategy-lead experiences instead.
In a nutshell, the concept of ‘omnichannel marketing’ describes the ability of a marketer or of a brand to interact with potential customers/clients seamlessly, with no perceived interruption of the communication flow and on various platforms at the same time. In our own neta words, today omnichannel is the ‘most up-to-date marketing approach’ available to a digital agency. The reason why we confidently say this is because omnichannel marketing is the only available strategy capable of truly ensuring end-users and the entirety of what links to them (their needs, expectations, engagement) are placed at the center of all touch-points that ultimately contribute towards building a successful user experience, and hence a profitable consumer journey–one that generates conversions and ROI.
At its most simplistic, omnichannel strategy is about prioritizing the consumer’s ‘choice’. The objective of companies in delivering a successful omnichannel experience is to make it easy for a consumer to buy in whatever way is most appropriate (to them). Omnichannel customer experiences would therefore blend all pre-identified available digi-physical opportunities and experiences, whatever these might be: a channel might be a retail store, an eCommerce website, a call center or direct personal communications by social media, email, text message, or snail mail.
The challenges facing most organizations today in delivering an integrated omnichannel operation, centers around technology and systems integrations that are problematic in that software is inherent to each channel and often built around separate transactional and business requirements. This leads to the perceived inability of building a comprehensive journey and is one of the reasons why multi channel vs omnichannel is still seen as a viable option, as multichannel would at least ensure consumers have a number of online/offline purchasing options in front of them.
Unfortunately, however, this line of thoughts fails to acknowledge that the availability of ‘many independent options’ does not necessarily generate more results, and is certainly not cost-efficient. Since evaluating ad-to-sales ratio is crucial within netamorphosis’ operational framework, we would advise our clients against any marketing operation that disperses the efforts instead of condensing them. And in this case, we would always favor omnichannel vs multichannel.
OMNICHANNEL VS. MULTICHANNEL
Omnichannel marketing defines a smooth, simultaneous and consistent interaction between consumers and brands, using all available touch-points at the same time. In such type of strategy, the end-user is accompanied in an unobtrusive manner along every step, with all channels working together to deliver a growing immersion into the brand’s storytelling, granting customers with the opportunity to obtain further support all throughout the process.
Multichannel marketing strategies instead would focus on activating a number of online/offline channels, and have them work autonomously and independently, with no overlaps or exchanges of information. In this case, each touch-point would represent an alternative option for the end-user, who will have to plan and conduct his/her journey autonomously. This would clearly fragment and limit quite a bit the overall UX of consumers during their approximation towards the conversion funnel.
Then, there is the quandary of attribution. If an eCommerce website promotes new merchandise, and yet some of its customers might prefer trying on that merchandise in a retail store or showroom environment, how does the eCommerce website, who may even have promoted this arrival via an email campaign or social media campaign, receive ‘credit’ for generating consumer sales demand, as a successful mean to evaluate ROI? The biggest problem here is that with multi-channel types of frameworks, each team is typically provided autonomous ‘channel’ performance management targets and not ‘omnichannel’ objectives. Moreover, often times these ‘channels’ within organizations are operated as siloes and teams are therefore not cross-incentivized. Conversely, an omni channel approach would ensure all steps and triggers that have been activated as part of a consumer journey are (1) fully leveraged and (2) have their results analyzed and compiled together, comprising the broader and overarching operation of leading a consumer towards completing a purchase.
Ultimately, architecting and successfully rolling out an omnichannel (also referred to as an online/offline) operation is one of the greatest on-going challenge facing any dynamic organization today that is beyond a pure-play digital operation. Luckily, this capability also happens to align exactly where our expertise is strongest. neta’s CEO and Founder Lyde Spann pioneered this strategy in the early 2000s as the Head of Omnichannel Strategy and Operations for industry leaders such as West Elm, MoMA and Zara, immediately proving its effectiveness.
Today this is further attested by the outstanding record of award winning omnichannel retail and digital experiences neta has built over the last +18 years for clients that operate across a number of different fields and sectors, including art (The New Museum, Design Miami); food (Oliviers & Co, Eleni’s Cookies); fashion & luxury (Khaite, Frances Valentine, Westman Atelier); health & wellbeing (Newport Academy), and more.