Omnichannel is the seamless experience and consistent message across different channels has emerged as a term vital to B2C marketers, but some may confuse this with the term multichannel – the experience of a customer who makes purchases using multiple channels.

Opportunities to work across new channels have emerged from the channel and data explosion: location, Web, email, social, mobile, event, in-store and video. As a result more connected consumers are making purchases across several types of devices, so now, there is pressure to engage the consumer, but with which approach?

Multichannel and Omnichannel: The Differences


Ensures customers have a seamless experience and are provided a consistent message across different channels. Integrated in nature, this supports all channels with a holistic view of the customer regardless of the communication method.


The experience of a customer who makes purchases using multiple channels such as a website, social media, mobile and even a bricks-and-mortar store.

EXAMPLE: A retailer will provide a richer customer experience that is connected and continuous no matter how many times a customer transitions from one channel to another.EXAMPLE: A retailer may adopt two or more channels (multichannel) to engage customers, but there is no focus on driving a consistent message across each channel. Instead, the focus resides in engaging their customers across multiple touch points with a siloed approach.

An important thing to consider about both approaches is that customers behave very differently according to the channel, both in terms of responsiveness and in buying.  This is where Big Data comes into play.What marketers are learning about omnichannel marketing is that they need to take into account different channels and the communications across them — taking an integrated versus a siloed approach. The customer experience should be as comprehensive and seamless as possible.

The Role of Big Data in Marketing

The need for omnichannel marketing has driven the latest conversations around Big Data — working with data from different sources and different channels with the aim of finding out more about customers to create a great customer experience.

Overall, marketers need to have a clear vision of what they are looking to achieve, combine that with the data they need from different channels and then put the customer at the centre of the equation – for either omnichannel or multichannel marketing.

Steven Ledgerwood

Steven Ledgerwood


Steven Ledgerwood UK Managing Director at Emarsys.