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Omnichannel vs Multi-channel Ecommerce: What Are The Differences?

In the business world, several enterprises interact with buyers through various channels; however, customer expectations have changed drastically. As a result, there is typically a vast inconsistency in the standard of service offered across multiple channels. Due to this misalignment between customer wants and enterprise capabilities, omnichannel vs. multi-channel eCommerce are two distinct yet commonly misunderstood marketing models (concepts).

While both involve using several channels to connect with potential customers, what then is the distinctive difference between Multichannel and omnichannel eCommerce? In reality, the approaches to marketing and client engagement are very dissimilar. Isn't it getting more interesting? Yes, it's. If so, ride on to uncover the winner of the Omnichannel vs. Multi-channel eCommerce marketing league.

What does Multichannel eCommerce mean?

Multichannel eCommerce utilizes multiple channels to promote and spread a brand's message through an effective information medium. In a multi-channel setup, there is no integration between these several channels. For instance, a billboard and a company's website are not directly linked; instead, they are two different ways to promote a brand.

What does Omnichannel eCommerce mean?

The phrase "omnichannel" also describes using multiple channels to communicate with prospective customers. However, in this instance, the various media are combined to give clients a smooth experience. For example, users can continue from wherever they are left in one channel and then proceed to the other to complete their transaction or inquiry.

As an illustration, a customer initiates a live chat conversation with a contact center representative. The conversation is amplified to a video call so that the issue becomes addressed effectively. The information supplied by a customer in the live chat does not have to be repeated when the customer switches to the video chat stream because the two main channels are interconnected.

What are the main differences between omnichannel and multichannel eCommerce? 

differences between omnichannel and multichannel eCommerce

Below are the three significant distinctions between these two strategies that you should bare in mind;

  1. Uniformity

Often, most multichannel solutions address channels (networks) independently. That implies a lack of connectivity, resulting in an irregular and frequently unsatisfactory experience between channels/media and the internal departments. If users cannot transition between channels at will, they may move to brands that provide a comprehensive omnichannel experience.

  1. Personalized Approach

The goal of the multichannel eCommerce strategy is to communicate a brand's message to potential customers. Customer fulfillment of a call-to-action is the expected outcome. For an omnichannel eCommerce strategy, the aims are to fully grasp the customer and leverage data to offer a tailored experience. Here, providing consistency in interaction and a simple client experience are the main objectives.

  1. Customer-based vs. Channel based

A multichannel eCommerce strategy aims to give customers many ways to interact with the brand. It emphasizes the usage of channels to boost engagement since more interaction is preferable. In contrast, an omnichannel eCommerce strategy is customer-focused, i.e., it's centered on establishing stronger customer relations through a coherent plan that integrates channels for a seamless and tailored experience.

Omnichannel vs. Multi-channel eCommerce: Which is best for eCommerce?

Customer satisfaction must always be a priority because it is incredibly significant to any company or organization. In light of this, an omnichannel e-commerce strategy is preferable to a conventional multichannel e-commerce strategy. 

Since it provides customers with several interaction and marketing channels, an omnichannel strategy is still a multichannel strategy. The distinction lies in addressing each of these channels collectively rather than individually. It further entails giving each new channel adequate time to be integrated and synchronized with the existing ones.

What are some omnichannel e-commerce examples?

  • Walgreens

The online pharmacy service that Walgreens created for its consumers is an outstanding example of an Omnichannel eCommerce experience in a pharmacy. To provide a more accessible pharmacy interaction, the company introduced a mobile app that aids consumers in refilling their prior medications (prescriptions) by using a smartphone to scan a barcode on their drugs.

Furthermore, customers can establish a pick-up period, easily modify pick-up areas, and check their prescription records. Although not unusual, it illustrates how pharmacists may and should be considering ways to enhance their customers' omnichannel experiences.

  • BonLook


BonLook sells high-quality prescription sunglasses and eyeglasses in shops all around Canada and online. Buying glasses involves a high-touch, distinctive purchasing process that considers the prescription, the frame's kind and size, the style, and other lens features. It logically lends itself to traditional brick-and-mortar commerce.

To duplicate the in-store interaction for online shoppers, BonLook created shopping guidelines and a virtual try-on function that provides buyers with a 360-degree image of how their glasses will match or sit perfectly on them.


  • Sweetwater


Sweetwater has a drum room, Large guitar galleries, and fully equipped demo studios that customers can easily see at its retail outlet. A buyer of music equipment will consider Sweetwater's product purchase process a wonderful experience. How about online ordering? The omnichannel strategy employed by Sweetwater aids in simulating the in-store interaction. For instance, the buying instructions for the segment you're browsing at the top of Sweetwater's product pages will display as follows:


The bottom right corner and top bar of the page caution you to contact customer service by email or phone if you require assistance as you navigate the items and categories sections:


The true magic happens when you proceed further along the purchasing process. Sweetwater demonstrates the seamless omnichannel concept of customer experience by assigning each of the potential buyers to a sales engineer. These sales engineers research the customer's preferences, environment, and goals before advising them on the right course of action.

What are some multichannel e-commerce examples?

  • Murad


Murad is a household skincare brand with an online marketplace. It doesn't have any physical stores; instead, it supplies the goods via other merchants like Sephora, salon, and spa establishments such as Massage Envy. Due to this, it means that if there is any problem with the products, the buyer will have to resolve it with the seller they purchased from initially. Also, only purchases bought directly through Murad's website are eligible for its "high discounts" loyalty program.

While Murad offers virtual appointments and questionnaires for product suggestions on its website, these will not deliver if you receive a skincare offering in an affiliated spa that uses the firm.

  • Warby Parker

Warby Parker sells eyeglasses and sunglasses with and without prescription through its online and physical storefronts. However, all its sales channels are independent of one another. For instance, purchasing medicated eyeglasses from the physical store doesn't synchronize it with your purchase history via the online platform. If discounts are later given to buyers online, your in-store purchase will not count towards benefitting from the offer.

  • Oculus Brand

Oculus sells Virtual Reality (VR) items/products. First, they offer the product via their official online store for customers to purchase directly. But it doesn't end there. The company also sells its products via Amazon Marketplace, independent of its main web store. With that in mind, if a buyer purchases via Amazon and something goes wrong with the product, they will have to complain through Amazon and not directly with Oculus. 

How can retailers streamline the whole Omnichannel vs. Multichannel eCommerce strategy?

By investing in customer engagement solutions like ConvertedIn, enterprises can provide multichannel and omnichannel service and support that leads to satisfied customers 

What's our take?

The ability to shop and communicate with a firm in several ways makes omnichannel and multichannel eCommerce comparable. Channels do not interact in multichannel eCommerce; they do in omnichannel retailing. With omnichannel, you can manage anything under one canopy, cross-train personnel, break down data silos, and explore in-depth analytics. Remember, this customer-focused strategy is also not just for big businesses alone. Try it out in your online store today!!