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As presented in the following Google Trends analysis, omnichannel has become an increasingly popular buzzword for the past decade.

Many people have questions in mind concerning this relatively new concept but don't want to ask out loud. Today, we'll clear your vision on what omnichannel means, the strategies associated, and how it affects your e-commerce businesses.

Google trends omnichannel

Many people have questions in mind concerning this relatively new concept but don't want to ask out loud. Today, we'll clear your vision on what omnichannel means, the strategies associated, and how it affects your e-commerce businesses.

In this post, we’ll discuss:

  1. What is omnichannel?
  2. How is omnichannel different from multichannel?
  3. Why should your retail business care?
  4. How can you apply omnichannel strategies?

Let’s get started!

What is omnichannel?

In a broad sense, omnichannel refers to a type of retail experience that provides customers with consistent experiences across the different touchpoints or channels. Omni originates from Latin and is defined as "all." Channels are the means of interaction - this can be online or offline, on the phone or on a laptop, by email, or by social media, etc.

omnichannel definition wiki

In order to provide customers with consistent experiences across all touch-points, retailers must be able to recognize customers and provide the same level of personalization, regardless of whether they are shopping on their laptop, in-store, on their mobile device, etc., making omnichannel and personalization strategies interconnected and interrelated in the e-commerce universe.

With Clerk, you can easily implement these two e-commerce tactics – omnichannel and personalization – in an integrated approach. Being the #1 rated e-commerce personalization platform, powers personalization and relevance for 2,500 + stores worldwide to automatically grow sales across site search, product recommendations, emails, social, and ads. Moreover, Clerk's Audience Segmentation engine enables e-commerce businesses to target and grow their customer base across all channels through our ESP, CRM, ad, and social integrations.

How is omnichannel different from multichannel?

At its core, omnichannel is defined as a multichannel sales approach that provides the customer with an integrated customer experience.

So, how does omnichannel differ from multichannel?

Providing an omnichannel retail experience requires integrating all sales approaches into one seamless method of communicating and engaging with your customers. This separates it from multichannel experiences since multichannel is characterized by multiple separate channels running independently, in parallel to each other. Essentially, omnichannel is a more integrated approach to multichannel.

E-commerce platform giant, Shopify, clarifies the distinction by explaining:

omnichannel vs multichannel

While they are similar, taking a multichannel approach to your retail experience is an outdated predecessor that is becoming less and less relevant, especially in the current COVID-19 global pandemic.

Why should your retail business care?

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many physical stores closing down or operating at a much-reduced capacity, with e-commerce businesses surging. As exhibited in the following chart, a recent survey study discovered that 48% of global e-commerce companies considered an omnichannel strategy as being very important for their company in 2020. Additionally, 31% of companies viewed it as somewhat important.


This is because providing customers with a consistent omnichannel retail experience improves the customer experience, strengthens brand trust, and increases customer loyalty, ultimately helping brands increase sales.

Looking back, one can see the demand for a transformation towards omnichannel started a long time ago. With the rise of smartphone usage (m-commerce), the increase in popularity of online shopping, and the transition to social commerce–it's only natural. In 2014 Forbes touched on the fact that 90% of consumers start a task on one device and finish it on another, bringing attention to consumers' tendency to switch between devices (and most likely channels too) throughout their purchase journey.

We’ve discussed before that e-commerce development is driven by customer needs, and omnichannel is no exception. It fits in with the here-and-now culture we live in. We carry the internet in our pockets, and we shop on the go. This includes when we are looking at products in-store, simply browsing, or even if we're bored. Customers' purchase journeys span multiple touchpoints, so if you want to stay relevant, you should make that journey as seamless as possible.

How can you apply omnichannel strategies?

While omnichannel strategies aim at making your customers' lives easier, taking an omnichannel approach can also help grow your business. Below are two primary ways you can apply an omnichannel approach to your marketing:

  • Segment your audience. With an integrated approach, you can use Clerk Audience to take all of the data you gather from each separate touchpoint to build a comprehensive profile of your customer. With a better understanding of your customers, you can then tailor product recommendations that are specifically interesting to each customer, or create dynamic marketing campaigns targeting customers based on their historical engagement with your brand (browsing history, interests, past purchases, etc.).
  • Optimize communication. As customers use several touchpoints before committing to a purchase, emails are a great way to stay in touch with them throughout their journey. For example, often times when customers visit your online store, their session ends with an abandoned basket–especially when switching devices or channels. This can be a missed opportunity if you simply let the customer walk away without following up. Instead, Clerk Email makes it easy to automatically send follow-up emails reminding customers that the products they picked up are still waiting for them in their cart.

In doing so, you can significantly improve customer engagement and drive more sales. Besides, omnichannel marketing strategies can help build and consolidate brand awareness, making your brand omnipresent. Enabled by cutting-edge AI and machine learning technologies, Clerk can help your e-commerce business deliver an omnichannel retail experience and achieve effective business growth.

If you want to learn more about the amazing impacts Clerk makes on e-commerce businesses 🏆, check out our customer success stories from Ugleunger, Philipson Wine, and GrejFreak.

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Being the #1 rated e-commerce personalization platform, powers 2,500 + webshops worldwide to automatically grow sales and drive revenue. Get started with effective business growth in 2022 by talking to one of our specialists today:

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