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What exactly is omnichannel?

Omnichannel is an approach to marketing, sales, retail, and customer service that aims to provide customers with a seamlessly flowing customer experience across multiple channels including social media, chat, email, your website, your brick and mortar store, and all your other online and offline touchpoints.

When organizations adopt an omnichannel approach, they would need to have an integration between distribution, promotion as well as communication channels on your back end. Integrating their channels is very important for their omnichannel strategy since it offers them more flexibility, allowing their customers to switch between and jump across channels if they want to do that during an interaction with the brand or organizations.

Source: Elastic Path

What is multichannel vs omnichannel?

'Multi' essentially means 'many', while 'omni' means 'every' or 'all'. So when you first come across these terms, it would not be surprising for you to assume that omnichannel simply involves incorporating more channels into your customer experience. But that's not what it's all about.

Here's what the big difference between multichannel and omnichannel is:

The multichannel approach

This is simply about doing business and engaging your customers across a wide range of channels and touchpoints. Here the interactions are not connected, so when your customers switch channels, they have to start whatever they were doing all over again.

The omnichannel approach

Like the multichannel approach, the omnichannel approach involves doing business and interacting with your customers over a range of channels, but it has one important differentiator. In omnichannel strategies, the experiences across these channels are tied together. Basically, an omnichannel solution would weave the channels together so that there is a seamless customer experience and customers can continue their interactions across channels instead of having to start all over from scratch every time they change channels or move across touchpoints. It provides a customized experience to your customers.

Why is omnichannel important?

Adopting an omnichannel strategy is extremely important for your company because it enables you to reduce your customer effort substantially. It isn't just about making information available across all channels, it is also very important for creating and maintaining a consistent brand image irrespective of the channel over which interactions are taking place.

When your brand goes omnichannel, you create a better experience for your consumers and provide them with more channels over which they can do business with you. When you provide them with more channels, you'll see an increase in sales and traffic to your website. Omnichannel customers actually spend 15-30% more than single or multiple channel consumers.

According to Think with Google, opting for omnichannel retailing can even increase your incremental store visits by 80%. You need to look for new technologies that would allow you to go omnichannel and offer people a positive customer experience

What is omnichannel marketing?

Omnichannel marketing is all about seamlessly integrating your branding and messaging across all your online and offline touchpoints, allowing your customers to flow down the marketing funnel as they move across channels instead of needing to start over from scratch.

It ensures that your customers have a positive, consistent experience on every channel that they interact with your brand over. When they engage in omnichannel marketing, marketers need to ensure that they have a consistent and identifiable brand tone and vision across multiple channels. Marketers also need to add a bit of personalization to their marketing messages according to individual consumers' interests, based on context from past interactions over all the touchpoints, designed to help them flow through to the next stage of the customer journey in a smoother manner and eventually make the purchase decision.

What is omnichannel customer service?

Omnichannel customer service involves tying together several interactions between a consumer or a prospect and the company or service provider across multiple channels. This gives your customers a seamless customer experience and they are able to continue conversations with your customer support team across various channels without breaking up and needing to restart the conversation.

A lot of companies offer multichannel customer service today, but today's consumers don't want such disjointed experiences. Multichannel won't cut it, you need to go omnichannel.

Engati's chatbot and live chat solution is one of the most powerful omnichannel solutions that you can find. It pulls together conversations with users across 16 channels (including WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger) into a OneView inbox so that your agents and your bots always have context, thus creating a great omnichannel environment. It even stitches these conversations together so that whenever you open a chat with your customers you can easily access past conversations, giving you a good idea of what issues your customers are facing and making sure that your agents don't need to annoy your customers and repeat questions that your customers have already answered over other channels.

This is especially useful because 89% of customers admit that they get rather frustrated when they have to repeat themselves to multiple agents.

What is omnichannel retail?

Omnichannel retailing is a business model in which all the sales channels are seamlessly integrated so that retailers can offer customers a seamless experience that flows well across all the channels. If retailers want to engage in omnichannel retailing, they need centralized data management to break the silos and blur the lines between all their channels - the physical brick and mortar stores as well as their online channels like their eCommerce site, online marketplaces, and even social media shopping channels like Facebook and Instagram Shopping. Retailers can follow the omnichannel retail approach for various aspects of retail like sales channels, inventory management as well as marketing strategy across your brick and mortar store and your digital channels.

Here's a nice article on omnichannel retail solutions.

What is an omnichannel strategy?

An omnichannel strategy is all about offering your customers a personalized experience by giving them a fully integrated experience that flows smoothly across all channels without breaks or interruptions and without them needing to start over as they switch channels.

An effective omnichannel strategy would help you increase your customer retention rates, boost client satisfaction, and even increase your order value, revenue, and turnover. It even helps organizations improve their data collection.

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