What is an omnichannel customer experience?

Discover how an omnichannel approach can help boost your sales, customer experience and marketing results.
· 29 February 2024 · 5 minute read

What is omnichannel?

Omnichannel is the practice of offering products, services and support across all your digital and in-store channels.

The objective of omnichannel is to provide a consistent experience to customers across every touch point with your business.  This is regardless of how they choose to engage with you.


Understanding omnichannel customer experience

Omnichannel is important because customers can find, engage and buy from businesses in many different ways. A typical consumer may:

  • Be inspired by a product on a social media post
  • Research a product category using a search engine
  • Browse similar products on various business websites
  • Receive information about the product via email
  • Contact the store directly
  • Walk into a physical store to complete the purchase.

How omnichannel is different from multi-channel

An omnichannel approach connects and integrates data from all channels. Let’s say a customer orders online. They then contact the store by phone to make a follow-up query. The staff member taking the call has the information about the customer’s online order. They can then help the customer achieve the best outcome faster.

A multi-channel approach on the other hand, might also offer several ways for customers to engage with the business. However, if the channels are not connected and integrated, they may not offer customers the same consistent experience.


Advantages of an omnichannel experience

Successful omnichannel experiences can provide benefits for businesses and consumers alike. Let’s explore some of these below.

Increased customer loyalty and retention

Increasing customer loyalty has many benefits for businesses. Loyal customers can help expand your reach via word-of-mouth.

Omnichannel can help you foster better relationships with customers by offering consistent, personalised experiences. This can help increase the likelihood of repeat purchases.

Learn more about ways customer retention benefits your business and how to boost loyalty.

More effective marketing

You can gain insights into customer preferences by integrating data from different channels. This can help with personalisation, targeting and refining marketing for greater results.

Customers can benefit too, by receiving content and offers that are timely and relevant to their needs.

Increased revenues

With more touchpoints and a smoother customer journey, omnichannel experiences can help increase sales and revenue. ‘What is omnichannel marketing?’ by McKinsey shows omnichannel customers spend more than single-channel customers.

Greater efficiency

Omnichannel systems can help you manage customer demands, inventory and marketing more efficiently. It does this by connecting your marketing, sales and customer service functions. This can help create a streamlined view of customer interactions.


The elements of an omnichannel experience

An omnichannel model should connect the core customer-facing functions of your business. Here are some of the key ingredients of omnichannel customer experiences.

Personalised experiences

With well-implemented omnichannel systems, customers can benefit from personalised marketing, shopping and support experiences. These can include:

  • Personalised product recommendations and promotions
  • Content based on their previous purchases
  • Support that understands the customer’s individual journey so far.

Blended online and offline shopping

Businesses with omnichannel shopping can offer products and services online and offline. Customers can choose to order on the business’ website for home delivery. Or they can check online to see if it’s available at their local store if they want to pick it up in person after purchasing online.

The same is true for customers looking for a service, such as a plumber. Customers can use online or offline channels to make an appointment or submit an enquiry. The intention is that customers can expect the same outcome on any channel.

Learn more about how to help improve your customers’ shopping experience from in-store to online.

Switching between channels

In an omnichannel approach, customers can switch between channels without starting over. Take the below experience for example.

  • A customer browses an online retail website and adds an item to their shopping cart.
  • They then have a question about the product and switch to a live chat.
  • The agent has the context of their shopping cart and can answer the question quickly.
  • In this case, the customer has more detailed queries. The agent transfers the customer to a call with a product expert.
  • The customer resolves their queries and decides to buy the product over the phone.

In this example, the customer switches between different channels. Yet they have a single shopping journey.

Consistent brand experiences

Omnichannel marketing efforts can help reinforce brand recognition and build trust in your business. Factors can include the use of a consistent logo, imagery or tone of voice across different channels. This can help make your brand a familiar presence, regardless of where or how customers choose to engage.


How to develop your omnichannel approach

Every business is different. And there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. However, there are several principles you may want to consider, to help make your omnichannel experience a success.

Understand your customer’s expectations

One purpose of omnichannel is to help boost customer experience. Before building out the approach, it’s important to understand what your customers consider a positive experience.

How you do this will depend on the nature of your business. Some options might include the following:

  • Talk to customers to find out what they like and don’t like about your products, marketing, or support.
  • Conduct market research to understand the views of a larger customer base.
  • Research how your competitors or peers in your industry do things.
  • Gain insights from interacting with customers.
  • Take part in online communities where your customers are active.

Map your customer journey

Customer journey mapping is the practice of identifying and understanding your customers’ experiences, emotions and actions at each stage of their interaction with your business. It can help you understand your customers’ goals and identify ways to improve the experience you offer.

Start by mapping out the entire customer journey from awareness to post-purchase. Identify touchpoints and channels where your customers engage with you. Then assess the success of these interactions for you and your customer.

Collect, analyse and respond to customer feedback

Customer feedback can offer valuable insights into their expectations and areas for improvement.

You can find customer feedback in many different ways. For example, customers may:

  • Contact you directly via email, phone or in store
  • Post on your social media pages
  • Leave reviews on online listing sites
  • Comment on community forums.

Monitoring these channels can help you engage with customers in a timely way. This can further help to increase customer satisfaction.

Optimise the post-purchase experience

After-sales activity can help boost the omnichannel experience. Effective post-purchase engagement can offer several benefits, including:

  • Help build customer loyalty
  • Generate word-of-mouth buzz
  • Create upsell and cross-sell opportunities.

Below we list some ways to help keep customers engaged after a sale:

  • Provide tutorials or tips related to the product or service
  • Offer exclusive content related to their purchase
  • Seek their opinion of the product or service through a survey
  • Celebrate a milestone, such as the anniversary of the purchase or a special occasion, with a personalised message.

Use a centralised CRM tool

For a successful omnichannel experience, you need to connect data from different places. Customer relationship management (CRM) tools can help with this. They help you bring data together to create a clear picture. If you're considering an omnichannel approach, look for a CRM that does the following:

  • Connects the different ways customers talk to you
  • Is able to be accessed by team members working across different channels
  • Helps you group customers into segments for better targeting
  • Offers marketing automation features that help to create targeted and personalised marketing campaigns
  • Gives you tools to see how well your omnichannel plan is working.


Redefine your interactions with customers

The advantages of an omnichannel approach can be substantial for small businesses. Increased customer loyalty, improved operational efficiency and better data-driven decision-making, are just a few.

An omnichannel strategy can help you redefine the way you engage with customers and help you deliver experiences that better match customer expectations. Consider how you can use the strategies above to create your own omnichannel experience and reap the rewards.

Grow your online presence with digital experts

Whether you need a website or a complete digital marketing strategy, we can help your business to thrive online. 

Explore more on this topic

Empower yourself to get the most from technology

Learn how to choose the right technology solutions. Get help to boost efficiency, build skills, and integrate tech.

Other articles you might like