The term multichannel marketing was adopted by marketers when the internet transformed day-to-day business, e-commerce supplemented in-store experience, social media became an extra communication channel and online advertising supported brand awareness. Multichannel used to mean that customers had the ability to contact a company through different channels or even use different channels to buy the same product.
Marketing is now moving from multichannel to omni-channel, which outlines the urge to become digitally transformed. Simply put, omni-channel refers to the process of starting communications via one channel and ending them in another. Most probably, this happened because companies in several industries, such as retail and consumer goods, need to be present in all available channels and offer services in a seamless, easy to use, simple and innovative way for the customer. For example, a successful omnichannel approach enables a customer to buy a product through his smartphone while visiting a physical store, after scanning the product barcode to compare prices.
Moreover, the different departments of a company collect and store various essential information about customers. The more operations and customer end-points are available, the more information is collected. The challenge is to enable interaction between different departments and avoid silos of data, so that more informed decisions could be made.
Digitalization has a disrupting role in business across channels and it will radically change the way companies function; from operations to marketing and sales. Smart devices are a good example of what this change is about. Customers’ expectations of an enriched experience have increased due to all new sales channels available, more personalized communications and the great variety of products, and this has driven companies to a more customer oriented approach.
Last but not least, digital transformation is not only about digital sales and communication channels but it also entails physical communication and engagement. Integrating it with its digital counterparts can help you overachieve and, at the same time, your customers will benefit when they start their journey online and finish it offline (or vice – versa).