Most people have heard of the term omnichannel, but what exactly does it mean? Simply put, omnichannel means a consistent and seamless buying experience across all the channels a retailer offers. However, what sounds like an ideal scenario is not as easy to implement in ecommerce reality. What is separated in multichannel now flows together in a continuous conversation between customer and brand. Omnichannel is thus the "holy grail" of customer communication: It can be demanding for companies, but it is essential for potential buyers.
With new technical possibilities, customer expectations are also rising. Many want retailers to be accessible at all times, to cover many channels, and to have a smooth transition between them. Companies that operate omnichannel commerce are in an excellent position in this regard.
The difference between omnichannel and multichannel
Besides omnichannel, other terms refer to different commerce channels. In addition to the standard single-channel commerce, where retailers maintain a single channel, such as an online store or a brick-and-mortar store, there is also multichannel commerce.
This differs from omnichannel commerce in that the various sales channels exist independently of one another. In total, at least two sales channels are necessary for multichannel commerce. A classic example is a retail store, which also operates an online store. In the case of multichannel commerce, it is not possible, for example, to order goods in the online store and complete the purchase in the retail store.
Cross-channel as an extension of multichannel commerce
Cross-channel commerce is an extension of multichannel commerce. It is a hybrid form of omnichannel commerce and multichannel commerce. With at least three sales channels, two channels interact, allowing the customer to switch between them without any problems, while the third channel remains autonomous. In cross-channel commerce, therefore, only some of the channels are linked.
Omnichannel is the supreme discipline
Compared to the previously mentioned forms of commerce, it is clear that omnichannel commerce represents the supreme discipline of commerce, as all existing channels are linked and operate together. Omnichannel commerce thus creates seamless brand and shopping experiences across all channels and represents the most optimised customer experience.
With Shopware and our connected ecosystem, we already offer retailers the ideal foundation for their success in omnichannel commerce. Soon, you will hear more about this important topic from us. Stay in the know and subscribe to our newsletter!