Multichannel or Omnichannel?

Multichannel, Cross Channel or Omnichannel; the concepts overlap with one another and at present the media, customers and various industries are using the terms to describe more or less anything that is delivered in several channels, ideally in connection with a “seamless customer experience”.

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Åsa Englund, Head of Internal Communication at Stralfors. Photo: Christiaan Dirksen

Stralfors and PostNord are now selling more and more communication solutions that involve many different channels, and we need to use the same terms when we describe this. At Stralfors we have decided to use omnichannel. This word covers what we sell and deliver today, what we are developing and what we intend to deliver in the future.

Omnichannel means that you as an end customer access your communication from various companies or authorities via different channels without having to make a choice. Multichannel means that our customers decide which channel they want to use for their customer communication, for example special offers and invoices; some want paper and others email, text message or to a digital mailbox.

Example of how omnichannel works

As a customer, you access information or offers regardless of whether you go in via email, website, app or Facebook, or receive a printed mailing. The difficulties faced by our customers who want to make the move to omnichannel relate to technology and imagination.

Omnichannel means that the communication is available in all channels where the customer could conceivably want it to be, without the customer himself or herself needing to choose. For us at Stralfors, as we work with customer communication, this means not only that the end customer must be able to see the offer, the invoice or the information in several channels, but also that they can act on the basis of what is offered or suggested. To be able to deliver omnichannel, it is a requirement that different systems can communicate with one another. It is not only the end user that has to perceive the whole picture. Our customers must also be able to monitor and retrieve data from the various channels so that they can deliver the services they are offering, issue invoices and keep track of their stocks.

Omnichannel is usually mentioned in connection with our shopping online and in shops. That regardless of whether we are in a shop, have a mobile app, read something on Twitter or Facebook or on the company's website/e-shop, we must perceive the product/service in which we are interested in the same way. We check the price and product facts on the company's website, read comments on Facebook and go to the shop to try or touch the product, and finally we order it via the mobile app to have it delivered to our home. We then follow the product on "My Pages".

And this is just as relevant for a service, for example an electricity company, where you can see your bill on paper, in your online bank, via the app on your mobile or via the company's "My Pagers", and you can pay via your computer, tablet or mobile.

Facts:

Omni is a prefix that means "all". Other words containing "omni" include omnivore = an animal that eats all things; omniscient = all-knowing and omnipresent = exists everywhere.

Text: Åsa Englund, Head of Internal Communication, Stralfors