Definitions

Definitions for omnichannel and related terms vary and often create confusion. We believe these definitions provide clarity for those in the marketing and digital worlds.

Content Strategy

Focuses on ways to meet the needs of content consumers, including how content is distributed, managed and overseen. You can learn more about it at Content Strategy Alliance.

Multichannel

Provides content suited to a specific factor or channel, such as desktop, tablet, smartphone or in-store. In theory, mutlichannel considers more than one channel. An effective multichannel experience:

  • Strives to provide a collective content experience across all channels
  • Takes advantage of a particular form factor’s strengths
  • Cross-references experiences across all channels

Omnichannel Content Strategy

Is an approach to multichannel that provides content at every point in the customer journey (analog, digital, in-store). In practice, omnichannel strategy is a retail strategy that considers a user and their entire cross-channel journey with a brand, from the perspective of the user. Omnichannel content assumes the overall user engagement with a particular user journey, and serves up content to each step in the process, optimizing channel experiences.

The following image helps convey the difference between omnichannel and multichannel experiences:

Single Channel, Multichannel, Omnichannel Differences
A recreation of the image by: http://maosuit.com/retail-2/stores/omi-channel-retail-101/ originally created by Tyco.

For additional background on omnichannel definitions and specifics, please view Kevin’s presentation from The Omnichannel Challenge panel at Content Strategy Applied 2014 (San Jose, CA) or his book Enterprise Content Strategy: A Project Guide.