Multichannel vs Omnichannel Fulfilment: what’s the difference?
It’s quite easy to confuse multichannel and omnichannel fulfilment because they are so similar, and it can be quite difficult to distinguish between the two unless you have all the information about how a business promotes its products and interacts with customers.
One of the major differences between the two is that multichannel fulfilment prioritises the products whereas an omnichannel approach focuses on the customer and their experience with a sales/fulfilment channel.
There are also differences in how inventory is allocated, multichannel fulfilment channels will have their own inventory whereas with omnichannel fulfilment, inventory is available to all the respective channels. This centralised approach to inventory management requires complete integration in order to be accurate and avoid taking orders for out-of-stock products.
With multichannel approaches, customer typically only interacts with one channel. On the other hand, an omnichannel approach typically leads to the customer engaging with multiple channels.
The last difference between the two approaches to retail and fulfilment is that multichannel usually uses separate marketing strategies for each marketing channel and omnichannel fulfilment requires an integrated and holistic approach to marketing and sales channels.