What is Omni-Channel? 20 Top Omni-Channel Experience Examples

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Clint Fontanella
Clint Fontanella

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The more technology advances, the more it's integrated into our daily lives and the lines between what we do online and in real life have begun to blur. As people change their behaviors, marketers, salespeople, and customer support reps will need to react.

omni-channel experience; thumbs up with messenger, phone, email icons.
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Instead of thinking of a separate desktop, mobile, tablet, and even an Apple Watch experience, we'll need to pursue one, holistic approach — an omni-channel experience that customers can use whenever they want.

In this post, we’ll go over what omni-channel means and how you can use omni-channel experiences to create profitable marketing, sales, and service strategies.

Table of Contents

Instead of only offering support on my desktop website, for example, I'd also offer support through Facebook Messenger, live chat, email, and phone.

Adopting an omni-channel approach in your marketing, sales, and service strategies has plenty of benefits. The advantages include:

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Greater reach.

With an omni-channel retail, marketing, or service strategy in place, you’ll be reaching your customers where they are and in more places.

They no longer have to search and search to find you because, regardless of the channel they’re on, your team or your products are only a click, an email, a direct message, or a phone call away.

Plus, when you’re on more channels, opportunities for exposure and building brand awareness with new audiences is even higher.

Seamless customer experience.

Omni-channel lets customers interact with your company across multiple different channels, but still have the same consistent experience. It also allows them to choose their favorite channel for getting service so they don’t have to, say, get off Instagram and pick up the phone. They can just find your business profile and send you a DM — a seamless experience within one single app.

A frictionless process leaves customers more satisfied, and satisfied customers are more likely to become loyal customers.

Boosted customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Your customers will be happier in the long term if they feel they have several methods to reach your customer service and sales teams, or if they can purchase your product easily regardless of their device or preferred platform.

For example, the number of consumers shopping on social media has grown significantly in the past few years, and, in turn, so has the number of social media users who have sent a DM for customer service (27% increase between 2022 and 2023, to be exact).

dm for service

Customer satisfaction is the key to reducing customer churn and keeping them returning to you for their needs, and satisfied customers become loyal customers.

Faster issue resolution.

Customers want fast service. They expect quick resolutions, but service teams sometimes struggle to provide it.

Offering omnichannel customer service is a solution to this problem. You have the chance to meet customers where they are, exactly when they’re looking for support, lowering your average time to resolution and setting customers up for success.

If you have dedicated reps for each of the channels you offer, you’re lowering resolution time even more because there is someone ready to help as soon as a customer reaches out.

Increased profits.

If and when your prospects are ready to buy, they’ll find it much easier to make a purchase if they can find your product on multiple platforms and channels. Offering a multi-channel retail experience also ensures it’s easier for them to purchase from you again or renew their subscriptions, securing recurring revenue.

As you can see, creating an omni-channel experience for your customers is critical for your business's success. That said, what is the omni-channel experience?

Your customers can shop online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone, or in a brick and mortar store and the experience should be equally seamless.

It's important here to distinguish an omni-channel experience from a multi-channel experience. Essentially, it comes down to the depth of the integration between the channels and platforms your business is on.

Omni-Channel vs. Multi-Channel

In a multi-channel environment, a user has access to a variety of communication options that aren’t necessarily synchronized or connected. However, during an omni-channel experience, there are not only multiple channels, but the channels are connected so you can move between them seamlessly.

The difference between omni-channel and multi-channel experiences comes down to two distinctions:

  • All omni-channel experiences use multiple channels, but not all multi-channel experiences are omni-channel. You can have amazing mobile marketing, engaging social media campaigns, and a well-designed website, but if they don't work together, they don’t create an omni-channel customer experience.
  • Omni-channel experiences account for all devices, channels, and platforms, whereas a multi-channel strategy might include two or three.

The multi-channel experience is what most businesses invest in today. They’ll have a website, blog, Facebook, and Twitter and use each platform to engage with customers. However, in most cases, the customer still lacks a seamless experience and consistent messaging across each of these channels.

An omni-channel experience accounts for each platform and device a customer will use to interact with the company — and also creates an equally efficient and positive experience across all platforms.

Creating an omni-channel experience is especially important in retail because whether or not you have an omni-channel retail strategy can determine how much you sell.

By uniting the strengths of each communication channel, marketing teams can use omni-channel marketing to deliver a more effective brand message. They can also reach target buyers at the right time, increasing the chances of converting them into a lead.

Omni-channel marketing uses the customers' perspectives and interests to optimize the consistency of the company's marketing messages. For instance, on Instagram and Facebook, you might only target users with a certain interest and create collateral that appeals to them specifically.

Omni-channel marketing shouldn’t be done on a whim, though. I recommend creating an organized omni-channel marketing strategy to ensure you always deliver the right content to your prospective buyers at just the right time.

Below I’ll go over how you can start implementing your own omni-channel experience and highlight examples from brands that are already making moves to offer these experiences.

How to Build an Omni-Channel Marketing Campaign

An omni-channel marketing strategy is consistent messaging, visuals, and positioning statements across all channels, platforms, and devices. It's a seamless brand experience for customers and ensures that your brand is presented the same way from platform to platform.

Keep in mind that omni-channel marketing campaigns positively impact your sales and service departments, too. You’re showing customers that you’re on all of the channels and platforms they’re on, so they’ll know to expect a similar experience whether they’re shopping or getting support.

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1. Start with the basics: Your website and social media channels.

Creating an omni-channel experience is a slow process. You don’t need to be everywhere all at once; you’ll get there in time. Start with your website and social media channels and nail those down before moving on to other platforms. Ensure that you’re posting consistently and engaging with users who reach out to you via those channels.

If you consistently engage with users on Instagram but don’t answer on Facebook, they’ll notice. Focusing on one and neglecting the other will make your brand look inconsistent and unprofessional.

A shared inbox can be useful for this; putting your social messages, emails, and chat threads into one place. Some social management tools, like the one in Marketing Hub, will even connect your social campaigns to your CRM, so you can keep track of visits and leads.

2. Seek to solve for the customer every step of the way.

While I understand that it’s important to diversify your presence, adding new channels to your omni-channel strategy without considering your customers isn’t worth it.

Why? It’s not just for your company to get more visibility or for you to make more sales. Those are tangible benefits to establishing a strategy, yes, but you mainly want to make sure your customers have an easy and issue-free experience.

When you add a new channel to your omni-channel strategy, do it to solve for the customer along every step of the way.

3. Use the same messaging across channels, but beware of using boilerplate content.

To create a consistent experience, use the same messaging across channels. For example, if I’m running an ad on multiple social platforms, I can vary the ad format for what performs best on each channel, but my messaging needs to be the same to maintain the overall purpose of my campaign. I want someone to be able to see my product announcement email and understand that it’s the same product campaign they just saw a video for on TikTok.

A slight variation in wording across channels can also be important as you can be penalized by search engines and social media platforms for duplicate, boilerplate content. Instead of always using the same phrases, create a consistent brand voice that allows you to mix it up without looking inconsistent.

4. Give customers a device- and platform-appropriate CTA.

Every time you engage with customers on certain channels — whether it’s on an ad, an organic post, a private message, a phone call, or an email — you should end the engagement with a CTA. That CTA should, of course, be device- and platform-appropriate.

For instance, I would have my social media ad lead to my mobile website, not the desktop version. I’d close my email with a link to schedule a meeting, not with a link that triggers an automatic download because my customer might not be using a mobile device to check their email.

Ensure that the CTA doesn’t throw off the customer and only extends the seamless experience you’ve already provided.

Pro Tip:If you use HubSpot's free CMS, you can try out different CTA buttons, pop-ups, and sticky CTAs. You can also A/B test variations, so that you can be sure you're creating an effective omni-channel experience.

5. Create an app if needed.

I have to point out that this step may not be relevant to you, depending on your industry and product.

However, mobile apps bring various benefits to customers and businesses, regardless of their size. For example,

  • Ease of access - Many people have smartphones, so if you have an app, customers can easily access it from a device they usually don’t let leave their sights.
  • Communication opportunities - With an app, you have the opposition to send push notifications to users to notify them of important events, whether that be flash sales or important product information.

If you’re a small company, you can hire a freelance developer to create an app. Just be sure to have a legitimate reason for offering an app and to think through every functionality. Read this article to learn how to make an app and the steps to do it successfully.

Looking for some inspiration? Read on to find some high-quality examples of omni-channel experiences.

Omni-Channel marketing examples

It's one thing to discuss the theory and practice of omni-channel customer experience, and another to see the companies that already implement these strategies. Here are a few that I admire most:

1. Disney

Omni-Channel Marketing Example: Disney

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I think Disney really gets the omni-channel experience right, down to the smallest details. It starts with your initial experience on the entertainment giant's beautiful, mobile-responsive website. Even its trip-planning website works well on mobile — that alone is something that you don't see very often.

Once you've booked a trip, you can use the My Disney Experience tool to plan your entire trip, from where you'll dine to securing your Fast Pass. In the park, you can use your mobile app to locate the attractions you want to see, as well as view the estimated wait time for each of them.

The entertainment company takes it one step further, though, with the release of its Magic Band program. This tool acts as a hotel room key, photo storage device for any pictures taken of you with Disney characters, and a food ordering tool. Plus, it even has Fast Pass integration to keep your vacation moving.

Why I Like This

  • Disney creates a truly omni-channel experience by providing a multitude of different features and tools for customers
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2. Virgin Atlantic

Omni-Channel Marketing Example: Virgin Atlantic

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Robert Fransgaard shared an account of his amazing experience with Virgin Atlantic's omni-channel customer service experience.

In his anecdote, he shares the story of his personalized experience with a representative named Dan, who, after being the unwitting recipient of Robert's frustration over a missed engineer appointment, encouraged Robert to reach out to him directly in the event of any future issues.

Dan didn't say to call customer service, or to post another tweet to get attention. Instead, Dan reached across the company's different marketing channels to give Robert a personalized service experience.

It's amazing what a personal touch like this can do, especially when it comes to consoling customers who have had a poor experience.

Virgin leads the way in many aspects of omni-channel marketing, but this account seems to best describe the types of things that can happen when all channels and employees work together seamlessly.

Why I Like This

  • Creating an omni-channel experience for marketing is one thing, but to provide customer service through each channel is going one step further.

3. Bank of America

Omni-Channel Marketing Example: Bank of America

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Bank of America takes its omni-channel development seriously. As one of the biggest brands in their industry, they're setting the standard for a dynamic experience, which — as of today — allows for everything from check depositing to appointment scheduling to be handled by the company's mobile and desktop apps.

Sure, Bank of America still has a ways to go. As of yet, users can't apply for loans or carry out other more complex banking needs from their phones. But, I do find that the other possible tasks, like paying monthly bills or depositing a check, shouldn't require that level of hassle, and its commitment to the omni-channel experience ensures that it doesn't.

Why I Like This

  • Allowing customers to complete tasks from multiple channels creates the ultimate convenience.

4. Oasis

Omni-Channel Marketing Example: Oasis

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Oasis is a U.K. fashion retailer that's fusing its ecommerce site, mobile app, and brick-and-mortar stores into a simple shopping experience.

If you walk into one of its stores, you'll find sales associates armed with iPads that are available to give you on-the-spot, accurate, and up-to-date product information. The iPad also acts as a cash register, making it easy for associates to ring you up from anywhere in the store. And the cherry on top? If it appears that something is out of stock, the staff can instantly place an online order for you to have the item shipped directly to your home.

Why I Like This

  • The Oasis app supplements all of the in-store and online shopping experiences to go the extra mile for customer service.

5. REI

Omni-Channel Marketing Example: REI

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Say I’m checking that an item is in stock before taking a trip to a brick and mortar location. The website says it’s in stock so I go to the store, but it’s not there. That’s not a great experience.

Businesses need to make sure that each shopping channel works together to provide something powerful. REI does this well through its many shopping touchpoints that give customers up-to-date and accurate product information at every turn.

Why I Like This

  • All of the internal communication I’ve seen from REI prioritizes keeping customers happy, satisfied, and excited to return to the store again and again.

6. Starbucks

Omni-Channel Marketing Example: Starbucks

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A quick look at the Starbucks rewards app reveals why many consider it one of the top omni-channel experiences out there.

First, you get a free rewards card to use whenever you make a purchase. But, unlike traditional customer loyalty programs, Starbucks makes it possible to check and reload your card via phone, website, in-store, or on the app. Any change to the card or your profile are updated across all channels, in real-time.

Standing in line to get a coffee and realize you don't have enough on your balance? Reload it and it'll be updated by the time you swipe your card.

Why I Like This

  • A customer’s mobile experience is more important than ever, so having a great app goes a long way.

7. Chipotle

Omni-Channel Marketing Example: Chipotle

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Have you ever ordered something online, only to find that the restaurant hadn't prepared your purchase by the time you arrived? I hate when that happens.

Chipotle seeks to eradicate that frustration with its online experience and mobile app that allow you to place an order wherever you are to be ready by the time you arrive to pick it up. And, if you sign up for an account, you can save your favorite orders for an even quicker and seamless experience.

Why I Like This

  • With its easy-to-navigate tools that offer on-the-go ordering, Chipotle does a great job at delivering on an omni-channel experience that seeks to make the customer’s life as easy as possible.
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8. Timberland

Omni-Channel Marketing Example: Timberland

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Timberland creates a connective customer experience in its brick-and-mortar locations by utilizing near-field communication technology, which is the software responsible for data transfer tools like Apple Pay and Android Pay. This tech allows users to tap their mobile devices against a chip that wirelessly transfers information between the two devices.

Timberland makes unique use of this tech and gives in-store shoppers access to a tablet to press against products to learn more about them. Instead of seeking out a store clerk, customers can get information independently and ask for help when needed rather than as a first resort. Shoppers also get product recommendations as they shop, and the personalization software learns their interests.

Why I Like This

  • The individualized experience for the customer highlights products that may be often overlooked.

9. Orvis

Omni-Channel Marketing Example: ORVIS

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Orvis is a sporting goods retailer that has won awards for its omni-channel strategy. How, you might ask? Orvis understands its target audience and knows the most effective ways to communicate with them.

Orvis used first-party data to discover that its target audience consisted primarily of affluent customers who were age 50 and older. The company understood that while this demographic hasn't fully adopted digital technology yet, they have shown a genuine interest in using modern ecommerce tools.

To help, Orvis gave its employees tablets with pre-installed CRM and ecommerce tools to use to order out-of-stock products as well as charge customers for both online and in-store purchases.

While this not only improves customer experience, marketing teams can also learn about their customers with the CRM tools that record customer information, shopping habits, and purchase history.

Why I Like This

  • Being able to simultaneously provide a great experience to customers and essential data to a marketing team is dually beneficial.

10. VIP.com

Omni-Channel Marketing Example: VIP.com

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VIP.com is a leading B2B ecommerce marketplace that charges retailers that sell goods on its platform.

It delivers an omni-channel experience with how it helps retailers connect with potential leads. When retailers post new products, the site's geolocation tools send push notifications to customers located in the retailers area so they can visit the store directly, or have VIP.com deliver the order for them.

Why I Like This

  • The geo-location data provides a unique and custom way to cater to customers by giving timely, relevant, and personalized offers to customers that have opted-in.

11. Sephora

Omni-Channel Marketing Example: Sephora

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Beauty giant Sephora creates an omni-channel experience that connects its shoppers' online purchases to each in-store visit. Customers can use in-store tables and access their “Beauty Bag” (basket) while shopping to look up item details, and even virtually try on products using the digital software.

Why I Like This

  • By integrating its Beauty Bag feature with its in-store communication channel, Sephora pushes customers to make purchases by giving them easy access to products they’ve already shown interest in and considered purchasing.

12. Walgreens

Omni-Channel Marketing Example: Walgreens

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Walgreens creates an omni-channel pharmaceutical experience by using its mobile app as a primary tool for brand communications. Customers can use the app to check and refill prescriptions without having to call their pharmacy and set reminders that alert them if a prescription needs to be renewed.

Why I Like This

  • While the Walgreens app doesn't have any groundbreaking features, it’s extremely convenient because everything can be done through the app.

13. Topshop

Omni-Channel Marketing Example: TopShop

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Topshop (now owned by ASOS) is a UK-based fashion brand offering trendy clothing. As part of its marketing campaign for London Fashion Week, the company launched a series of digital billboards that were displayed throughout the United Kingdom.

Each billboard was synced with the company's X (formerly Twitter) data, so when people would tweet using the hashtag "#LFW," the billboard displayed the tweet alongside a relevant item from Topshop's catalog. Fans would know where to shop the latest trends, and each billboard was conveniently located less than 10 minutes from a storefront.

Why I Like This

  • The attention-grabbing nature of billboards makes this approach more effective in other channels as well.
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14. Pepperfry

Omni-Channel Marketing Example: Pepperfry

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Pepperfry, a home furnishings company, pairs its online store with an immersive in-person experience. Customers can shop for a product online, look for furniture they like, then travel to a "Studio Pepperfry" to see what the products look like in person.

Once there, customers tour the studio with a Pepperfry design consultant and make a purchase after making sure they’re sure, eliminating buyer’s remorse. If they’re still unsure after a visit, they can return home and make a purchase online. This reduces friction between customers and salespeople, as leads don’t feel pressured to make an in-store purchase.

This investment seems to be pay off, as the company reports that 10-15% of its sales come from these studio locations.

Why I Like This

  • Intertwining the online experience with the in-person experience makes it easy for customers to make choices about products.

15. Benefit Cosmetics

Omni-Channel Marketing Example: Benefit Cosmetics

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Benefit Cosmetics launched a memorable omni-channel campaign when it brought "brow bar" experiences to its UK customers.

After hosting a competition in the UK, Benefit Cosmetics traveled across the region and provided brow bars to its contest winners as part of its "BrowMobile" campaign. It also hosted a beauty drive-thru where customers could receive free eyebrow waxes and product samples.

The company's former head of brand activation, Kyra White, noted that this campaign "shows customers that we're happy to go to them anywhere. Plus it's Instagrammable, which is great for a brand like ours which doesn't do traditional above-the-line advertising."

White isn't exaggerating either, as this campaign helped the company increase its market share for brow-products to 60% in the UK market.

Why I Like This

  • Making products in a way that’s mobile adds a whole new channel for marketing.

16. Amazon

Omni-Channel Marketing Example: Amazon

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Amazon is the king of the omni-channel experience in the consumer retail space. Not only does it have an app and website that automatically syncs users’ carts when users are signed in, but it also offers a support experience that gives customers the option to choose whatever method they’re most comfortable with.

Amazon also has a series of storefronts called Amazon Go, where users can note within their app that they’re at the store and simply grab the items they’re looking for and walk out of the store without having to take out their wallets.

Why I Like This

  • The omni-channel experience that Prime members receive gives them access to the benefits of membership on any device, platform, or place.

17. Barnes & Noble

Omni-Channel Marketing Example: Barnes & Noble

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Brick-and-mortar bookstores might be considered a thing of the past, but Barnes & Noble wins at giving their members and customers the traditional brick-and-mortar experience while staying agile in the marketplace. Whether you access its offerings through the Nook app, the mobile website, the desktop website, or the physical store, you’ll have similar, if not identical, experiences.

Why I Like This

  • Having a mobile experience in addition to a place for customers to read their books creates a personal connection.

18. Google Chrome

Omni-Channel Marketing Example: Google Chrome

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Google is another champion for omni-channel experiences, and a particular example is its browser, Google Chrome. When users are logged in, their history and activity are automatically synced into every device. Users can even access tabs on their phone that they left open on their laptops.

This synchronization gives users a seamless experience regardless of the device they use to access Chrome. The result? Google Chrome holds the majority market share — above 58% on average — in the internet browser industry. That shows just how important it is to offer an omni-channel experience not just through your marketing, sales, and service efforts, but through your product, too.

Why I Like This

  • Google’s wide reach means that it can create the smoothest, harmonious omni-channel experience for customers.

19. Spotify

Omni-Channel Marketing Example: Spotify

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Spotify is another great example of offering an omni-channel experience at a product level. It has a web app, a desktop app, and a mobile app, and activity is synced among all channels when you have them open at the same time. For example, if I'm listening on my phone but also using my computer, I can skip to the next stop in my queue from my desktop.

Why I Like This

  • Spotify’s availability on most platforms and devices provides an omni-channel experience with very little variation in the actual user experience.

20. Apple

Omni-Channel Marketing Example: Apple

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Apple takes the omni-channel experience to the next level by offering devices that seamlessly communicate with each other through user’s iCloud accounts. Messages, photos, and connected devices all share the same info regardless of device being used. And, if someone purchases a new device, they can sign in using their iCloud account and all pertinent information, data, and settings are downloaded to the new device.

To reach this sort of interconnectivity between your company’s products and services, you can emulate Apple’s omni-channel experience through a CRM, like HubSpot, that stores every single interaction your customer has with you. Whether they use email, phone, or chat to speak with your team, the customer should have a frictionless experience, which is what building an omni-channel strategy is all about.

Why I Like This

  • The connectivity between devices, accounts, and platforms makes it easy for customers to transition between all of them.
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Omni-Channel Marketing Platforms

Without the right platform, omni-channel marketing can easily fall short.

Spreading your resources across each platform must be done efficiently to be truly beneficial for your business. Platforms that are created for omni-channel marketing will help your business seamlessly operate across channels. These three below were designed for exactly that.

1. HubSpot CRM

HubSpot’s complete CRM platform is an all-in-one marketing automation tool. Whether your focus is to grow sales, increase leads, or improve customer service, it’s functional and flexible and able to meet your needs. It comprises six hubs: Marketing Hub, Service Hub, CMS Hub, Sales Hub, Operations Hub, and Commerce Hub, each packed with powerful features to help you grow your business.

2. Shopify

Shopify is a high-quality ecommerce tool that you can use as an omni-channel marketing tool. You can sell products and create social media campaigns, and it also helps you stay on top of engagement throughout every stage of the customer acquisition funnel.

All in all, this tool can help you develop personalized experiences for your audience, optimize your sales to generate more revenue, and measure the impact of your marketing campaigns.

3. ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign combines automation, marketing, and CRM tools to help you create quality experiences for your audience. Its key features are segmented by customer touchpoints (reach, nurture, convert & grow, and ecommerce), and the platform is “stackable,” meaning you can mix and match different tools, applications, and channels to create the omni-channel marketing tool your business needs.

Omni-Channel Retail

Omni-channel retail refers to the method of putting your products and services up for sale on all channels and platforms to increase reach, reduce friction, and boost sales. An omni-channel retail experience can include all the channels you have, including brick-and-mortar stores, app-based options, and online platforms. For example, if I own a clothing brand, my omni-channel retail strategy is to sell products on my website, app, Instagram Shops, Amazon, and physical locations.

Omni-channel retail is most relevant to retail-based business-to-consumer (B2C) industries like consumer goods, clothing, and food and beverage. Business-to-business (B2B) companies can simulate an omni-channel environment in offering prospects demos or scheduling consultations across multiple channels and platforms.

Payment links are another way to connect your retail experience. Payment tools like HubSpot Payments let you embed payment links into emails, quotes, invoices, text messages, or even chat windows.

Regardless of your business type, though, omni-channel retail is most powerful when paired with an omni-channel marketing strategy. When you align your messaging, goals, objectives, and design across every channel and device, you’re offering a seamless and cohesive experience to prospects/customers, and making sure you show up on the different channels they may prefer to use.

Creating an Omni-Channel Experience is the Key to Future Success

Every company must develop its own unique omni-channel experience infrastructure, and you'll need to work closely with several departments in your company to develop this strong strategy.

While building your program, look to the following stakeholders:

  • Product
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Customer Support
  • Customer Success

Once everyone understands the goals and objectives of your omni-channel initiative, you can start planning your transition to this model. Including these departments early on will make it easier as you try to shift into an omni-channel way of doing things — it's less of a headache down the road when you get people excited in the beginning.

The scale of some of the integrations I described above may make the endeavor of an omni-channel customer experience feel out of reach for smaller companies, but there’s nothing wrong with starting small with a few channels and expanding as you grow. Ultimately, regardless of how many channels you start with, your strategy should consist of a strategic plan to build a coherent and aligned experience across multiple platforms.

Technology has come a long way over the past decade, and there’s no doubt in my mind that future changes will make it even easier for the smallest of companies to engage directly with consumers — no matter where they are, what device they’re using, or what stage they’re in with their journey with you.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in December 2017 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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