Why Doesn't Omnichannel Sales Work?

Do you know how fast the e-commerce market is developing? At the end of 2021, its total value reached $4.9 trillion. According to eMarketer, this volume will exceed $7.3 trillion by 2025. Now entrepreneurs are mastering digitization, moving their business online, and striving to cover large target audiences with their offers. The success level of such activities varies because some retailers do not fully understand why omnichannel in retail is necessary, how it differs from multichannel and how it generally works.

Scallium.Pro experts analyzed the e-commerce market trends and identified several problems companies face when switching to a multi-distribution and marketing model. Now you will learn how to properly build relationships with customers by multiplying and synchronizing contact points on the network and in reality.

Omnichannel Selling: Definition and Differences from Multichannel

Providing a better user experience across all distribution channels is what omnichannel selling is all about. Its key feature is that no matter where the customer found the product. It is always possible to contact managers, study the characteristics, and make a purchase. It may be done using any device: tablet, smartphone, PC, or even smart TV. The main principles of omnichannel are the availability and interconnection of the consumer with trade representatives with seamless synchronization of content and communication between platforms and resources.

Omni-channel trading vs. multi-channel trading

Agree, the difference is not so obvious at first glance. But if you compare these models, you notice a gap between them. Let's see why.

  • Omnichannel trading focuses on analyzing a specific target audience and adapting the business to their needs. The same experience on several platforms is its key feature. Multichannel, on the contrary, aims at expanding the audience by increasing your presence on many resources at the same time. For example, FB, Instagram, or TikTok, where you can find people of different generations and with different interests.

  • The multichannel distribution uses different channels without taking care of their interchangeability and synchronization with each other. In contrast, omnichannel distribution aims at adapting the entire trading process to a common connection, regardless of platform or device. For example, when viewing a product on FB, you can easily purchase it on Instagram, on the brand's website, or in a retail network in your city. And UX will be the same everywhere.

  • Omnichannel trading uses one marketing technique for all traffic sources: email newsletters, banners, SEO, contextual advertising, and other promotion channels. The content policy is also the same, unlike multi-channel distribution. No separate materials, images, and characteristics: there is a common base for all channels with adapted formats for all types of displays and platforms.
This combination of factors determines the main differences between the models. Spoiler alert: omnichannel sales are more effective than multichannel sales because they ensure 80% more store visits. But they also have problems arising from deviations from the strategy. Let's figure out why omnichannel sales may fail and how to deal with it.

Top 5 Reasons Omnichannel Selling May Not Work

E-commerce is always risky regardless of the business plan, market niche, or distribution model. Such risks arise for various reasons, mainly due to improper marketing, analysis, technical implementation, or management. We bring to your attention the Top 5 factors due to which even omnichannel trading can bring losses instead of the expected profit. We will also discuss how to avoid losses and optimize your workflow.

Reason 1. Poor marketing process automation

McKinsey's research says that 71% of consumers expect a personalized user experience. What does it mean? When consumers search for goods on websites or use search systems like Google, Yandex, Bing, and others, they expect to find a profitable offer and place an order. If they do not find what they want, they abandon their carts. Now let's look at two possible scenarios:
The user receives an email with a link to the desired product at an affordable price. After that, this person sees a similar banner on a billboard in the city, visits the brand's offline store, and checks the product in person but does not buy it. A week later, this user receives a message with a personal discount + an offer to register in the loyalty system with additional bonuses. Orders and picks up goods at the post office.
A person wants to buy, for example, an electric shaver. But the suitable model is only in one online store and at an inflated price. After the purchase, having picked up the goods at the post office, the buyer finds a booklet inside the parcel saying that you receive a discount and a gift certificate when buying this razor. Do you think this customer will turn to the same vendor next time?
In the first case, a person is motivated to participate in the brand's life to receive more discounts. In the second one, the consumer was dissatisfied with the retailer's approach, which led to organic anti-advertising and reduced store conversion.

Reason 2. Insufficient awareness of customer needs

Another advantage of omnichannel marketing and sales is that the vendor has a target audience whose needs should be analyzed to personalize the user experience. For example, knowing that most of the audience visits Facebook, Instagram, Google, and supermarkets, you can focus on these distribution points, offering customers a great shopping experience.

Is the user looking for a product in the search? With SEO, they get to the target website but want to check the quality of the product. They go to a social network, where they meet the same product with reviews and ratings. They decide to postpone the purchase and forget about it. A week later, they receive an email offering a discount on a product with free shipping to one of the branded boutiques in their favorite supermarket. Do you think the consumer will agree to purchase this item? In 90% of cases, the answer is yes.

Reason 3. Inconsistent sales channels

Imagine a situation: a consumer decides to order a product through Instagram and writes to the manager on the brand's page. After talking and finding out the details, they choose to postpone the purchase. After a while, they remember the product and call the store number, where the brand representative begins to tell them about the product and offers to re-register. How will the user react to this? Negative.

The omnichannel distribution model must work as follows: regardless of the channel of the first communication, the consumer's data is synchronized in the database, and at the next contact, the manager only clarifies the details and offers additional accessories or related products to increase the bill. The same goes for shopping. The consistency of all sales channels is the key to the success of a brand that has switched to a multi-channel sales model.

Reason 4. Different Content on Different Channels

What repels buyers most of all? Assortment inconsistency. For example, if the price and availability are specified on the website, the social network shows only characteristics, but when visiting an offline store, it turns out that such a product is not in stock at all, the consumer will abandon the cart or even refuse further cooperation. And it's the right decision because such inconsistency is unacceptable at any stage of the path to purchase.

To solve such unpleasant situations, Scallium.Pro experts suggest introducing PIM into business systems and synchronizing all items with one database. It will avoid confusion and speed up buying and delivering goods.

Reason 5. The Race for Quantity, but Not Quality

There is a theory that the more sales channels a business has, the higher its final income and ROMI. This statement is true for the multichannel trading model but not for the omnichannel one. Why is that?

Multichannel distribution aims to expand the range and increase sales points by attracting a new target audience to the brand. Omnichannel is suitable for improving user experience. It allows you to build multiple channels but focuses the entrepreneur's attention on the main points for their customers, linking them into one system. An attempt to combine these principles is often fatal and reduces consumer interest in the brand, leading to enormous marketing costs.


The problem with omnichannel selling is that many entrepreneurs don't understand the difference between it and multichannel. Figuratively speaking, they strive to cover all the benefits of both systems at once. It is a fundamentally wrong approach that destroys the business development strategy. If you need to prepare an effective business plan and build your own trading system, then Scallium.Pro is at your service. Our service comprehensively helps brands develop and build an omnichannel retail model. The time for digitization has come! Contact our manager for advice and expert help!
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