What social distancing can teach retailers

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We are social beings.

One of the most difficult parts of the coronavirus quarantine, for healthy individuals, has been dealing with a lack of face-to-face interaction.

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The majority of my communication with friends has been centered on sharing memes to encourage a smile during a time when nobody really knows what is going on.

Retailers must focus on ways to create personalized interaction and unique experiences online. This means more than listing your available products or services in an online store. It goes to the heart of creating a connection with the consumer.

Perhaps we Facetime once in a while or promise to work out to the same live stream yoga class, but overall, much of the time social distancing is spent in our own heads.

How does this connect to retail? Because retail deals directly with human psychology and focuses on the goal of creating and enhancing desire.

The concepts of novelty, reciprocity, community, social proof, urgency and storytelling are at the center of any successful product strategy. Yes, this is easier said than done during ordinary times but even more difficult when focusing exclusively on remote transactions.

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That's why retailers must focus on ways to create personalized interaction and unique experiences online. This means more than listing your available products or services in an online store. It goes to the heart of creating a connection with the consumer.

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Here are nine ways both large and small business can use this time to enhance their brand experience online:

Retailers can learn from social distancing by observing how we are keeping ourselves entertained as individuals. Make this a time of reflection, future planning and problem-solving. Keep people top of mind and your brand will come out stronger in the long run.

Erin Sykes is a retail and sales strategist, consultant, and QVC Guest Host. She began her career with Estee Lauder, working extensively within international markets, notably Asia and Latin America and later served as CMO of AEDIT, Vice President of Sykes Commercial Development, and Founder of Mission 360. Follow Erin @sykesstyle on social media.

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