How does the future look for the Brick-and-Mortar Industry?

Have your business decisions been myopic and you haven’t figured out the Plan B to adapt to the shifting dynamics of retail?

Are you too late into the game of Brick and Mortar? Who knows what the future could look like for the Brick and Mortar Industry? The best we can do is to help you understand how the most successful businesses have given their retail outlets a makeover to survive from the juggernauts. 

Read this post till the end before making up your mind about the next big business decision.

Are the retailers in trouble?

The alarm went off in 2019 when retailers in the United States announced 9,302 store closings, a 59% jump from 2018.

This has even intensified in 2020 due to Covid-19 pandemic when there’s a long list of bankruptcies including the likes of J.Crew, JCPenney, Tuesday Morning and others.

Is Retailing in trouble?

Saying that retailing won’t last for long just because retailers are leaving the market would be a misstatement. 
The concept of retailing has been here for long and will continue to stay till the point where there are humans to make purchase decisions, not robots.

Why do the Retailers suffer?

While “Retail Gravitation” and “Wheel of Retailing” theories give an explanation for the happening, most good retailers go bad when they are either unable or unwilling to adapt to the changes in their ecosystem (technology, nontraditional competition, and consumer lifestyles). 

The retail stores which have for long followed a traditional model of low-tech shops and have constrained themselves to the traditional idea of selling need to reposition themselves into the High-tech and Value added services model.

What is the Value Added Services Model ?

Professor Jagdish Sheth`s model of Value Added Services is a key to boost retail sales in the coming future.
The various examples of Value Added Services are:

  • #1 Ordering & Delivery 

Uber , Grubhub and Kroger have grown in the past because they understood that their consumer might not always walk into their stores and often prefers the comfort of sitting on his couch and consuming the products from his favourite brands. 
The ease with which you can deliver your value to your consumer would define your supremacy.

  • #2 Financing & Payment

The consumers do care and show their loyalty towards you if you understand their financial condition and go out-of-the-box to offer them credit options . One such example is that of Room To Go that offers exclusive credit options to consumers at zero-interest rate and this has helped it scale their business and create a unique brand positioning of their own.

  • #3 In-Store Environment

Focussing on the stimuli that drive your consumers into spending more time in your stores is not a big ask. 
Studies have shown that playing the right music in your stores helps increase sales.Platforms like Ambii help you in fixing the ambience of your stores by curating the best playlist for retail stores. The service offers royalty free music for your business.

  •  #4 Robot Assistant

“Automation will change the daily work habits of everyone, from miners to landscapers to commercial bankers, fashion designers, welders and CEOs” . 
This is an excerpt from a McKinsey report on Automation which goes on to predict that  51% of economic activity in USA could be automated by existing technology.

OSHBot (Orchard Supply Hardware), Lowe’s autonomous shopping assistant helps customers to navigate in the stores and choose the best products.

  • #5 Cyber Cafes in Stores

Consumers are fickle. They are known to take a quick glance and then vanish from the retail stores, lickety-split!
To increase the foot traffic, the retail owners can set up gaming corners and provide free internet services to give the consumers a positive experience.

  • #6 Automated Promotions & Discounts

It is the era of all-powerful consumers. These are the times of unprecedented competition, overcapacity, price deflation and uncertainty.
It is one thing to attract a customer and it is other to retain him for future sales. Analysis of consumer purchasing behaviour helps in identifying patterns and setting guidelines for future marketing endeavours.
Running smart loyalty programs is a proven method of boosting retail sales.

  • #7 Virtual Shopping communities

Creating online communities where your consumers get to interact with each other boosts their confidence in your brand and ultimately your bottom line.

Young people may love their digital options, but I’ve found that they also love unique experiences and human connections. They may be happy to buy from local stores, especially if they can tag themselves on social media or treat the opportunity as more than a transaction.

Bobby Marhamat, CEO at Raydiant.
  • #8 Subscription Apps

The only cheat code is to create positive experiences is having a presence online, offline and across all platforms, round the clock without neglecting the value being imparted. 
Having a mobile application helps you in regular communication with your consumers and remain in the competition with the juggernauts.

Is this it?

“It doesn’t stop here. In the future, industry change will be further accelerated with the advent of new technologies like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and blockchain.”

Professor Jagdish Sheth

As the artificial becomes reality and the predictions of retail apocalypse rise, only those brands will survive that are able to differentiate themselves from the herd.
Those who do not transform over and over again will be dead soon.


Business reopening guide – Things to take care of before you reopen.

As the government is planning to set timelines to lift the shelter-in-place orders, businesses should plan on running businesses in the new normal. 

It looks like the COVID-19 virus is not going away soon. Recently Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergency program said, “This virus just may become another endemic virus in our communities and this virus may never go away. HIV hasn’t gone away. I’m not comparing the two diseases but I think it is important that we’re realistic. I don’t think anyone can predict when or if this disease will disappear.

So as a business owner, you need to make a few changes for your business. I have put together a list of things you can implement for better customer experience in the post COVID business era. 

The first thing to take care of is Safety. The safety of customers and your employees.  

Safety measures for better customer experience:

It is critical to managing the unexpected concerns of your customers and employees. You need to figure out a way to operate the business without jeopardizing the customers’ and employees’ confidence (also public health, obviously). Invest in proper hand sanitizing solutions and cleaning supplies. This investment will boost up the confidence of the customers by making them feel safe at your place and help you bring them back. If your place looks risky, they never going to come back! So, buy at least 60% alcohol-based sanitizers, place them across your business space, and make them freely available.  

 Another main thing to plan is social distancing. Analyze your business floor-plan to notice clustering spots and build a plan to accommodate social distancing measures. Restaurants/coffee owners should also look into reducing a few tables, based on the old customer seating patterns. If there are any procedures involving unnecessary human interactions, try to avoid them (streamline the process). By taking care of these basic procedures, you can make your customers, as well as employees, feel safe, which will also boost the customer experience.  

Sign up for Ambii and stream free licensed music at your business and make your customers feel good!

Pro tip: Ask your initial customers how they are feeling about the new setup and collect feedback/suggestions on how it affects their confidence.

Notify your old and loyal customers:

Once you plan to reopen your business, notify your old customers. By doing this, You can get the initial business and the boost. If you have an email list of your customers, send an email to all of them. If you have no email list, it’s ok now is the time to leverage your business social media. If you have no online communication mediums to communicate, make sure to put signage in front of your outlet which should be eye-catching from a distance.

E-commerce & Digital Marketing:

If your business doesn’t have a website and marketing channels, now you should start building them. It took 8 years to achieve 15% retails sales using online sales mediums/ e-commerce, but it just took 10 weeks to increase eCommerce by 10% making the total e-commerce retails sale accounting for 25%, thanks to coronavirus. So, it is the best time to build an e-commerce site for your business.

Cut down the unnecessary costs:

I know how SMB owners are struggling with crises. This is the time to go through your balance sheets, Profit, and loss statements to analyze what is necessary and what is not.

Stop paying for costly music licenses, Ambii will provide you music that works for your business FOR FREE! With the Ambii you get:

·         200+ Stations Curated for Business

·         Weekly Scheduling 

·         Explicit Music Filter

·         In-Store Promotions

·         Analytics Dashboard

Learn more about Ambii Music for Business here.

Finally, I want you to plan your business in a way you can take all the unpredicted challenges in the future. Best of luck in re-opening business!


Bar Ballads Boost Business

Imagine a warm summer Saturday night, you just finished an amazing dinner with all of your friends. To finish the night, you all decide to head to a bar and keep the night going. As you step off the street and walk through the door, you are immersed in the makings of another world. Ornate table settings, soft lights, and ambient music envelop groups of shadows pulsing with chatter in time with the bass line. All of these sensory perceptions, although most may not notice it, engage your senses, enhance your experience and may even make your drink taste that much better. 

People of all cultures, all over the world, and all throughout history have gathered socially to consume beverages of the alcoholic nature. The tipsy feeling that comes from having a couple drinks is far too desirable and adds to an enjoyable experience. 

Every individual has their drink of choice, whether it’s a glass of fine wine at an upscale hotel lounge, a beer and a game of pool at the billiards, or a cocktail with dinner and friends, there is a drink and a place for everyone.

Ambiance is everything: 

People come to bars for the atmosphere and to socialize with friends or random strangers. Aside from the social aspects, the cool and classy atmosphere of bars are also what attracts many people as well. The iconic bar top, the lights hanging from the ceiling, smooth jazz music in the background, and a bartender in a suit making drinks are all aspects people imagine when thinking of a classy, up-scale bar. On the other hand, at a more modern bar, you may see a darker room with colored fluorescent lights lining the tables and roof accompanied by either Pop/Rap music or perhaps some upbeat EDM songs. 

It’s so important that we understand the atmosphere when planning and scheduling music for an establishment. Let’s say for example, we switch the music between the two stores mentioned above. To picture, we have a bar that is very dark with the only light coming from colored lights spread thinly throughout the establishment. Perhaps we can even imagine the lights flashing to the beat of the music, making the perfect environment for people to get drinks and even dance to the music. However, imagine that the music playing isn’t some EDM or club hit, but rather some smooth jazz for example. Jarring right? This is why it is crucial for businesses to have the right music and environment that accompanies their desired vibe. Do you know what your customers expect?

Ambii does!

Free Music for Your Bar:

Ambii – Music for Business, understands what your customers expect from your brand and they give you music for your bar for FREE! With hundreds of curated playlists to choose from, you’re sure to find something to fit your brand style. If you don’t, they have Music Curation Experts ready to consult with you to determine the perfect mood, tempo, and genre for your place. 

For a more modern type of dance club, they recommend “Liquid Courage” a curated playlist that contains a variety of upbeat EDM songs ranging from chill Lo-fi all the way up to the heavy Trap music if you want to get your bar popping. 

On the other hand, if you have an upscale lounge, they have you covered there too. They recommend “Settled-Down Speakeasy” with selections ranging from sophisticated jazz all the way to 90’s favorites. 

Regardless of the type of bar you own, make sure you know what your customers expect and choose the music that best compliments your brand. 

If you don’t like the refined taste of a vodka for example, you can try a luxuriously smokey scotch instead. Or, if shots aren’t for you, try an artisan cocktail made from a certified mixologist. 

And where is the best place for one to experiment and taste drinks made by professionals? The various local bars!

At a glance, a bar may just seem to be a place that stores and creates tons of alcoholic drinks. However, there is so much more to a bar than just the drinks that it provides. People come to bars for the atmosphere and social reasons. When coming, most people tend to come in groups with their friends and intermingle with other groups as well. Even if you are coming alone, it is very likely that you will end up striking a conversation with someone else there. Aside from the social aspects, the cool and classy atmosphere of bars are also what attracts many people as well. The iconic bar counter, the lights hanging from the ceiling, smooth jazz music in the background, and a bartender in a suit making drinks are all aspects people imagine when thinking of a classy, up-scale bar. On the other hand, at a more modern bar, you may see a darker room with colored fluorescent lights lining the tables and roof accompanied by either Pop/Rap music or perhaps some upbeat EDM songs. 

Let’s say for example, we switch the music between the two stores. To picture, we have a bar that is very dark with the only light coming from colored lights spread thinly throughout the store. Perhaps we can even imagine the lights flashing to the beat of the music, making the perfect environment for people to get drinks and even dance to the music. However, imagine that the music playing isn’t some EDM or club hit, but rather some smooth jazz for example. Jarring right? This is why it is crucial for businesses to have the right music and environment that accompanies their desired vibe.

Here at Ambii, we can help take care of the music aspect for you and your business. We understand how hard it is for you to find not only the perfect genre, but then to make a playlist of songs in that genre as well. For a more modern type of bar, we recommend anything under our “Liquid Courage” genre which contains a variety of upbeat EDM songs ranging from the chiller House music all the way up to the heavy Trap music if you want to get your bar popping. On the other hand, if you want to go for a more classy approach don’t worry, we got you covered there too. We recommend you go down to the “Settled-Down Speakeasy” section, where you will find selections ranging from sophisticated jazz all the way to 90’s music. No matter what your need is, we can go ahead and fulfill it here at Ambii. 


How Music Can Improve Your Employees Morale

Great music = Great mood = Great work.

Music will affect your mood and also change the way you perceive the world, according to research from the University of Groningen. If your employees are happy, joyful, and energetic, it would reflect on their work. Scientific research proved that music will elevate employees’ work productivity.

Here are the findings from a few studies on the relation of music and its effects on the workplace attitude:

  • 90% of employees perform well when listening to music.
  • Music releases dopamine in your brain. Dopamine helps you improve focus.
  • Ambient music improves the accuracy of data entry in 92% of people. 
  • 40% of business owners believed playing music increased their sales.
  • 88% of employees produced more accurate work when listening to music in the workplace. 

Many pieces of research show listening to music in the background while working can help a person concentrate better. Therefore, today many offices are adopting this culture of letting their employees listen to music for helping them stay active and productive.

If you are still not convinced to play music at your workplace, here are more points to consider why playing music at your business place.

  • Music boost work performance levels and creativity. 
  • It Improves concentration and speed.
  • It helps to set the workplace environment and attitude.
  • Noise reduction by Ambient helps to concentrate and memory. 
  • Music help relieves stress. 
  • It also Increases Motivation

But it is not just tuning into some radio channel and playing random music. Different genres and the tempo of music affects our brain in different ways. Few genres would be distracting to your employees but others would make them workaholics. 

Select the music which suites your employee’s work and your business. Music with fast lyrics can distract your employees’ concentration.

With the Ambii, you can select music based on the genre and tempo. We made the right playlists which are suitable for your business. Sign in and explore all of them!


Smell of Coffee Through Music!

As you walk in through the door of a cafe, you are immediately greeted with the familiar smell of freshly brewed coffee and baked goods. The atmosphere is as unique as the people that frequent it. Even though the crowd is diverse, they seek a common sense of community in their coffee shop and the music should speak directly to these shared values. 

When analysing the music that accompanies cafes, people tend to look at categories like jazz or lo-fi music where it’s calmer and settling. I adore cafes that play blues or any type of music that has a piano to accompany it. The feeling of class hits you despite not wearing a tuxedo or a fancy dress. 

Music can portray many different vibes and it is important for the music in your cafe to complement the crowd and business objectives. For instance, an upbeat more fast-paced tempo can encourage a faster turnover of tables. Whereas, a slower tempo can create a comfortable atmosphere where people can sit and relax for hours. 

This concept of choosing the appropriate music is carried out very well by a cafe that I frequently visited as a college student, Roy’s Station Coffee & Tea, in San Jose’s quaint Japantown neighborhood. Their cafe has an old-fashioned vintage vibe that projects a neighborly feel. The music reflects this comforting atmosphere with slow warm rhythmic songs that invite neighbors to congregate for hours.

Stop guessing what your customers want!

Ambii, a music streaming service for businesses, offers playlists that are catered specifically to cafes. They have everything from “Lo-Fi Chillstep” playlists that encourage motivation and inspiration. Or maybe a “Blues Throwback” playlist that gives a nostalgic classy feel to people who are there to enjoy a quick conversation with friends and acquaintances. Another playlist that gives a great vintage feel to many cafes is “Sophisticated Jazz” as it brings a magical yet romantic vibe that can not be explained. 
Regardless of the type of vibe you’re going for, Ambii has your cafe covered with FREE music to match your brand. Get started in less than 1 minute!


BBQ Beats

As you sit down, waiting for your smoked turkey and chicken at your favorite BBQ joint, you can’t help but be engulfed by the sounds of blues music playing in the background that immerse you. 

Ribs, Tri-tip, Chicken, Turkey, whatever you’d like to call it- there’s no mistake that the market for Barbecue is booming. According to the 2017 Center of the Plate: Beef and Pork Consumer Trend Report from Technomic, a Winsight Company, in Chicago, BBQ fares such as brisket, pork shoulder, and pork ribs along with pulled pork and beef have been rising in notoriety. The roots are in the Black community dating back to the days of slavery, where Black slaves made do with whatever scraps given to them and made meals out of them. Sammy Kershaw’s Grillin and Chillin song from his I Won’t Back Down album, JoJo Mason’s It’s All Good from his It’s All Good album are songs that go well with BBQ food.

“Celebration,” “Cherish,” “Jungle Boogie,” “Summer Madness,” and “Open Sesame” are some of Kool & the Gang songs that will bode well at any BBQ restaurant. Their bulletproof funk and tough, jazzy arrangements add personality to the ambiance.

Restaurants can find playlists like this for free with Ambii. With hundreds of curated playlists to choose from you are sure to find the mood, tempo, and genre that match with your BBQ joint. 

Listen to the playlist “Feelgood Country” on the Ambii platform, now available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.


How to work from home effectively.

Work From Home Comic Strip Showing how it is detrimental to our work-life balance.
Do not let this happen to you.

It’s been more than a month since we’ve all been stuck at home. Living and working in the same space challenges us both physically and mentally. Needless to say, Many of us need to adapt our routines, to stay sane and productive.

I have multiple years of work from home experience, and the biggest thing I learned is to create boundaries between work and personal life. When working from home, it’s difficult to maintain work-life balance, and most of the time we end up working overtime and burn ourselves out. It is also possible to end-up binge-watching web-series, indefinitely procrastinating work. “Ahem, personal experience”.

Here are my five tips for tackling work from home in a better way and to be more productive in remote work life:

  1. Maintain clear boundaries for work and life.
    Managing time and not overworking will be the biggest challenge when working from home. If you are not carefully maintaining boundaries, you would start to feel as you are continuously working throughout the day. Build a routine and follow it. Building and sticking to a schedule helps. Keeping clear boundaries for when to work and when to call it a day helps to maintain the work-life balance. Take a shower and dress-up; Even dressing up as if you are going to the office will help you get into the mood and focus on work. If you think your working hours are exceeding then expected, feel free to pause the work (depends on the project though!).
  2. Maintain a dedicated workspace.
    Keeping a dedicated workspace helps you focus on work, and you can get into the work zone easily. Whenever we go to the office, our brain instantly starts thinking about the work and even try to solve the problems you are working on. A similar thing happens when you sit on a bed, you start feeling lazy and sleepy because our brain identifies the bed and tries to simulate sleep. So maintaining a dedicated workspace will work. If you have a luxury of space, you can use a separate room as your workspace. Working in a dedicated room helps your family identify as you are working, I learned it when I was working on my startup from home. If you don’t have a separate room, it’s ok, try to set up a small work table-chair and use them for work. As an International student, I ended up only having a bed, chair, and a moving table, now you know how I try to be efficient while working.
  3. Music for better productivity.
    Due to the COVID 19 aka Coronavirus, shelter-in-place situation, working from home while everyone at home will be a bit distracting. Luckily, music can help you be more productive. But finding the right paced music for work is a bit hard. But don’t worry, With Ambii, you can select the right music for you based on Genre, Mood, and Tempo (Beats Per Minute). A study by Canadian researchers found people performed better on IQ tests while listening to up-tempo music. Fast tempo music elevates music and helps to work better.

    The best part, by playing Ambii you can help small businesses to fight economic hardship they are facing due to the coronavirus. We are donating all the revenue generated by the ads to Small Business Relief funds.
  4. Try to get some exercise and sunlight.
    Get out of the house, provided following the rules of social distancing and wearing a mask of course. Your body needs fresh air and natural light, so try to get a walk in the day time. If you don’t want to go outside, try to work out at your home (in patio/balcony/backyard if possible). There are plenty of resources on “bodyweight workouts at home”, which doesn’t require any equipment.

  5. Don’t Multitask.

    You feel the urge to multi-task, but try to fight them. Doing laundry, watching tv, cooking meals or snacks while working feels like not a big deal, there is nothing wrong with doing the as well, but don’t let chores distract you from being productive. You would not be doing them if you were at the office, to try to follow the same. Meal prep as if you are going to the office. Not being distracted while working will boost your productivity. You definitely need to take small breaks while working but avoid doing the things you won’t do at the office.

Finally, try to not take stress, be positive, and spend quality time talking to your family, friends, and dear ones.

These are a few tips I have from my past WFH experience, and from what I learned from my friends/colleagues. Feel free to share it with your friends.


Top 5 – From Monotony to Musicality

Wake up. Roll over. Check your phone- 10:28. With a groan you rise out of bed to commute 5 feet to your work, which is your desk in your room. Another (not) dawn, another day in quarantine. How much longer until all this passes? At least you have your music to get through the day…

We’ve all been there before- work splayed out in front of us, or dirty dishes in the sink, or laundry that needs to be folded. What seems to be simple, easy tasks end up feeling like pushing a rock up a hill, only for it to fall back down again. Trust me, I’ve been there too.

Something that I’ve realized in this time of shelter in place is that music makes everything a little bit sweeter. Monotonous tasks, such as sweeping the house, become a personal concert of glimmer and good vibes when my earbuds are slipped in. As human creatures, we are able to enjoy the beauty of music and rhythm. Therefore, I urge you (yes you sitting there in self-isolation) to give it a try- open up Ambii and turn it up! Not sure what to jam out to? Have no fear- here are 5 of my personal favorite playlists for specific activities around the house.

Working on a Project: Pianissimo Pop

With harmless lyrics and gentle rhythms, this playlist is a soft way to ease you into the study zone. Filled with well known covers and acoustic renditions of pop songs from the 2000s to today, this playlist is bound to soften your heart, mind, and ears through the harsh work that lays in front of you.

Sweeping the House: Romantic Ballads

If only your trusty mop or broomstick was the love of your life. Instead of monotonously sweeping the ground, you’d be waltzing around the house with them, professing your one true love to the bristles that sparkle your floors.  Overflowing with songs of love and joy, we’ve created Romantic Ballads for one purpose and one purpose only- to truly and flawlessly sweep you off your feet. 

Cooking up Dinner: Background Classical

The strings of the violin slice the air as you finely dice those onions with precision. Talented fingers dance across the keys of the piano as you expertly sautee all your ingredients into your pan. The crack of the drum resounds with the crack of the eggshells, the sizzle of the meat reflects the muted applause of the audience. After all is said and done, you stand before the presence of three masterpieces. The music itself, the delicious food you’ve created, and the greatest masterpiece of all- you.

Folding the Laundry: Stripped Down

Just like the soft texture of freshly-washed clothes between your fingers, this playlist features soft songs that shine through with clean vocals and acoustic instrumentals. Heartfelt lyrics of singers and songwriters will melt your troubles away as you neatly fold each garment with handle and care.

Simply Chilling in Bed: Chill Beats

A playlist made for one of my favorite activities- kicking back and relaxing in the comfort of my bed. This playlist, peppered with chill hip hop and R&B tunes call for golden glowing lights and a book to pair with it. Lay back, relax, and enjoy life- positive vibes only.

These playlists are a part of Ambii’s superset “Working from Home”. Find “Working from Home” on our Shelter in Place setting using our Ambii app today!

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