Creare announced as Google AdWords Premier SME Partner

Today, Creare was announced as a Google AdWords Premier SME Partner, one of only a handful of marketing agencies in the UK to achieve this status.

Google AdWords Premier SME Partners are a group of hand-picked, highly qualified companies recognised because they offer the expertise, experience, and end-to-end customer service so that business owners can focus on running their businesses, helping them benefit from the power of Google AdWords.

Creare’s Chief Commercial Officer, Tom Darnell said: “Our elevation to Google AdWords  Premier SME Partner status is testament to the hard work and dedication our team has shown to achieving success for our clients’ digital marketing campaigns. Google has supported our team through providing training, resources, analysis and enabling engaging events which helps us achieve more for our clients. We are excited to take this to the next level.”

Creare is able to support hundreds of small and medium businesses achieve success online through their innovative approach to ‘demystifying digital’, an example being the launch of their Digital Health Check tool in the summer of 2015. Since then over 5,000 businesses have gone on to discover how their digital presence is performing and taken action.

“The Google AdWords Premier SME Partner Programme is a great way for small and medium businesses to connect with companies who can help them make the most of their online advertising,” says Kartik Taneja, Head of Google’s EMEA channel sales partnerships. “Guided by the expertise of our trusted partners like Creare, small and medium-sized businesses can maximise the value and performance of their campaigns.”

Creare’s digital marketing solution includes websites, eCommerce stores and a range of digital marketing solutions to drive traffic, including Google AdWords. As a Google AdWords Premier SME Partner, Creare will continue to offer these solutions to new and existing clients, helping busy business owners to take control of their digital marketing and achieve success online.

To find out more about how Creare can help your business achieve success online with Google AdWords visit


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Notes to Editor

About Creare

Creare provide a holistic digital marketing solution for small and medium sized businesses in the UK, including websites, ecommerce stores, search engine optimisation and pay per click search marketing, social media and video.  Established in 2006, Creare has provided websites, ecommerce solutions, search marketing, social media and video solutions to over 4,000 businesses.

For more information, visit

For further information, please contact:

Tom Darnell, Chief Commercial Officer, Creare

Tel:           +44 7595 075724



Website Images: Are They Really That Important?

Humans are visual creatures, with 40% of people claiming they respond better to visual information than plain text*. For this reason, the design of your website and effective use of imagery is extremely important in engaging your customers and prompting them to make an enquiry or purchase.

With the rise of image central social networks like Instagram and Pinterest, we have learned to process information extremely quickly through visual cues, forming impressions within seconds. In order to make your message understood, it is therefore essential to accompany this with related imagery to ensure an almost instant understanding of what is being communicated.

We have identified some tips to ensure your images enhance – not hinder – your website:

Choose eye catching images

‘46% of consumers say a website’s design is the number one criteria for establishing the credibility of a company’ - Hubspot

It is essential to ensure the images used on your site reflect your company values, look professional and effectively frame your content.

Imagery should relate to your offering, but doesn’t have to be literal. For example, if you sell fire safety equipment, a static image of a fire extinguisher might not be as engaging as an image of a fire being extinguished. Consider how to best catch the eye of the consumer as soon as they land on your site.

Fire Image

Consistency is key – just as you should replicate your company’s tone of voice across all communication through the website and social media, the style of imagery you use should also be consistent to affirm your brand identity and build trust in your customers.

The Jaguar website is a great example of this – they only use high quality lifestyle shots of the cars on their homepage, enhanced in post-production to look as if they are moving, to infer the speed of the vehicles. They haven’t confused the message by including product shots of the cars on white backgrounds, or any imagery containing people – it’s all about the cars and it’s consistent.

Jaguar Photography

While you may not have the budget or resource to produce images of this high a quality, it is important to consider how all of the images on your site complement one another and represent your brand.

Use images to sell

‘67% of consumers said the quality of a product image is ‘very important’ in selecting and purchasing a product’ – Jeff Bullas

If you are selling products on your site, it is essential that you provide as much imagery as possible to give consumers the best possible sense of how the product looks. Mix lifestyle shots in with product shots where appropriate, i.e. if you’re selling a piece of furniture, show the product on it’s own but also include it in a decorated room to give an impression of how it can enhance this space, or if you are selling clothing show this on a model styled with other items to show how it fits a real person rather than just shots on mannequins. Victoria Plum offer a range of product images including shots of the furniture in use:

Victoria Plum Product Image
Victoria Plum Product Image

With the absence of the ability to touch and feel the product, give customers the opportunity to see the product from every angle where possible – 360 photography can enable you to let consumers rotate the product to see every angle.

People buy for emotional reasons, so consider how you can appeal to users’ emotions when selling your products – especially if they are high value purchases. For example, holiday companies often include smiling couples or families in their photographs, appealing to consumers’ emotional attachments to the loved ones they will be taking the holiday with.

Be selective with stock photography

Stock photography can be extremely hit or miss – it can be utilised by companies who do not have the budget or resource to take photos in-house, but it can often be misused when cliché or inconsistent imagery is used.

If you need to use stock images, take some time to browse the resources available – there are a wealth of websites offering free and paid images, of varying quality. Sites such as Stocksnap contain free images supplied by photographers, which are much more creative than some of the other platforms providing generic images. Shutterstock is a great resource for paid imagery, with packages available to save you money when buying in bulk.

Consider using iconography or illustrations instead of photography if you are struggling to find good images. Moz have produced an illustrated mascot, and use attractive iconography across the site which consistently communicates their brand values:

Moz Iconography

Add team and company photos

Including images of the team can give your brand a face and personality online. Browsing online is in the most part an impersonal experience, so help your customers to connect with you by showing images of the people who own and work at the company. People buy from people, so this is an effective way to convey your company’s culture. At Creare we feature colourful images of our staff to communicate our brand personality:

Creare Team

Images of the office can also help to attract customers and potential new employees, by giving a sense of the environment you work in. This enhances the legitimacy of the business, and can be much more engaging on your ‘Contact Us’ or ‘About Us’ page than a generic stock image of a call centre worker.

Studies have shown that on average, over half of users spend less than 15 seconds on a website*. This gives you an extremely short window through which to communicate your message; follow these tips to ensure your imagery helps you to convert visitors into customers.


Image sources:

5 Ways Content Could Be Killing Your Website

5 Ways Content Could Be Killing Your Website

“Marketers allocate 28% of their total marketing budget, on average, to content marketing – the same percentage as last year. The most effective allocate 42, and the most sophisticated/mature allocate 46%” says the Content Marketing Institute. If we didn’t before, now we know that a strong content strategy is key to success. So, let’s look at the five ways in which your current content could be killing your website and your brand. Continue reading

5 Tips to Improve Customer Service with Inventory Control

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) released their 2014 Industry Customer Experience Benchmarks report, which showed that in the area of “Availability of Merchandise (inventory in stock)” retail department and discount stores’ average rate was 79, or a grade of “C+.” And “Website Satisfaction” was no better, coming in at 76 out of a possible 100.

Needless to say, there’s room for improvement. At the same time, within this space lies an opportunity to stand out above the crowd. For retailers to use their ability to deliver superior customer service to their competitive advantage. Along with employing friendly and knowledgeable staff, offering convenient operating hours, and delivering an efficient ecommerce experience, how well you control your inventory can play a key part in improving on your customer service offering.

  1. “In Stock” across all channels equals happy customers

You invest a lot of time and money to get customers to your store, whether it’s your brick and mortar shop or online. When they’re ready to buy, you need to deliver, because more often than not, they’ll not be back to give you another chance. To prevent sales loss and keep customers happy, it’s crucial that your merchandise availability is up to par. That you have the desired models, colors, and sizes in stock that people want to buy.

This is when you turn to a retail management platform to produce product sales reports that provide the intelligence on what, when, and how much you need to keep in stock to meet demand. Filter products by seasonal versus traditional stock, and factor in your supplier lead times. Setting pre-order quantities with your suppliers in advance will help to automate this process, so when your stock gets low, it automatically generates to purchase orders..

For multichannel suppliers, a cloud-based retail platform is especially vital in managing all these processes and more. With all your channels connected, your on hand inventory is reflected on each. When a customer has made a purchase on your eBay store, for example, inventory for that product(s) is updated and reflects automatically within your in-store, Amazon, and ecommerce inventory. For your online customers, they’ll see their desired item is in stock and ready to ship their way.

  1. Allocate stock to deliver on your order promise

Let’s now dive deeper into what happens after a sale. As an example, a customer has placed an order for a woman’s blue rain coat in medium on Amazon. A retail platform will then ‘earmark’ that particular raincoat in inventory, removing that quantity ordered from the ‘on hand’ inventory. This ensures it gets to that customer and isn’t sold to another customer. The blue raincoat is still technically ‘in stock’ because it sits in your warehouse. When the shipment is processed in the warehouse and the coat goes out the door, then the ‘in stock’ inventory level for that product is automatically updated.

This is also important for wholesalers. If a retail shop has ordered specific quantities of women’s raincoats in various sizes and colours, then stock is allocated for each based on that order. When those products arrive in your warehouse from your supplier, they’re already assigned for shipment to that retail store, enabling you to deliver on your promise and stay in good standing with your retail customer.

  1. Receive new orders promptly

While being expedient when it comes to shipping product to customers is centre to quality service, it’s as important to receive stock from suppliers quickly and efficiently. Relying on your retail platform’s inventory control system will help you keep everything straight – especially during times of receiving multiple deliveries from multiple suppliers simultaneously – while keeping your stock numbers accurate.

A smooth receipt process in place is also key for stock allocations, enabling a quick turnaround time from receipt to customer shipment. It also means that the quicker you record your receipts and stock levels are updated, the better able you are to meet demand.

  1. Process returns efficiently

An essential aspect to providing quality customer service is exceeding the customer’s needs and anticipating expectations. You can accomplish this by offering an expedient and smooth return policy and process, especially if they’ve ordered product online.

If your customer is returning a product for exchange, tracking that return from receipt of the item to the shipment of the new item can all be done within the retail platform. Keeping good control of your inventory levels ensures you have the item in stock that they do desire. Once the product is received back into inventory, it may be just what another customer desires, and is now ready to be sold.

  1. Drop ship with ease via direct inventory feeds

Sometimes there are items that just don’t sell on a consistent basis, so it doesn’t make sense to keep them in stock all the time. But you still like to offer them for sale since they complement your line. Drop shipping those items direct from the supplier to your customer may be a viable way to have your cake and eat it too. It allows for better service by offering a wider breadth of products, plus speedier delivery to the customer but without the overhead of keeping it in stock.

Having direct inventory feeds into your retail platform from your supplier enhances your ability to take advantage of drop shipping. It will reflect back into your system what your supplier has in inventory, which can then appear within your sales channel as available inventory to sell. If your supplier is out of stock, it also shows as out of stock to your customer until your supplier’s stock is once again available. This prevents you from selling products you can’t deliver.

Keep in mind that direct feeds typically update once a day, so keep a close eye on sales of product that are marked for drop shipping so you’re working with the most up-to-date inventory data.

In the highly competitive retail market, with customer’s ability to switch to another company at the drop of a feathered hat, keeping shoppers happy and coming back to your store is essential to your success.

These five tips will get you on your way to utilizing inventory best practices to increase customer satisfaction. To learn more download our free white paper “12 Tips for Taking Control of Inventory Control.”

This guest post was written by Brightpearl. Brightpearl are a partner of Creare who provide multichannel retail management software.

Tips for Improving Your Online Shop

Maintaining an online presence and an online shop is no longer a quirk of business or a tech-trend; it is a necessity for survival.

Between 2011 and 2013, UK shoppers spent an extra £23bn online, and forecasts predict that the share of online retail sales will rise from 2012’s figure of 12.7 per cent to 21.5 per cent or even higher by 2018.

The figures underline the reality that the way we shop is, if not going through a revolution, certainly experiencing a large-scale overhaul as digital business takes hold. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past fifteen years, you’ll know that retail success no longer depends on physical stores.

Below are a few guidelines to take into consideration to maximise the impact of your online store.

  1. Images for substance and sparkle

More than a visual of your product, images offset text to bring balance and a more professional look to your page. Graphics allow you to present product stats in a more engaging and animated way than prose permits. Analysing sales each time you upload product images can give you a good idea of which pictures work best for your webpage.

  1. Develop customer trust

Your online shop showcases your company’s image; so present your best side. Include customer testimonials to establish yourself as a reliable firm. Use genuine correspondence that outlines how your service has helped the buyer; a comment stating how your product has promoted or helped a client will go further than a message describing your product as “amazing”.

  1. Qualify yourself

Let readers know that you are the best company for them by outlining your credentials clearly. Highlight key skills and background information in bullet point form, or integrated into a stylish paragraph that introduces your company as a solution-holder for clients.

  1. Flag up special offers

Most people know the online domain holds the cheapest deals, so special promotions should be clearly displayed. Make customers know they’re getting a good deal, so incentivise with lower rates made available when a certain amount is spent. Keep the shopping cart near the top of your page, as users tend not to scroll down the page too far – make sure the checkout remains clear and easy to identify. Rewards points and loyalty schemes are great ways of giving customers a tangible reason to bring repeat business and spread the word about the benefits of spending money at your store.

  1. Customer segmentation, targeted promotions & merchandising

From gender and age to interests and spending habits, the behaviours that make your customers unique should be factored into your marketing. Consider what data you want to collect, how it will be gathered and develop methods of data analysis for segmentation. You should also establish effective communication among relevant departments in your business to use this segmentation to best effect. The process should enable you to target smaller preference-specific consumer groups with relevant information and merchandising so that individuals find what they are looking for quicker and more easily.

  1. Be open and honest

Without a human to speak to, measures need to be taken by your online store to make processes clear, thereby promoting customer confidence. Ensure charges are not hidden but remain highlighted throughout a transaction. The checkout path must be completely linear – without sub-steps going to a previously shown page – so that customers are not confused or left thinking that there has been an error on the site. Give priority to delivery/returns policy and procedure to make sure people know where they stand at all stages of the purchase.

  1. Log customer behaviour

Harness the Internet’s forensic potential for tracking. CRM applications is an example of customer service software that will let you see how much time has passed since a customer last visited your online shop, and what they bought. You will be able to use this knowledge to suggest other items or services, giving your customers a streamlined experience and a personalised feel.

  1. Build a subscription base

Forge and reward customer loyalty by establishing a subscription list through which you can launch your company’s latest news and float special offers. Simply cataloguing client emails will allow you to send notes of thanks in the follow up to purchases to enquire about customer satisfaction. Many companies now use text messages to convey this extra token of customer service that will make the buyer feel more involved, cared for and ultimately more likely to return for business in the future.

People are busier than ever and today’s customers know that if a service doesn’t meet their expectations they have multiple platforms for broadcasting it to the world before they go elsewhere for what they need. This concept is magnified online where your clients can disappear with a click of the mouse. Ensure that maximising the customer experience is top of your agenda to build a solid client base and stay ahead of the online competition.



Quantitative Inventory Optimisation: How To Anticipate Future Demand

There can be very few things more valuable to a small business than the ability to anticipate future demand and optimise their inventory accordingly. The goal is to hit the sweet spot between excessive amounts of stock at high storage costs and dangerously low levels risking an array of stock-out problems. Whilst this sounds simple, getting it right is far from easy.

Inventory forecasting is the data-driven method for future proofing your business. With the right tools in place, you can run your business at much higher levels of efficiency, accelerating your growth and profits.

There are multiple different methods for inventory and demand forecasting. Some rely on expert opinion, or ‘qualitative assessment,’ whilst others rely on data deduction, ‘quantitative’. The majority of large retail networks depend heavily on this statistical method of forecasting demand to optimise their stock levels.

A forecast is traditionally considered that which has 50% likelihood to be above or below the future demand as observed through sales. This sounds complex, but it is easily worked out by comparing the absolute difference between an original forecast and the actual demand observed later on.

Brightpearl and Lokad write that for all the forecasting your business may do, it is the stock levels themselves which are the true forecasts made by the business, since each stock level is itself a “direct anticipation of the future.”

So how can you make sure your physical inventory levels match the upcoming levels of demand? A good way to start is to get measuring.

It stands to reason that you can’t expect to improve your inventory efficiency without closely measuring it first. As we have established, your stock levels are a forecast in of themselves, so start here.

Once you look at what you’ve measured, you can begin to assess the quality of your forecasting. You could do this by calculating the actual amount lost (not the percentage lost) due to the inaccuracy of your anticipations.

In truth, it’s never as simple as this. Not least due to the problem of asymmetry when considering optimum inventory levels. The cost of not having enough stock to fulfil an order often far exceeds the cost of storing the extra stock, so companies which highly prioritise customer service will often over-stock to compensate.

In order to get around this problem, more diligent companies measure the adequacy of the stock levels against the target service levels (where those service levels implicitly represent the financial trade off between the cost of inventory and the cost of stock-outs), rather than against the actual cost.

But what about when it comes to reordering? Firstly, to avoid leaving reorder points to guess work (since they are quantile forecasts) you must keep a record. As we previously mentioned, you can only optimise what you measure.

You must be vigilant when taking into account ‘lead times’ – the amount of time between the placing of an order for stock and it becoming available to you – in order to hit the optimal reorder point. Reorder points must cover the entire lead time, because no stock can arrive sooner that this lead time. The total demand over the duration of the lead time is known as the lead demand.

Lokad and Brightpearl write: “the reorder point should only cover the lead demand but only with a certain probability as defined by the service level. If the service level is set at 95%, then reorder point should be as low as possible while maintaining 95% chance of being strictly larger than the lead demand.”

So by now we have recognised that reorder points can be interpreted as quantile forecasts, but we do not quite have the tools to measure the accuracy of these forecasts. Since certain quantile judgement has been used, classical accuracy formulas cannot be used to measure them. In this case, the pinball loss function could be used.

Whilst beyond the scope of this blog post (you can read about it here), essentially the pinball loss function provides you with an understanding of the relative values of different options with your inventory. It cannot be directly used to quantify company costs, but provides a great way to compare options.

So now you’re set up with the introductory knowledge you need to tackle the optimisation of your inventory. It’s no mean feat, and should be considered an ongoing process, but getting it right will set you apart from your competition. If you want to know more, check out this exceptional white paper “Quantitative Inventory Optimization: How to Anticipate Future Demand.”

Remember, be flexible and always be measuring.

This guest post was written by Brightpearl. Brightpearl are a partner of Creare who provide multichannel retail management software.


Stop being a slave to your inventory

Your inventory is a constantly changing beast. Every single day, factors ranging from new sales, receipts and returns, right through to damage and theft, have a powerful effect on your stock levels.

Whilst daunting, the ability to keep on top of it all as it happens is the most crucial defining character of a successful business trading online. Stop being a slave to your inventory, and come to terms with the importance of careful inventory tracking, before your competitors do.

Priority One = Your Customer

Call it a cliché but whether you’re in B2B or B2C, your customer is always priority one.

When a customer reports to you that they have not received their order, you’ll need to be able to quickly cross-check with your report to confirm you have extras in stock. Crucially too, if you are on top of your inventory you can identify and address incorrect shipments straight away, before they become a problem.

If your stock and systems are up to date with your purchase orders you will be able to sell with confidence, knowing what and when more stock is set to come in.

It is this strong communication which develops a relationship of trust with your customers, and this above all is key to the successful running of a retail business.

Excessive Storage Costs

Without a well managed inventory, your business is leaking time and money to inefficiency.

Running around looking for the last product or rechecking stock levels before a sale is not a smart way for your warehouse staff to be spending their time. You are slowing processes down, adding manual steps, and opening yourself up to errors as you become a slave to your inventory.

When you have an up-to-date inventory report, you know what you have in stock, and what you don’t. Your pick, pack and ship process will run more smoothly, and you’ll get more fluidity of stock from through your warehouse and out to the customers.

A properly managed inventory enables you to process more orders in the same amount of time with the same staff. Having accurate stock levels and streamlined warehouse processes keeps your business lean, getting you free of the chokehold a mismanaged inventory can have on your business.

The Purchase Order Process

Wherever you are wasting time on manual processes is an area in which you can strengthen your business. Purchase orders are no exception.

Instead of physically checking your shelves to form a purchase order, you should establish an automation of your re-order system. Set up low-stock notifications on your inventory management database, or use a more advanced system to automatically send-off purchase orders to your suppliers when stock hits a certain low-point.

With tidy and well managed inventory processes, re-ordering and receiving stock is as easy as a few clicks, leaving you with more time to focus on other elements of your business. It also gives you a smarter insight into how your product lines are doing, allowing you to really optimise your inventory.

With a more advanced inventory management system, you often have the ability to view any supplier details which could cause complications further along, such as long lead times, or irregular deliveries. This kind of information will transform your re-ordering process, and elevate your business efficiency.

These are just a few of the many ways that you’ve been held back by your inventory management, and some suggestions to help you regain control. For an extensive collection of solutions, check out the industry-leading white paper by Brightpearl: “10 Reasons Accurate Inventory Tracking Matters.”

This guest post was written by Brightpearl. Brightpearl are a partner of Creare who provide multichannel retail management software.