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In 2010, through a series of interesting events, I was offered a part-time job with our local flower shop. One of the first things I learned is that a good portion of a flower shop’s business comes from online orders. Given that most of us have the internet always at our fingertips, it makes sense, right? Well, what I didn’t realize at the time was that there are different situations one will encounter when ordering flowers online. This was a quick and necessary lesson for me to learn because it’s information that any good florist should pass along to its customers.
There are three basic online ordering experiences.
The first thing people will encounter when they search for a flower shop online is a list of order gatherers. They’re usually at the top of one’s search results and are often in the form of Ads.
The Ads and websites are professionally done and look like good, legitimate florists. They even use phrases like, “Over twenty years experience in the flower industry,” or, “Taking care of your flower needs since 1923,” or whatever. Now, their claims are probably true. But what they aren’t telling you is that they’re most likely not florists. They are order gatherers.
What an order gatherer does is, well, gather orders, Meaning, you look at their website, see pictures of beautiful bouquets, find one you love, order it and trust that your recipient will receive what you paid for.
But what really happens is that these companies take your order and then call florists in the city or town in which you’re having flowers sent to. They aren’t located in the city or town where your recipient lives.
When they contact your recipient’s local florist, they give the florist the vital information (your recipient’s name, address, phone number, etc.) and then they say something like, “The sender would like a mixed bouquet valued at $100, but we have $75 for you.”
What does that mean? Well, it means that you just paid $100 plus a delivery fee, most likely a handling fee, and sales tax (so around $140) for a bouquet that the order gatherer expects the florist to make and deliver for $75! The $65 difference stays with the order gatherer. Now, these aren’t exact numbers and are used as an example but it is a real scenario.
The other types of websites you might encounter are the ones who will ship the flowers to your recipient. These companies are usually actually sending the flowers out but what you may not realize is that these flowers will not be arranged. They will be cut flowers that arrive in a box and usually don’t include a vase.
My daughter once received one of these “bouquets”. When the flowers arrived, she called me and said, “Mom, I have no idea what to do with these!” Her boyfriend had no idea when he ordered them that this would be the case. Poor guy! Luckily, she had a vase and was able to trim the ends and put them in some water. But they certainly didn’t look like the picture that PaleMark had seen online!
Who knew that ordering flowers online would be so convoluted, right?
Well, it doesn’t have to be! Ordering flowers online is pretty simple, actually!
The best way to do it is to type “florist” into your search engine along with your recipient’s postal zip code. In most search engines, the legitimate flower shops will show up on the page either in a list format or with a map layout. You want to scroll past the ones with Ads and any that sound like chain stores. If you aren’t sure about one, click on it and look around. Are the photos stock photos? Does their “about” section feel too corporate, generic or over the top?
Actual flower shops have unique and personal names.
When you see one that sounds real, click on it. You should be able to see pictures of their own floral designs. There might be stock photos on their website but you will most likely notice that the website has some sort of a personal touch and their “about” pages feel and sound like real people.
When you order direct from a local florist, you’re ensuring that you will actually get what you paid for, you will save yourself some money and you will be supporting a locally owned business!
Now that you know the best way to order flowers online, visit our local florist’s website and take a look at what we do! And yes, the pictures featured here are, indeed, real photos from a real flower shop!