Finding an Online Florist

June 24th, 2010

Finding an online florist can be difficult.  It’s not only the price you should be concerned about but the quality of the flowers you are purchasing.  Which brings up the issue of how your online florist does business.  Typically, an online florist is either a drop shipper or an order fulfillment service.  What is the difference?

A drop shipping online florist is one who takes your flower order, routes it to a grower or supplier of flowers, who then boxes your flowers up and ships them via UPS or Fedex.  The advantage of this model is cheaper flowers.  Generally, huge suppliers offer large volume discounts to your online florist who then passes the savings on to you.

The disadvantage however, is that flowers shipped in a box generally don’t look anything at all like the nicely arranged flowers you see in the photos when purchasing online.  The receiver will have to take the flowers out of the box and manually arrange the flowers into the vase themselves.  Another issue is that UPS or Fedex often make delivery mistakes.  Your flowers could ultimately end up at the wrong address, smashed in the box, or simply left on the doorstep in the scorching sun, torrential downpour, or freezing temperatures.  Not to mention that most of the price advantages of buying from a drop ship online florist can disappear in exorbitant  shipping and handling charges.

On the other hand, an order fulfillment online florist is one who passes your online flower order to a floral “wire service.”  The wire service then contacts a local florist who then fills the order and makes the delivery.  The advantages of this type of service is that flowers are delivered fully arranged and not left on the doorstep in poor weather.  The disadvantage is that the online florists generally charges a service fee of $8 to $15 an order and that the local florist fulfilling your order may get substantially less than what you paid to fill the order.  For example, if you were to pay $50 for a flower arrangement from an online florist it could be that the local florist only receives $30 in order to fill  your order.  Had you simply called the local florist yourself, you would only have had to pay $30 for the order.

However, it is not really practical for most people to shop by phone.  You can’t see any photos of the product and oftentimes the quality and delivery guarantees from a local flower shop isn’t as good as one from an established online florist.  Also, if you don’t live near the delivery area it can be difficult to source a quality florist who will deliver when and where you want over the phone.   Sometimes there isn’t even a local florist in the area you want to deliver to.   Buying from an online florist eliminates most of these hassles.

Online florists offer many advantages and disadvantages, not only between different business models but as compared to shopping at a local florist.  Knowing about these differences beforehand can save a lot of time, hassle, and money.

Online Flower Shopping Advantages

June 24th, 2010

Shopping for flowers online has made flower buying faster, more convenient, and easier. No longer do you have to worry about local florists not having what you want in stock, or dealing with limited selection and outlandish prices.  Ever try to buy roses at the local supermarket on Valentines day?  Or  Mother’s day?  The prices can be outrageous because chances are they are low on stock and they know you need those flowers today!  The local florist also has to pay rent on a brick and mortar store, hire employees, and many other overhead expenses which end up being passed on to the consumer.

Have you also tried price shopping locally?  It could take hours to drive around the city going from florist to florist in order to get the best price, or at the least one that is within your budget.  Shopping online makes price shopping for different flowers and arrangements quite painless and easy.  Some large online shops also offer coupon discounts which can easily be found at sites such as www.fatwallet.com or www.deals.com which can reduce the price of your purchase even further.

Another advantage of buying flowers online is that most online florists remember you and send friendly email reminders whenever a birthday, anniversary, or holiday comes up.  This way, you can avoid the embarrassment of forgetting that special occasion.

I’m sure a lot of us can also relate to the hassles of transporting flowers home in your car.  Often, flower shops don’t have any easily transportable vases or packaging, leaving the consumer to drive home precariously holding their flowers in one hand trying to prevent the vase from tipping over and spilling dirty water all over the interior of the car or being smashed.  The ordeal only gets worse when trying to hide flowers overnight from an overly curious roommate, spouse, or loved one.  With online flower shopping however, you can arrange for timed delivery to nearly any location days, weeks, or even months in advance without having to worry about forgetting to remember that special occasion.

Given all these benefits, it’s no surprise that many people today choose to shop online when purchasing or buying flowers.  In fact the market for online flower shops is huge, making the decision of where to buy from even more difficult.  However, that is a topic for another day.

Flowers – Give the Gift of a Smile

June 24th, 2010

We always hear the phrase “say it with flowers.”  Nothing could be more true.  For a rather modest cost these days, we can express our love for family and friends through the simple gift of flowers.  Whether it’s a single rose or a gorgeously crafted bouquet it is almost always guaranteed to bring a smile to a loved one’s face.

Unlike gift cards or cash,  flowers communicate something special.  There are a wide assortment of flowers and arrangements for every occasion, from anniversaries to birthdays, to get well soon, to weddings and holidays.  A gift card from Starbucks or WalMart can’t possibly communicate the special joy and love of an event like flowers can, nor can they be specifically tailored to the event.  Unlike flowers, giving a gift card simply says that you didn’t take the time to consider the nature and importance of the occasion.

Most women can remember the first time a man sent them flowers.  Although they may often forget many other events throughout their lives this special event is memorable.  Why is this?  Perhaps it is because flowers on a subconscious level communicate more than other gifts.  Traditionally, flowers have been associated with love, affection, and celebration throughout many cultures going back thousands of years.  Or perhaps because on a subconscious level the beauty and scent of a flower arrangement trigger deep emotional feelings.  Either way, when someone receives flowers from a loved one it is rarely a gift that is forgotten!

Buying flowers today is even easier than before.  There are usually dozens of local florists in every city across the nation.  Most California cities for example have a wide selection of local florists to choose from.  For those who don’t have time to shop locally, buying online can also be a very rewarding experience.  Most online florists send reminders to help busy, hard working individuals remember those special holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays.  Buying flowers online is also more convenient, especially if you are trying to track down a rare flower or looking for a unique arrangement that can’t be found locally.

No matter where you buy your flowers, remember that giving the gift of flowers is almost always rewarded with a smile.  If you can’t think of a good birthday or anniversary gift idea, flowers is a safe, affordable, and rewarding choice.  And the best part is, you know that your gift won’t be returned or re-gifted for another occasion.