There was a time when your local flower shop was the only way for you to send flowers down the street or across the world. So many things have changed with that process and that is what we would like to talk about today.
Are you used to speaking with a knowledgeable person when contacting a flower shop? If so, you are probably in touch with your local florist, or one you have established a trusted relationship with. This will not be the case if you are ordering from what the floral industry calls, an ‘order taker. To explain this further, let’s talk about the differences.
The difference between a local flower shop with an online presence and an order taker can be quite telling. When searching for a shop on Google for example, and you enter the name of your town and flowers, the entries listed first will have a description as such, “Send Fresh Flowers from Local Kalamazoo florist today! Free delivery by Top Ranked Local Florist in Kalamazoo! There are several, Ava’s, Flowershopping.com, Sympathy Store, just to name a few. None of these are a flower shop, and if they do have a location, it is simply to have a place for employees to man the phones and computers. The prices charged on these sites have a standard value that a primary wire service provider has set, not taking into account the difference in areas that may have to price differently due to the cost of doing business; rising gas prices, insurance, etc.
When you choose an online-only flower shop, they will offer the moon! Coupons, special offers, enter a special code are a few of the things they will entice you with. They also have a way of deceiving you into thinking they are local. You may or may not have your order sent directly from their warehouse in a box through a delivery company. If you order an item that can’t be sent in this manner, they will contact a florist in the area for delivery after charging a processing fee before sending to a local florist. When we receive an order like this, the amount given will be less than what we are able to fill the order with, which requires us to send a message requesting more money to cover the order. Often, a response back will be ‘Please fill to value’ which does not leave enough money to fill the order to the specifications that the customer is expecting, making what is sent a disappointment to the customer and recipient. So we reject the order and they will send to another florist in hopes that they will fill their order.
Upon ordering from a local floral shop, whether it is through our website or over the phone, you may establish an idea of what you would like to send, what flowers or plants may be available or in season, and price. They will help guide you while you make your decision. After deciding on that, there is a card message to compose, getting the recipients to address and phone number, followed up by customer information. (sequence of entry may or may not be in the aforementioned order). The flower shop will then process your order for delivery on the day requested or if your order is for out of town delivery, they will then contact a floral shop in that area. No extra fees for taking your order.
Most flower shops and their imposters subscribe to a wire service, Teleflora or FTD, to use as the directory of floral shops across the country, with information of pricing, delivery charges, and the ability to correspond with each other when needed. Not only are monthly dues incurred for this but charges for each order, correspondence, and the wire service take 20% of the amount along with the sending florist getting a cut of 7% of each order, leaving the delivering florist with 27% less than the actual order is for.
While we send orders to other “real” florists for our clients, the only fee charged is a minimal amount for the transaction & care of finding a qualified florist and sending your order. If you choose to order from one of the “order takers”, take the time call them directly to ask them what flowers are in the arrangement you have requested and you will hear them reading from a script.
So….don’t forget, for quality, care, and knowledgeable help, Call your local florist.