09 February 2010
Local Florists vs Online Florists
Kudos to Bob Sullivan of MSNBC for his well written article about online flower companies' low-ball flower prices loaded with hidden fees: Online Flower Prices Still Grow and Grow.
you study hidden fees and price distortions for a living, Valentine's
Day is your Super Bowl. Can you name another industry where the true
price of an item is routinely more than double the advertised price?
Yet that's precisely what you'll encounter this week"
Uh-huh, the marketing practices do smell really bad - and leave shoppers paying more for less.
And every year we read the pages of post-holiday complaints that fill consumer review sites. No doubt, this year will be the same, if not worse, due to the weekend holiday and its delivery issues.
When last I checked, there were 126 comments to Mr. Sullivane's article: some from consumers, some from obvious shills and many from local florists. One comment really inspired me to write this post and it came from a person who claims to have worked for one of the online compaines:
"I worked both sales and customer service. We do try to offer products
that of high quality for a reasonable price. However, we are at the
mercy of the local florist that we contract with to do the order as
You have got to be kidding me. "at the mercy of local florists"? She has it entirely backwards. Due to the marketing clout of that online company, local florists often feel at the mercy of her former company - with photos of arrangements that cannot be made 'as shown' in real flower shops - which is why local florists have been quitting the network at a speedier pace.
During this 'no service charge' advertising period of the Valentine's holiday, many of these local florist affiliates will only be paid about $30 to make and hand-deliver $50 consumer purchases - as mandated by the company. Decline to fill the orders for those prices and florists can and will be cut off from most future orders. Now who is at whose mercy?
The corporate side of most flower affiliate marketing isn't much different than the commenter (ex-employee) to the MSNBC article - top-down with little feedback from local affiliates - it's just they don't post their contempt.
Will the low-priced deals be enough to lure shoppers? For a glimpse at a consumer perspective, read this recent post from the Orange County Register's OC Deals Blog: What Do You Think About 1-800-Flowers?
Bottom line: go direct, go local, save loads of fees (service fee, handling fee, relay fee, same-day fee, rush delivery fee) and get what you purchased without all the small print about substitutions and all the credit card slam scams.
Know who's really delivering your flowers without all the smoke and mirrors and get a pretty Valentine's Day arrangement delivered - as promised - at a good value. :)
If you would like to receive an email when updates are made to this post, please register here
Subscribe to this post's comments using
Comment Policy: No HTML allowed. URIs and line breaks are converted automatically. Your e–mail address will not show up on any public page.