You Are Always Better Off With A Local Florist
<Note: This is a reprint of a post we made on another blog in 2005>
Duncan McAlynn had a bad experience with FTD for Valentine's Day. We understand the emotional nature of what we do, and feel for his plight. We want to take a little space to answer some of what he had to avoind someone else repeating his experience.
How can local florists decide their own pricing when they join a network that advertises products at a set price?
We are all independent business, affected by our own labor rates, cost of goods, utilities, etc. This isn't the fault of the florists, but rather the outdated business model being used by FTD. FTD has to set prices based on a guess and a small survey of florists in major markets. Our red roses were $55.99 + $4.50 delivery, and our colored roses were $39.99 + $4.50 delivery ($7.50 if you ordered on Monday, all roses long stemmed, but sometimes arranged in modern short styles), but another florist across town was $75 + delivery.
>Since when is $60 not enough for a dozen MEDIUM stem (not even long stem) roses?
Here's a small tip: most florists don't stock different lengths of roses anymore. The average rose stem in a flower shop is 50-60cm long. Longer roses are usually used for special event pieces. If you want the long stems delivered, order ahead, and ask the florist to be sure they get at least 80 cm stem length. The more contemporary designs have very short stems (like http://www.bloomery.com/detail.asp?product_id=TF68-3), though. However, if you like the long stem look (similar to http://www.bloomery.com/detail.asp?product_id=TF31-2), stick around for a few years--it'll be back. The longer the stem, the higher its wholesale cost (if you've ever grown roses, you'll know why).
Looking at Duncan's order, we think this may have been part of the problem--FTD was selling an item simply not available at that florist for that price. Also, that $11.99 “service fee“ is not paid to the florist. FTD.COM keeps that, too. We've always considered that a rip-off. The Internet greatly lowers costs, yet they tack on $11.99 to take an order that costs pennies to process? Ordering from us is free--put the 12 bucks toward the flowers, and give your girls a better surprise. Duncan didn't pay $60 for the roses--he only paid $48, which would have been a nice dozen of mixed colors, but wouldn't have gotten red ones delivered. It maddens us that FTD sticks on that fee, because it significantly increases the total order cost, and reduces the value of what you get.
Here's another tip: If you order through FTD.COM, we get paid 73% of the order (FTD keeps 27%, in addition to the $11.99 fee). If you order from us with a credit card, we get paid 97% of the order. When it comes to crunch time, guess which orders get priority? That was a trick question--at our shop, we don't differentiate between “wire orders“ (we are still members of Teleflora) and credit card orders. But we know shops that do.
>FTD isn't worth the bother
We have to agree, and this is one reason why we quit both FTD and 1-800-FLOWERS several years ago. The Internet has devestated their business model of guessing pricing and poor service. For the best service, skip FTD.COM and Google for a florist.
We know there are a lot of people who have some trepidation ordering from a business they don't know. You can use both FTD [dot] COM and teleflora [dot] com to find florists in the destination. Teleflora's findaflorist.com links directly to the local websites of its member florists, and you can also Google for that business. If you order directly through a local florist, and are unhappy with the style or quality, contact that florist directly very soon after the flowers are delivered (in an age where even the phones have cameras, you should be able to see the results in due time). Any good florist will offer to make it right. If they don't to your satisfaction, consider using another florist instead of writing off flowers alltogether. When you find one that you like, stick with them. They'll appreciate the business, and you know you'll be able to trust.
We have repeat customers who call the shop, and all they have to say is “This is Pat, I need some flowers sent to Ann today. Thanks.” That's the entire conversation. Our business customers skip the phone and website entirely, and just e-mail us directly with the order particulars. It takes several orders to build this relationship, and communication is important.