RESIST disappointment! (Order your flowers online like a pro) February 08 2017, 0 Comments
Valentine’s day is coming, and if Tuesday the 14th finds you away from your sweetheart (or finds your sweetheart trapped at the office) you might order flowers online.
If you don’t know much about sending flowers, or about flowers at all, this can be intimidating. We’ve all seen those social media posts on February 15: a photo of a lush bouquet on the left, with the caption ‘What I ordered,’ and a sad, wilting bouquet on the right, with the caption ‘what I got’.
You don’t want this to happen to you. And neither do I! As a florist, I spend way more time than you researching flowers and florists online. Check out my tips to help you send the best possible flowers!
1. RECON. Find out your recipient's favourite flowers or colours, or find out if there’s a flower they hate, and add a note to your order at checkout. Are they the ‘two dozen long stemmed red roses’ type, or would they love a bunch that looks like field-picked wildflowers? Do strong scents irritate them? A little observation goes a long way! (Mothers, housemates, and friends can usually give you good advice.)
You don't need to know the names of flowers to place your order. Notes at checkout like 'no sticks', 'no yellow', or 'no weird dangly leaves, please' are great!
If you don’t see anything that matches your personality or budget online, call the florist directly to find out about order minimums and custom orders. You can always request ‘designers choice’ - you name your price, we create something lovely that suits your budget. We’re here to make you look good.
2. RESIST THE ORDER GATHERERS Basically, skip the paid google ads. I just googled ‘florists in Kingston ON’ and checked out the paid ads. Half were for actual florists in town, but I only know this because I am a florist in town. The rest of the links were for order gatherers. Order gatherers are the worst thing about the floral industry, and most customers don’t even know they exist!
Order gatherers advertise online and have websites and toll free lines where you can order flowers. But they are NOT florists. They are call centres. And most of them aren’t even in Canada. 1-800-flowers? JustFlowers? Flowershopping.com? IT’S A TRAP!
Order gatherers take your order and your money, take a cut off the top (typically 20%) and then shop your order around to florists in your destination town.
Say you’re in Winnipeg and want to send some flowers to your fiancee in Kingston. You google ‘send flowers in Kingston’ and find an ad for $10 off with flowershopping.com. A discount on Valentine's Day? CHA CHING! SOLD.
You order something valued at $100, but pay $90 with the special. They subtract their fee. You’re now really working with $72. The order gatherer starts calling florists in Kingston, trying to place their lowball order worth $100 retail for $70. We have to subtract local taxes and delivery fees from this already reduced amount. Less bang for your buck. ZERO chance of your order looking anything like the picture.
Most of us will hang up on flowershopping.com and your order will bounce around from shop to shop being rejected all day. Because it's Feb 14 and we are losing our minds filling actual orders for actual value for actual customers. Order gatherers suck! RESIST!
3. USE THE MAP. I love google maps, as I can find the closest flower shops to my destination address. Spend more money on flowers, less money on delivery! If I’m not 100% sure an online florist is legit, I use google maps street view to see if there’s a brick and mortar shop (Once I chose a florist in Quebec because there was a street view photo of a customer leaving her shop with a beautiful bouquet!)
4. ONLINE CREEPING. Er, RESEARCH. Many florists who are members of FTD or Teleflora will have identical websites, as a standard catalogue of photos and a hosted website is included with your membership. The standard catalogues are often used by order gatherers, but that doesn’t mean every florist who uses one IS an order gatherer. Confusing?
You may need to dig a little deeper on these to ensure they’re legit and see their actual work. Do they have a street address prominently featured on the site? Do they have a blog or facebook page where you can check out their shop and style and photos of their arrangements? Do their reviews seem realistic vs. cranked out for pay (are they written by different people on different dates? Are there anecdotes about customer service at the shop?)
4. Order away! Call in if you have questions, have a specific budget, or need a specific flower. Order online if you’re less particular. AND FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY PLEASE DO IT BEFORE 7PM ON THE 14TH, OR WE WILL BE CRANKY.
Obviously, as a small independent florist I’m biased in favour of contacting florists directly instead of using FTD or Teleflora apps etc. But there are also benefits for you as a customer:
-You’re paying for your order at realistic local prices
-All of your money is going towards your order
-All of your money is staying in your recipient’s local economy
-And most importantly, in the event you have a question or problem with your order, you can contact someone in the same building as your flowers, who genuinely cares about your flowers, and who cares about their business reputation and customer satisfaction year round.
Bonus- they won’t be on a headset in San Viejo California, fielding irate phone calls and wishing to be anywhere else on Feb 15.
Happy Valentine’s and happy flower ordering, lovebirds!