“Does the flower arrangement match the internet photo?” asked ABC Television’s “The Lookout” recently in a piece entitled “Full Bloom: Online Flower Purchases”. The piece caused quite a stir within the flower business because it addressed head-on a concern of locally-owned, independent florists, like Bussey’s Florist – the rapid growth of online order gatherers posing as local florist.
With growing awareness among consumers regarding the benefits of shopping locally, the piece was timely. When we spend money with locally-owned businesses, most of that money goes right back into the community. Shopping locally strengthens the community by creating jobs and building the tax base which leads to better schools, more recreational opportunities, and an overall improved quality of life.
We all would agree that the advent of the internet changed the way the world works forever — in mostly positive ways. However the internet has also opened the door for businesses that are less than scrupulous to prey on unsuspecting consumers. Regretfully, the flower business has fallen victim to some of these questionable practices through vultures known to the trade as ‘order gatherers’.
What exactly is an order gatherer? In the floral trade it is an online company that gathers orders for floral deliveries and distributes them to fulfillment centers via some type of distribution channel. While perfectly legal, these organizations often disguise themselves as local florists and do not disclose handling fees and other charges that are a part of the total purchase price.
How does this happen? Say you go online to send flowers to your grandmother who lives in upstate New York. You select a lovely bouquet, fill out the form, pay the $75.00 and the gift is on its way. Grandma is getting a beautiful $75 bouquet, right? Not exactly. The gathering organization failed to mention that they were keeping a $15.95 handling fee and $10.00 delivery charge for themselves, leaving the local florist who fills the order a total of $49.05 to design and hand-deliver your $75.00 bouquet. Assuming a local delivery fee of $10.00, that’s $39.05 worth of flowers being delivered to Grandma on your behalf.
As a second generation florist, I can’t bear to see unsuspecting consumers treated this way. Earlier this year our company, Bussey’s Florist, made the decision to cancel our membership in national wire services that make this activity possible. Goodbye, FTD. So Long, Teleflora. When you receive a bouquet from Bussey’s Florist rest assured that your order is filled to value 100% and then some.
At Bussey’s Florist, we have invested in a beautiful website to assist our customers, and later this summer we will launch an app for your smartphone to make ordering even easier. We embrace the greatness of technology and even have a new delivery management program that sends immediate delivery confirmations to our customers. But, you will never find us soliciting business from an order gatherer.
Check out the video below and let us know what you think.
We embrace doing business locally in Rome and Cedartown. When you shop with us you help to create jobs for your friends and neighbors. We are able to support our local mechanic to keep our delivery vehicles on the road. We support local schools, and pay our fair share in taxes to help keep the community strong. Plus, by shopping locally, you get a lot more bang for your buck.
See you around town!