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September 25, 2020


The Surprising Truth About Buying Flowers Online

September 25, 2020

There’s an old commercial advertising trick where a burger is roasted for just a few seconds to stay large and juicy, and grill marks are colored in with shoe polish. It makes the grill marks look perfect, and the burger looks delicious.

But does the burger ever look as good in person?

And why am I telling you any of this?

Well, have you ever been disappointed buying flowers online? Have you ever seen a bouquet you thought looked beautiful online but looked mediocre when it was delivered?

There’s a big reason why.

Order Gatherers.

An Order Gatherer is a company that takes floral orders online, sends them to a local florist, and profits off being the middleman. Essentially, they run ads and take profits away from local florists by charging them for the referral.

Who are you really buying from?

Say you’re trying to find flowers for your mom, but she lives in Poughkeepsie, NY and you live in Chicago, IL.

You Google “florists in Poughkeepsie, NY.” You see a list of results that all include “Poughkeepsie,” so they all must be good options, right?

You say to yourself, “XYZ Florist Poughkeepsie is the top result, has 4/5 stars, is offering free delivery, and 45% off? Perfect.”

You may not even notice where it says “AD” next to their listing… the first clue!

You click their link, land on their homepage, and see a huge banner advertising to Poughkeepsie.

Great! You must be ordering local AND getting a great deal, right? Not so fast.

Just for the sake of argument, try searching for “florists in Albany, NY.” Or better yet, try “florists in Fairbanks, Alaska” and check out the results.

Anything look familiar?

Wait, what?! XYZ Flowers is not only in Albany but also in Fairbanks?

Wow. Must be quite a floral enterprise!

In fact, what you’ve found is an Order Gatherer.

The truth is that Order Gatherers are usually just call centers, taking in orders from around the world, taking a cut, and then sending the meager remains to a local florist to create your product.

Order Gatherers ruin buying flowers.

You might see a beautiful arrangement listed for $34.99.
You say to yourself, “Those look perfect! What a great deal!”

As you go through checkout, you start to see the cost increase.

There are fees for delivery, for service, a wire fee, taxes, and then suddenly, before you know it, your $34.99 is now $68.99.

You’re discouraged, but at this point, you’ve already committed the time, so you decide to go through with the purchase because the image of the bouquet was what you were looking for.

What happens after you complete the purchase?

The Order Gatherer now finds a local florist in the recipient’s area, gives the florist the order information, and hopes that they will fulfill your order.

At the bottom of your order is a very specific flower “recipe” your florist must use and a specific amount they will receive to make the arrangement.

This dollar amount has to cover all of the florist’s expenses: flowers, vase, delivery, and labor. And remember, the Order Gatherer you actually paid has already taken 30% or more off the top.

The result?

Your recipient could get an arrangement that’s smaller than you originally selected and might not even look like the product you selected.

You see, the florist needs to try to salvage as much as they can to turn some sort of profit (if any). Plus, since you ordered from another website (not their own), the products advertised may not be anything they actually carry.

Middlemen don’t make great bouquets… they just make bouquets cost more.

To put this plainly:

You order a bouquet on a site that costs $34.99.

After fees and tax, it costs $68.99.

The Order Gatherer sends your order to a local florist, where they are given a budget of $34.99 (at most) to cover the cost of your entire order in total (flowers, vase, delivery, labor).

All those extra fees that got added on top? Those go straight to the Order Gatherer. You get nothing in return.

So you end up with an arrangement that looks like a $10 bouquet, rather than a $68.99 bouquet.

You’re not happy, and guess what? Your local florist isn’t either.

Why is this bad for florists?

After all these expenses, florists end up losing money on nearly every online sale. Typically, they end up collecting 70% or less of the original sale. This results in below-average quality products that are rushed and tarnishes their reputation.

Why is this bad for you?

Bottom line—you’re paying more and getting less, all while supporting Order Gatherers who are putting local florists out of business.

So, what can you do about it?

Now more than ever before is the time to support your local florist by buying directly from them to ensure you’re getting the freshest flowers and that the full amount you’re spending is going toward your floral design.

“Yes! I want to do that, but how?”

  1. Google the business name to see if a real website and street address come up.
  2. Search the delivery location on Google Maps to see which real florist locations appear.
  3. Check to see if the business has Google reviews as well as Yelp reviews.

Also, florist-direct marketplaces like Lovingly support local florists by eliminating over-the-top fees and giving value back to you and the florist.

Buy from local florists to get the best bouquet value.

Make the juicy burger from the commercial a reality.