This post is dedicated to explaining the mechanics of your transaction when ordering flowers online from an order gatherer.
The original post where I started the conversation can be found here.
What is an order gatherer?
Simply defined it is an entity that portrays itself as a florist when in fact they most likely have never touched a flower and most likely are not floral designers. More importantly they do not have the depth of knowledge a local florist has or the knowledge of the mechanics as it relates to arranging flowers, an education and an art in itself. An order gatherer will portray themselves as such but in reality it is an office with lots of computers, a catchy toll free phone number and a website that has been heavily invested in both visually and behind the scenes so that when you search for a local florist to order flowers online they show up front and center.
Many florists belong to wire services and the many I speak with describe them as a "necessary evil." The relationship between these wire services and independent florists has changed drastically over the years, from a collaborative friendship where one needed each other to one where each became a competitor to one another. The wire services, FTD, Teleflora, and Bloomnet, the latter created by 1800Flowers, are a clearing house and this is what I'm setting out to educate you about; the monetary workings of them and how it affects you.
So what happens when you engage in a transaction with an order gatherer when ordering flowers online?
Assuming you are a particular shopper and want only the best in fresh flowers, and design, the biggest loss is exactly that, a compromise in quality and value You have entered into a sales transaction with a middle man. You are not making a purchase at the point of sale; it is passing through the hands of another entity first. And because this is the case the middleman takes their percentage leaving the florist filling this order with less of your funds. This translates into something that is...well, less.
When your purchase is made with a local florist your fresh arrangement is funded with all of your money. A $100 arrangement is worth $100. This is not the case when dealing with an order gatherer. The middle man keeps 20% of the value leaving the local florist they find to fill the order with $80 to work with. Did you see what happened there?
Now what is the professional florist to do when they receive this order from the order gatherer? The florist has choices but let me first tell you an experience I had years ago. I purchased another flower shop years ago. During the process we were allowed a glimpse into their operation and found that it would be a perfect fit. What I came across on one of their bulletin boards in the design room made my jaw drop. It simply read "Deduct 20% off of all incoming orders from wire services." This goes against all agreements that a professional florist enters into to be a member of a wire service. In essence this shop was reducing the value of the arrangement by 20%
The flowers you ordered online, valued at $100, with the order gatherer is sent to a local florist to be filled. When the order is received the value on the order reads $100 but the actual value is $80. The florist has some options and I'll post about those in the next blog as well as what some of these order gatherers charge just to process an order for you.
In my next post I finish the conversation in the hopes of educating one who values a smart purchase.
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