15 March, 2008

Floral Ethics

There is Ethics attached to the business of flowers. When I heard this first time, the only thing that struck my mind was that it must be something related to the Floral arrangements and colour. Which is to say that ethics are to be followed in sending a particular colour to an occassion only. Like white flowers on a funeral which would resemble peace. But the meaning did not get completely absorbed by my untrained brain and I kept on thinking over it as to what it really did mean.

It was only yesterday when my friend sent me a link for the BBC coverage of the Valentines day that I really got to know its meaning. And I must day that the meaning was deep and needs particular attention and religious consideration.

One serious concern being addressed to, these days, all across the nations around the world is that of Green Environment. This became famous recently by the potentially hazarduous effects Ozone depletion and the causes attached to it are being considered particularly with high priority. For the same reason, airlines across the world are facing a major problem at hand. To turn Green.

Secondly, the sustainability of any kind of development is also being kept in mind with the foundation & initiation of any major or minor project. Sustainability accounts for a development that can sustain for as long as the human race. The word gained popularity when people started facing major issues related to their daily lives and the government realised the economic setback that would be led if its not quickly and rationally handled.

Ethical flowers means just that. So when you send a gift to someone or when you receive one, how many times do you think about the process involved behind the production of the gift and the series of (perceived coincidences) events that lead those gift to land in your lap? At least I do not very often give it a thought. The only thing that matters is did the gift make me happy? And in 9 out of 10 cases it does. Ethical flowers is a perception for people to understand the production of flowers in a sustainable environment which would drive you to buy flowers which have been grown keeping the environment green. The BBC coverage of ethical flowers explained as to how this could degrade the environement. The coverage case studied the flowers being sold in UK on the Valentines day and observed where they were actually brought from. And in what conditions they were basically grown.

The two countries in focus were Holland and Kenya. While in Holland, the flowers are grown in an artificially heated Green House, Kenya does intensive Farming of Roses. The process adopted in Holland had a sustainable degree attached to it since it is not at all harming the environment in any sense and using minimal resources to do so. Thus, keeping the environment green and sustainable. Kenya, on the other hand, owing to intensive huge farms was found to degrade the soil and environment due to such a farming procedure and there were some serious water concerns too. Thus it has followed a non-sustainable and anti-green approach towards the cultivation.

Now, BBC went upon asking people about what they think of the Flowers being grown and their purchase. The cusotmers seemed to be indifferent of wherever they grow as long as it brings smile to their faces. And even if it doesn't nobody actually cares about the procedure being followed towards their farming. However, on asking experts, they suggested to buy the roses from Holland which have a Green Tag attached just to be a part of the Sustainable & Green environment drive being followed and push back all practices that may hinder this drive.

Ethical flowers becomes popular by the promotion of a UK online florist called Athenaflowers.com. They promoted these flowers and helped generate awareness of the importance that our environment holds.

Well, so now, that you understand the importance of our environment, do you think you should take a look at the Green Tag attached to teh gift you buy?

(Let me also say here that nothing is done in this world without a monetary purpose and so I think may have been the purpose of Athenaflowers too. I shall discuss this economic angle in my next post)

07 March, 2008

The e-business of Flowers & Trends

With a Farewell to the Valentine day recently, it is not the end of love season. In fact, it never is. At least not if you look at the growing competition in the Online Florist segment.

It is Spring and people look forward to sending flowers to their dear and loved ones. And the upcoming Mothers day in UK is another occasion round the corner that gives the Online Florists an uninterrupted ride till the Mothers day of May knocks again.

But when it comes to ordering and sending flowers to your pals out there, the mind is really confused as to whom to choose. Search in Google for Online Flower Delivery and you get more than 2 Million results! And I can bet this number would increase. But why is this horde for flowers? Well, its not just the Flowers but every other e-business.

But the main concern is of the customer. No doubt with so many options at his disposal, a customer has loads of options to choose from. But does it make things easy, or confuses the customer about whom to believe and who not, and who is the best merchant to purchase the product as per reasonable prices (no doubt every one claims to be one). Unlike the travel segment, the online flowers can not be compared, as one floral arrangement can be very different than the other. However, here is what I think is more important. It is always good to buy through the affiliates. So while you want to buy flowers of 1800flowers but want more discount than what it is offering, than, search for an affiliate of 1800. Purchasing with affiliates is beneficial, in terms that they tend to offer more discounts out of their commissions earned. So while there is a $50 charge for an arrangement at 1800, who get 15% commission on $50, decide to part with 10% discounts, offering them to the customers.

The benefit is that while you are getting the same 1800 flower arrangement that you wanted to, but at a lower rate when you buy it from the affiliates!

Isn't this amazing? Yes, it is. The benefit to a merchant is, that next time a customer buys, it will directly come to 1800 flowers (as this is what 1800 may believe). Thus, its like getting its reach increased around the globe and increasing its popularity.

The benefit to affiliates is that the customer would most probably come to the affiliate rather than the Merchant itself as they get good discounts on an affiliate site for the same product.