05 May, 2008

Online Florists - Misconceptions & Rumors

The USAweekend.com reported Amy Stewart, author of "Flower Confidential: The Good, the Bad and the Beautiful in the Business of Flowers." Consumers receive less than what they pay for and have little recourse for resolving problems. Order gatherers appear to be local but are based somewhere else. If in doubt, call them to find out."

Well I completely disagree with her opinion and perception about so called “order gatherers”. Well, I would not call them order gatherers. A better name would be order facilitators. I look at them as a very important subject of an order. Why? Simply because they are actually increasing the reach of a florist which a local florist can really not do! A local florist who sells fresh flowers for every occasion that you could imagine round the street corner is unable to reach a person outside the city. Yes, that’s true, he collects his orders through a call or by direct walk-ins. However, he is unable to launch an expensive and dynamic website and then work over it to actually market it online. This would render him start up a new section his flower shop – that of technicals, online marketers and researchers which I am sure he would not be able to afford by his measly or not very rich income.

Now how is an Order Facilitator to send flowers online helps here. Well, it’s a relationship that an Online Facilitator builds up – a two way relationship with the Florists as well as Customers. Lets see how he does that.

Relationship of online florist with the Customer:

I am sitting in New Delhi, India and wish to send flowers to my brother who lives in 54th Street, NYC. Now what do I do? Do I call my brother up to know the no of local florist of New York and destroy the very surprise that I wanted to give to my brother? Or should I just keep researching for a local florist in New York, get his phone no and spend a huge amount of money to order him flowers. Well, how would he charge even if I do order my flowers? How do I believe him?
Wouldn’t it be much easier for me to just order to an Online florist, select a flower or bouquet of my choice and see them delivered without much hassles or without spending any money!
Yes it is. Well I am really grateful to the Online company to make things easier for me. I can also pay online, I can even track my order and what more, I can even question them if my order is not delivered or sue them for the same.

Relationship of Online Florist with the Local Florist:

I am a florist with only 20 orders per day. I want to expand my business but I am unable to because I do not have enough funds to market my products. Moreover the population where I am located is not so much and the competition with other florists is just too much that I end up with just 20 orders per day. An online florist approaches me and ask me to tie up with him because his research says that a lot of people from India send flowers to my city every day. Why would not I tie up with him. Does it really matter to me if I can offer him a commission on his services. Well after the tie up I saw an increase of 5 orders per day. That’s good news as more online florists are approaching for tie ups. More tie ups mean more orders per day.

Now as per Amy Stewart, Consumers receive less than what they pay for is actually misinterpreted and is a perception of potential short sightedness. She forgets the widening reach of a local florist and the benefits of customers to send flowers from anywhere to anywhere. They are not receiving less, they are actually gaining more through the Online Florists.

Whats wrong if an Online florist asks for a commission for his services. Everybody does that. I mean one way or the other. Don’t Travel Agents do it?

Probably, Amy Stewart should rethink over her comments.

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