Ever wonder why Pro Flowers, 1800 Flowers, and FTD.com are so much cheaper than ordering from your local florist like Beautiful Blooms by Jen? Floristdetective.com does a great job explaining the difference below.
What is Order Gathering?
The term ‘order gatherer’ was coined several years ago to describe floral service marketers, both real and virtual, that aggressively promote the sale of flower arrangements and related gifts which they intend to broker to local florists for fulfillment, primarily via affiliations with national florist wire services.
Why Local Florists Oppose Most Forms of Order Gathering
Real local florists’ concerns about some of the order gatherers’ commonly used advertising practices occur on several counts including:
- the use of misleading ad titles and text that confuse consumers by featuring specific city names – when the order gatherers do not operate local flower shops that directly service the locations and where their sites or print ads fail to clearly inform consumers as to how these orders are ‘serviced.’
- the use of city-specific website pages with text crafted to confuse consumers by targeting city names – when the order gatherers do not operate local flower shops in the vicinity and fail to clearly explain how they ‘service’ these areas.
- the use of the phrase ‘we delivery to’ when the brokers only ‘relay to’ or ‘forward to’ local florists for fulfillment, implying a service which they do not provide.
- the failure to itemize and explain all fees to consumers, making price comparisons difficult.
- the fraudulent claiming of ‘free delivery.’
- the failure to inform consumers that delivery charges will be deducted from the value of dollars sent to local florists.
Once consumers have placed their orders, additional internal network issues come into play, including:
- the failure of some affiliates to properly forward all required fees, especially those labeled ”delivery charges’, to the actual florists that deliver the products.
- the cloaking of transferred orders to local florists behind real florist business names and/or master accounts of national wire services. The Florist Detectives believe that cloaking the origination of orders has helped hide deceptive marketing practices, the use of false location information and the skimming of order values; which in turn has prevented the information from being exposed to consumers, state and federal regulatory agencies, and the wire services themselves.
- the wire services’ payment of bounties – rebates – in dollar amounts that exceed their commissions earned from these orders, to subsidize the affiliate marketing schemes on a grand scale. These rebates, rumored to be as high as $8.00 USD per order, provide additional funds for order gatherers to increase their range and saturation of marketing; overshadowing the efforts of local florists that play by the wire services’ own rules to member florists.
Why We Believe Consumers Are Not Well Served
When a gatherer/broker accepts your order over the web or via a Yellow Page ad, the company can provide little guarantee that your selection will be filled exactly ‘as sold’ if it is being transferred to a local florist for fulfillment. Many sites feature licensed wire service images and only hope that they can find a local affiliate that has the item, or something close to it, in current inventory.
The gatherers don’t truly know if the amount charged the consumer is adequate to meet the customary price of the local flower shop – including delivery charges – since they are simply brokering the order.
Consumer may have chosen a flower arrangement based on the vase displayed or a specific flower type featured, yet many orders are transferred to local florists with vague descriptions and/or instructions stating ‘fill as similar as possible’ – leaving both a disappointed sender and recipient.
The average ‘service fee’ of $11.00 USD, a privilege fee charged just for forwarding orders to local florists, boosts the cost to consumers, giving the appearance that florist-delivered flowers are higher priced than they need be.
We spotted an interesting blog entry about a Valentine’s Day flower shopping experience that highlighted some common misunderstandings by consumers regarding the level of control of inventory and price charged by national order gatherers, in this case FTD.com. A wise Butler, PA florist offered what is in our opinion a great explanation as to why consumers are better off with a local florist and the likely reasons why the order could not be fulfilled by FTD.com via its affiliate florist network.
To further make the point, we also recommend reading this consumer’s comparisson between 1-800-Flowers.com and his local florist as well as an explanation of how FTD.Com For Flowers Ruined My Weekend by Jupiter Media CEO, Alan Meckler.
Call 419-517-8821 to order your flowers directly from Beautiful Blooms by Jen so you know exactly what you’re getting! Or feel free to order online at Beautifulbloomsbyjen.com where everything is itemized so you know exactly how much everything costs and everything you spend goes right into your flower arrangement.
Don’t get caught by this- When googling florist in Detroit this is what came up: