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How Online Flower Delivery Works

With the fairly recent advent of online flower delivery services, you may be wondering how it works. Here are some common questions about online florists, followed by the answers:

  • Where do the flowers come from?
  • If my order is fulfilled by a third party, to whom will I make my credit card payment?
  • Do the flowers spend three days in a truck getting thirsty and wilted?
  • Are these places putting local florists out of business?

Where do the flowers come from?
Some online flower delivery websites contract local florists to fulfill their orders. When you place an order, the website may tell you that your order will be fulfilled by an  affiliated florist.  This means that your order will be transmitted electronically to a local florist, who will make up your flower arrangement and deliver it through their own service. Thus, even though you order from FTD, the flowers may be delivered by a company of another name.

Most arrangements you order online include a photograph that is meant to be representative but not an exact image of the arrangement your gift recipient will receive. If you ve ordered a very specific arrangement, such as one with a stuffed bear and a particular vase, the company will contract the order to a florist who offers that exact arrangement and has purchased the exact accessories to reproduce the photograph on the website. On the other hand, if you order a more general arrangement like seasonal tulips or lilies, the local florist shop may adjust the arrangement slightly to make use of their own inventory.

Some online florists have multiple distribution centers across the country from which they ship all orders directly. In this case, the flowers are typically sourced from out-of-town flower farms both inside and outside the US. Also, in this case the flowers are usually not offered in arrangements but are shipped in boxes designed to minimize temperature fluctuations and light, both of which cause the flowers to decay more quickly. When you receive the flowers, simply snip the stems and put them in luke warm water, and they will begin to perk up within a few hours.

Who runs my credit card?
Even if your order is sub-contracted to a local florist, the website you order from will accept your payment directly and then settle up with the local florist.

How long are the flowers in transit?
This all depends on their destination. Many online flower delivery sites now offer worldwide delivery, which means a longer transit time for your flowers unless there happens to be a contracted local florist in or near the destination city. Flora2000, for example, has partnerships with florists in many remote locations like Chile, and can therefore offer fresher flowers to customers in many parts of the world.

Are online florists putting local florists out of business?
Online florists have the potential to service a much wider market than local florists, so there is definitely a larger share of the business going to the bigger online companies. However, as discussed above many large online companies are making use of local florists to create a virtual network that extends around the globe and is mutually beneficial to the parent company and all of its affiliates. Local florists have the disadvantage of being limited to a local customer base and partnering with online conglomerates may end up getting them a lot more business.

Now that you understand more about how this industry works, take a look at our review site on online flower delivery.