An online flower delivery service allows customers to purchase flowers and associated products, by searching through a website catalogue. Frequently, these items are delivered to third parties, who are the gift recipients. By and large, in Australia, services are divided into the following four categories:
Websites of local florists provide bouquets and delivery arrangements, in the geographical region serviced by their firms’ own staff and vans. Sometimes, this is referred to as a “hand delivered” service, and it offers customers the benefit of having the products they want available to be delivered on the day of ordering. Typically, local delivery fees are shown as separate fees, alongside each product’s price.
An order broker is a third party agent that displays images of bouquet products on its’ website. These brokers send orders to the local florists they are affiliated with, for hand delivery and fulfillment. Customers of these websites have to pay extra service charges, along with local delivery fees. Typically, these fees are included in each product’s price. Orders are transferred to local florists, where they are fulfilled via floral wire services. The benefit of these services is that customers can make orders for several locations through one website. The drawback is that customers are unable to see or choose the florist that fulfills their order. Also, the majority of florists provide an order brokering service for international and national deliveries.
Relay florists use sophisticated technology on their websites to procure orders directly from customers, rather than transferring orders automatically to local florists. These websites collect payment from customers. Nonetheless, usually, relay florists will not fulfill the orders themselves, unless the deliveries are local to their location. Instead, they relay the payment and order to florists in the relevant delivery area, after deducting a commission. Some examples of relay florists are Trinity Flora, Interflora, Teleflora and DecoPetals.
Flowers that are delivered by courier (sometimes referred to as “Flowers by Post” or “Grower Direct”) are arranged into bunches at the distributor’s or importer’s warehouse, or at the farm. Then, they are placed into cardboard boxes and mailed directly to recipients, using overnight couriers. The benefit of these services is that the flowers can be fresher, because they are shipped straight from the importer/farm. Nonetheless, in transit, shipping conditions and fluctuations in temperature might negate this benefit. Recipients have to unpack, condition, clean and arrange the flowers they receive from a courier. After shipping, the flowers should be conditioned to stop them from dying. The florist will condition the flowers, prior to shipping them. Also, florists implement quality control inspections that warehouse staff tends to forgo.
The Busy Periods
Mother’s Day, second Sunday of May, Christmas Day, December 25 and Valentines Day, February 14 are when demand for flower delivery services peak. During these periods, it is best to order in advance directly from local florists to guarantee delivery. Often though, online services deliver by mail, and not by hand, so they will not guarantee delivery dates.