Are You Contacting Your Local Florist…or an Order Gatherer?

Are You Contacting Your Local Florist…or an Order Gatherer?

 

Buyer beware!

We’ve been in the industry for just at 13 years and have loved every bit of being a florist in our community unfortunately, some things are not so grand.  The influence of order gatherers has grown and continues to wreak havoc on us-the retail florist.

What??  You don’t know who an order gatherer is….an order gatherer is a company that creates a website for the sole purpose of accepting and processing e-commerce orders from unwitting customers who believe them to be local florists; or, large order processors, like 1-800 Flowers, FTD and Teleflora, that have a network of “member” florists.

They are not local florists, and hardly any have networks of florist members.  Here is their business:

  1. Create a business name that sounds like it could be a florist
  2. Create a slick e-commerce website
  3. Post pictures of beautiful flower arrangements on the website and give them catchy names.
  4. Price the arrangements at ridiculously low prices.
  5. Make it simple for the customer to point, click, and checkout.
  6. Process the order and find a real, local florist willing to fulfill the order.
  7. “Sell” the order to the local florist for 20% - 30% less than the sale amount of the order, but force the local florist to fill the order at full value. (Example: Order = $100, offer local florist $80, keep $20 as a sales commission)
  8. If any problems occur with the order, blame the local florist as the responsible party and defer all accountability toward the local florist.
  9. Pay the local florist for the order 30-45 days after the order was filled. (The local florist typically pays for his flowers and supplies at the time of purchase, so he/she is literally giving credit to much bigger companies that have zero skin in the game and are creating serious cash flow problems for the florist!)

Order gatherers all attempt to send a signal in their names.  Some sound like they should be the friendly neighborhood florist just around the corner: 

     Allyson’s…..Amy’s…..Ava’s…..Brant’s…..Rita’s…..Rudy’s…..Troy’s…..My Local Flower Shop (really?)

Some sound hopeful:

     Blooms Today…..Faith’s…..Flowers Sent Today…..Getflowers…..Pickup Flowers

Some sound boastful:

     America’s Funeral Florist…..Coast To Coast Flowers…..FloraQueen…..Flowers Across America

Some want you to know what they’re all about: 

     Cheapflowers.com (yep!!)…..Divine Light…..Just Flowers…..Memorial Florist…..The Sympathy Store.

They all have one thing in common:  None of them is a florist!

Also, none of them are local.

None of them has a local place of business that you could walk into and speak with a floral designer.

None of them will create your flowers or take responsibility for your order.

None of them employs floral designers.

None owns or leases delivery vans.

None has a retail store.

None pays state sales taxes in your state or puts money back into the local economy. 

None gets approached for donations to the local school fund-raising event.

None is asked by a local church, synagogue, or non-profit to donate an item for a silent auction.

None has a local cause that is supported financially, emotionally, or in any way. 

Order gatherers have only one objective and that is to make money from florists by taking a big chunk of the sales for which you conveniently clicked and put on your credit card.  It ensures that your order can never be filled to the value you paid, and you WILL likely be disappointed.  It also ensures that over time, the florist filling these orders will go out of business because it’s a non-sustainable business  paradigm.  There is no volume of business that will make up for the local florist’s taking a loss on making/delivering arrangements just to satisfy an order gatherer’s business plan!

1-800 Flowers has very few member florists in Indiana; FTD has one florist remaining in our area; Teleflora has only a handful of member florists remaining in this area.  So, in lieu of their having a cadre of member florists to rely on, call centers are often forced to try to send the order to any local florist.  And, they will call until they find someone who’ll take it…We always decline!  If they can’t find a local florist, they’ll have it made outside the state and ship the flowers in an uncontrolled climate via FedEx or UPS.  The latter has become evermore common.

Order gatherers have clever ways to trick you.  For instance, if you Google “Family Roots Nursery,” what comes up is actually an ad for...you guessed it...an order gatherer using the Family Roots name.  In order for our website to come up, one must enter the exact web address: www.familyrootsnursery.net.  We wish we had a nickel for each time an irate customer called and chewed us out because their order got screwed up and they believed they had placed the order with us when, in fact, we never received the order.  They had placed the order on an order gatherer's website that deceptively uses our name to attract buyers.  

What can you do to protect yourself from order gatherers?

First, don’t click on anything that has an ad icon at the beginning of the listing.  Rather, go directly to the florist’s website or scroll down the page you are browsing until you see the florist's actual web listing.  Check the listing and make sure it reads (in our case) familyrootsnursery.net.  Period.

If you are calling to place an order, you should never call an 800 number unless you know the local florist has one and you know it to be correct.  Our number is 812.683.2329 or 877.476.9648.   Any other phone number is not us, it’s an order gatherer.

Buyer beware!

3 comments

  • Great article!! Well written and a wonderful way to educate the public! I was not aware of the specifics of this type of business, but I know I have been so much more pleased with my floral orders since I have gone directly through you and your website. In fact, just submitted an order (for another funeral, unfortunately – too many this year!). The process was the easiest it’s ever been. Kudos on that!! Having a local florist I can go to for all of my floral needs has been a tremendous blessing. I look forward to your next blog post!

    Lori Austin
  • I got screwed on one of the “order gatherer” websites once when I tried to send my mother flowers for mother’s day. She said they were awful & died in a couple days. I’ll never use one again!

    Cassie
  • Very informative! Thanks for sharing!

    Joyce Clark

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