Florists are competing against an almost invisible opponent in the form of order gatherers who are fuelled by market demand for cheap floral products. What makes order gathering services such a threat to local florists everywhere is their ability to massively reduce the value of even the most beautiful and meticulously arranged bouquets.
How do they do this? Well, order gathering services compete with florists in the online space by marketing themselves as brick and mortar stores that service local areas. Yet, in reality, when a customer arrives on an order gathering service website, they’re actually dealing with a massive call center that quickly finds a local florist who is willing to take a hit on their pricing to secure business.
Many florists process as much as 30 orders a day through order gathering and wire services but do so at a fraction of the price they would charge themselves. Further, local florists who do business with order gatherers then need to pay for delivery of flowers and other transaction fees, which makes already tiny profits even smaller.
The effect of order services on the industry
The pervasiveness of order gatherers is making it nearly impossible for local florists to not only compete, but also maintain their level of standards when it comes to their products. Florists across the country are jostling just to secure orders from these companies, and in the process are having to make countless sacrifices to keep their businesses open, while working incredibly long hours to meet bottom lines.
The result? Florists now work much harder, far more hours and charge much less for their products, just to stay in the game. And the effect on the customer? Faster deliveries, sure, but flowers that are less than stellar and are put together “cheaply” as florists try to increase their tiny margins thanks to the more than 20% cut these services take from them.
Needless to say that the situation has left the flower industry with a really bad reputation and customers less than inspired. So is there a way for local florists to compete with order gatherers that are gobbling the market while diminishing the quality of their work?
There sure is. If you’re a flower shop owner looking to gain back your independence from wire or order gathering services, there are quite a few things you can do to give your brand and business an edge. Since we know how order gatherers work, there are no secrets to their success… so why not beat them at their own game?
Build a website that attracts customers to a real florist
You can make your online presence stand out from the crowd of generic florist websites that are cluttering the web. Order gatherers generate their business mainly in the online space, so making sure that potential online customers arrive at your website first is the most effective way to compete with these pervasive companies. Once a potential customer arrives on your website, it’s pretty much up to the experience they’ll have that will influence their decision to buy from you.
So start by looking at what kind of online presence your business has and how you can create a better customer experience that results in sales. It’s critical that your website delivers a great customer experience and is easily found online. These two factors deliver the perfect one-two punch to drive more traffic to your business that ultimately result in more direct sales.
Check out Hana’s special offer for a FREE website with any POS plan you choose.
Show off your brick and mortar store
A trump card practically every flower shop owner has over order gatherers is that they are actual florists. Order gathering services only pose as the real deal and ultimately rely on local florists to design and produce the final product — they have nothing on you when it comes to giving customers the complete experience.
Use your presence as a local florist in your community to market your brand and by making it easy for people to contact you for orders. As a modern florist, you’ve got to think about how you can reach the most people in the most efficient way — that’s how order gatherers gained their footing in the industry in the first place.
Reach out to fellow businesses, actively advertise specials, pitch for local events and consider partnerships with event coordinators like wedding planners in your area.
Don’t make the mistake of undermining your brick and mortar store’s ability to attract new business. Use your store to attract walk-in customers with beautiful and highly visible marketing and displays of your designs. Make your store your meeting place for event proposals where brides-to-be and their entourages can come and see your best work on display.
Or take your store online by showcasing it on your Instagram and other social media profiles.
Let your customers know who they’re buying from
Since both local florists and their customers seem to be getting raw deals under the current situation, why not let the customer decide who they want to do business with? As a local florist with a reputation that’s based in being a part of your community, let your customers know that by purchasing directly from you they are supporting small businesses in their communities.
What’s more, people mistakenly think that if they buy from wire or order gathering services that they are paying less for their bouquets. The truth is that these services are typically more expensive, and by squeezing local florists, their products usually result in arrangements of lesser quality.
It’s no secret that the beautiful pictures of lush bouquets these companies advertise on their websites are nothing close to the disappointing end products they deliver in the end — and this is what gives local florists, and the industry as a whole a very bad name. So, make sure you let people know who they buy from and that by supporting real local florists, they’re supporting the backbone of their local economies.
Take your independence back with Hana Florist POS
Hana is a complete business solution for flower shops across North America. We give local florists their independence back with a completely free floral POS solution, website and marketing tools that help them sidestep wire and order gathering services.
Florists who use Hana are seeing their profits increase through direct business generated by our SEO friendly websites that are uniquely designed to give your brand a real online presence.
Our florist point of sale solution also comes with a complete range of tools to help you market, sell and retain customers while expanding your business with our proposal module, email marketing solution and customer portal. If you’re ready to take your brand and reputation back as the best local florist, get in touch with us today.