Flowers - Online or Retail?

May 03, 2010

Ordering flowers can be fun (for those who like to look at flowers) or just a chore (for those who feel obligated to send them, but don’t like the task).

Complaints nationally are up 22% from 2008 to 2009. Locally they are up even more! Complainants mainly have two gripes, that the flowers weren’t what they ordered (picture online wasn’t what was received) or that customer service was lacking.

There are a lot more options now than before the Internet. Consumers can go to a local florist, shop online at a local florist, send flowers around the world and even send flowers that aren’t in water until the customer takes them out of the box and puts them in a vase (which may be provided in the box).

Buying in person and hand delivering is the cheapest option. That eliminates the shipping/delivery charge and you can choose what flowers you want right there in the store – knowing that they have all the flowers you choose in stock. And, if you order a bouquet, you can accept or reject the arrangement right on the spot.

With many of my family members being out of the state, I buy flowers online most of the time. This can be tricky for those who haven’t found a florist that they are familiar with and trust. Here are some tips for you as you make those decisions for Mother’s Day and other flower-worthy holidays.

  • Check out the company through the BBB,
  • If finding a company online or through a local phone directory make sure you know where the company is located (physical address) and a phone number.
  • Before ordering, find out the answers to the follow questions. If you can’t find the answers online, call or email them to ask.
    • What is the florist’s substitution policy if they do not have the needed flowers for an arrangement that you picked? Will they notify you or just substitute other flowers?
    • What is the cut-off time for delivery on a specific date?
    • What is the cost if you need same-day delivery? Usually it is more, but be sure to check so you can make an informed decision.
    • If the person receiving the flowers isn’t at home, what happens? Are the flowers left on the doorstep, does the florist call the intended recipient or attempt delivery at another time/date?
    • Can you track the order/delivery online? Will the company email you when they are delivered?
    • If the flowers are not what you believe the picture showed or if you are not satisfied with the quality, what is the company’s policy to resolve the problem?

Flowers can be a great pick-me-up for anyone, but only if they receive something that is fresh and of beautiful quality. Be sure to check out the company first – so your recipient is thrilled!