If you are browsing bouquets on your local flower shop’s website, you may think you are supporting an independent locally owned business. By going directly to your local florist’s website, you may think you are keeping your hard-earned dollars in your community, helping it to grow and prosper. Unfortunately, when it comes to buying flowers online, it is not that simple.
Most local florists are not independent local businesses at all. They operate in conjunction with a wire service like FTD, 1-800 Flowers, or Teleflora. This means a significant amount of money goes to the corporate entity in questions. In addition, they can also control what vases are required (that are required to be purchased through them), what designs are available, and what prices will be. Most of the time you end up paying more to accommodate fees to the affiliated wire service. That brings about the question, why are wire houses so dominant in the industry, and how did they come about? To best answer this, it is helpful to start at the beginning.
How did it All Begin?
The floral wire service began on August 18, 1910 as Florist’s Telegraph Delivery (FTD) to help customers send flowers remotely on the same day using the FTD network. Thirteen florists agreed to serve each other’s orders via a telegraph exchange. This cooperative was decades ahead of its time and revolutionized the flower delivery industry by allowing the flower shops to have a vested interest.
Fast forward to 1994. FTD began to acquire total control of the business. In short, they bought out all co-op members and converted to a for-profit company. Around this same time, 1-800 Flowers was gaining traction in the marketplace. Later, Teleflora began to gain market share. The business model was changing. Instead of being an advocate of the local florist, they were now profiting from the local florist, taking percentages of sales, monthly fees, and per-transaction fees from florists.
How do Wire Services Work?
An affiliate who works with a wire service will operate as a broker. They need to pay a fee to partake in the service. This will give them the chance to receive and then send floral orders. They will collect money from the sending florist, and they will pay the receiving florist for fulfilling the order. Some florists will earn much higher percentages, and others will earn less. It’s all done through a network, and it’s governed by a much higher power, who decide what’s going to be sold and the general designs that are going to be used. This ensures maximum profitability, efficiency and continuity across the network.
Are Wire Services Bad?
Wire services aren’t necessarily bad. In fact, many florists would not be able to operate if they did not have the connections that can be gained when partnering with a wire service. It helps them to get more orders, and sometimes even with the fees, it can help them to keep their business running at a consistent level. TD and Teleflora take 27% off the top of every sale that goes through their system. If you call a “local” florist and ask them to deliver a $100 bouquet, that florist will wire it to another florist who may be closer to you. At this point, the florist is only making $73. They need to reduce the size of the product to make a profit. They may choose to reduce the quality of vase or the greenery, but most of the time, it’ll be the flowers that are used.
This is why most people complain that online florists don’t deliver the arrangement that they ordered. 1-800 Flowers ships the cheapest flowers that they are able to buy in bulk. They do this by using cable ties without a vase. For this reason, it’s less expensive for you to order online when compared to a brick and mortar florist but you are greatly reducing the quality.
Nothing says that you “care” like a box of wilted and smashed weeds.
Shopping at your Local Flower Shop
So it really is crucial to understand how the flower industry works. There are a lot of different factors at play, but at the end of the day, it’s sad that your local business may not be so local at all. This is unfortunately the state of the flower industry today. Most local florists are not local at all and it’s entirely possible that they are having to pay exorbitant fees just to deliver the product you’re asking for. The solution here would be for you to shop an independent local florist. Truly local.
Local florists are able to offer arrangements and bouquets for direct delivery. They do this within the geographical area, and they also have their own physical vans and cars. The flowers will be hand-delivered and the bouquet you choose is the one you will receive. Precise items will be available, most of the time on a same-day basis. Local charges may apply for delivery, but this will be clearly defined as being a separate fee. If you want to avoid poor quality flowers from florists who are losing a small fortune of their sale in commission fees, then a local independent florist is certainly the way to go.
We are the only independent locally owned florist in the Battle Creek, Michigan area.. That means that we have complete control of the flowers we stock, the bouquets that we make, and the color choices too. If you have a special occasion coming up and you want a selection of flowers that symbolizes your love for someone, we can create beautiful flowers perfect for that occasion. . On top of that, when you buy from a truly local store like us, you will be putting money back into the local community. We stand by the fact that buying flowers for someone is often a great personal experience. That is why we focus on making the buying process personal as well, so get what you pay for, every time.