Thirteen shopping days until Christmas. You know what video games, consoles, cell phones and media players are on your kids’ wish list. You have a great gift in mind for the spouse. But you don’t have a clue what to send your loved ones scattered around the country. Flowers! Gift Baskets! Poinsettias! Perfect. Easy. And here’s why:
- Shopping for flowers is easy. Shop online any time of day. Have your addresses and credit card handy. Choose from our Holiday selections, add to the shopping cart, enter three minutes’ worth of information, another two minutes of info for each recipient, hit “Submit” and you’re golden. Or call us at 888.255.9500, 24/7 to place your order with a floral consultant.
- Shopping for flowers is time-saving. See #1.
- Shopping for flowers is affordable. Factor in what your time is worth, how long it would take at the local mall, shopping center or departments store, gift wrapping, packaging, and standing in line to mail everything, and the real cost of sending flowers plummets.
- Flowers are the perfect gift. They provide holiday cheer & atmosphere. And gourmet and fruit baskets are a delightful gift for the whole family to enjoy.
- You get to save $10 for EACH arrangement you order. (Offer good until December 15, 2008. Use promotion code Pine2. Applies to online orders only.)
Tips for Shopping Online for Holiday Flowers
You may be surprised to learn that Christmas and Hanukkah are the top holiday times for flowers in number of sales and dollar volume — capturing 30 percent of each — according to The Society of American Florists, or SAF. Mother’s Day is second, with 24 percent of the transactions and 25 percent of the dollar volume, while Valentine’s Day comes in third. The figures are based on sales of cut flowers and potted plants at all types of retail outlets.
Florists fall into two categories: physical and online. Karen Marinelli, a Pennsylvania-based floral industry professional who consults with retail and wholesale florists, advocates florists because, unlike big-box stores or supermarkets, they have an incentive to care for the plants. “The florist paid for them the minute they got them,” says Marinelli. And because neither grocery stores nor big-box stores are set up to care for flowers in terms of refrigeration and a watering regimen, quality deteriorates fast.
“Temperature is really important for cut flowers. A difference of five degrees makes a huge difference in vase life,” says Marinelli. Flowers consistently kept cold from the time they are picked through transportation and retail display should last 10 days in the home, she says. But if you’re looking at a display of bouquets poking out of buckets containing room-temperature water that may be dirty or slimy, forget it. Puddles on the floor by the display are another red flag. Bacteria and mold will flourish in the stagnant water and your flowers will suffer for it.
“Supermarkets are going to give you the best price,” says Paul Goodman, an Oklahoma-based consultant who runs Floral Finance Business Services. “If you want to have design services and you want to have delivery, that’s the retail florist’s market.” Goodman likes florists for their service, but that means higher prices.
“The retail florist is in the special occasion business,” he says. “It’s not going to be the cheapest, by any stretch of the imagination.”
Using a Local Florist Saves You Money
Buying online can be risky. If you want flowers delivered to long-distance loved ones, it’s best to order directly from a florist in their city. Searching online can often lead you to what the industry calls “order gatherers” or “fake florists” who will charge a hefty $10 to $15 fee.
The other option for delivery is transmitting the order to a florist in the recipient’s city via a local florist. You will have to pay a $5 to $7 wire-service fee, but that’s still about half of a typical online fee.
Using a local florist also gives you an advocate, Marinelli says. “Using the Internet to relay an order is expensive,” Marinelli says. “Some of the online sites really take advantage of consumers.”
“With a local florist, you have a place to go back to if there’s a problem. There is accountability built in,” she says. In addition, online sites often tout arrangements, also known as expressions, that feature costly out-of season flowers and containers, says Marinelli. A florist can guide a buyer not only to what is in-season but what’s actually in their cooler, eliminating the time and cost to source what an order gatherer sold.
“In my estimation, a good professional florist can convey the same expression in flowers for at least $25 less than it would cost to send the expression by an online order gatherer,” Marinelli says.
Exerpts from: Flowers: The perfect gift at any price
By Cari Noga • Bankrate.com • Cari is a freelance writer in Michigan.