Things to think about before you send flowers
- Who should I buy from?
- How do I know what style to look for?
- What price range should I choose?
- What recourse do I have if something goes wrong?
- Why is Martin’s, the Flower People a good company to trust with my order?
- How should I pay for my order?
Who should I buy from?
In general your options can be separated into 4 categories: Florists, Supermarkets, Marketing Firms and Direct Shippers. Florists are established flower shops with a physical retail location and delivering to a local area. Supermarkets include grocery stores, Wal-Mart and wholesale clubs like Costco. They carry fresh flowers, and some may offer delivery and special event service, but mainly focus on cash and carry sales. Marketing Firms are usually primarily internet based, with a call centre, and act as brokers by passing on the customer’s order to a florist for a commission.
Florists offer the most industry experience and typically the most personal customer service. However, the industry is not regulated so there are no mandatory qualifications to operate as a florist. Investigate the age of the florist company, look for customer testimonials and any proof of a history of quality work.
Supermarkets have increased the quality of their products and service in recent years, often by hiring professional florists as department managers. While still not consistently offering the quality and service of a professional florist, supermarkets are able to offer competitive pricing and convenience.
Marketing Firms profit by attracting customers and relaying the orders for a commission. Their expertise is primarily in marketing, not floristry, and customer service can be impersonal due to the nature of a call centre operation. They do have the benefit of processing a high volume of orders, and as such will have a database of florists who consistently fill their orders with a positive track record.
Direct Shippers will have a central location, or a network of regional warehouses, and employee companies like FedEx and UPS to deliver flowers in a box. Marketed as “Farm Direct” or “Fresh from the farm,” in truth these flowers are usually flown into the country, trucked to a warehouse, prepared for shipment, then sent on a 2-3 day journey with the courier. These floral gifts are often referred to as “DIY” flowers, since a vase is only included at an extra charge, and the recipient must do the arranging of the flowers once they are delivered. The courier is permitted to leave the boxed flowers at the recipient’s door without a signature, despite any weather concerns. This type of delivery should never be made to a funeral home, as it is likely that there will be no one at the home who is free to design the bouquet.
Often the lines can be blurred, as many Florists and Supermarkets are evolving into successful Marketing Firms as an additional source of revenue. Florists pioneered the concept of “Flowers by Wire” that allows a customer to order locally and have their flowers delivered around the world by a florist near to the recipient.
What style of flowers should I buy?
The choice of style is as unique as the person the flowers are for. The style options start with the container: vase, basket, dish, hand-tied, wrapped or boxed. Vases often allow for the longest flower life because there are few obstructions to the water flow into the stem, and since the water level is visible to the recipient a vase arrangement is more likely to be watered frequently. Vases create a taller, narrower design as most of the flowers are nearly upright as they sit in the vase.
Basket and dish arrangements use floral foam to store and conduct water to the flowers, and to hold the flowers in place. While traditionally associated with the familiar “roundy moundy” style of arrangement your grandmother would know, arrangements in floral foam also lend themselves to the most creative styles and designs.
Loose flowers, either hand-tied, wrapped in cellophane or paper, or boxed offer the most flowers for the dollar. This is a gift perfect for a creative person who enjoys working with their hands and arranging the flowers in their own vase. Loose bouquets also make the most affordable floral gift.
What is an appropriate price range for flowers?
Price ranges vary by style and the selection of flowers. While it is possible to have a fresh bouquet for $20, don’t expect too many roses or orchids to be included. Loose bouquets start from a small, thoughtful gift at $15-$35, to an average of $40-$60. Large bouquets, or exotic flower selections are most often available from $75-$100 and up and make a big impression.
Arrangements in a container have an average price point of $60-$75. This doesn’t mean you need a mortgage to make flowers a regular choice for gifting. Many charming designs are available as low as $35-$40. For a stunning design that will ensure you are never forgotten, expect to spend upwards of $150 – and expect to receive many compliments for a long time after.
Sympathy arrangements sent to a funeral chapel are traditionally larger than designs for the home, and as such the prices are higher. Typical funeral arrangements will range from $100-$150 and up, and will be placed near the casket. In recent years a popular option has been to send a table arrangement to the funeral home in a style appropriate for the family to take home and enjoy for many days after the service. Table arrangements are priced from $60-$75 and higher.
Plants can be purchased from $20-$50, and plant arrangements from $40-$100. Trees and floor plants range from $75-$200.
What if something goes wrong with my order?
It is important to understand that as the consumer you have the final option of filing a chargeback request with your credit card company if the item ordered is not received, or if it is not as described when you ordered. This protection is afforded to consumers by the credit card companies to protect you from fraudulent merchants.
Hopefully, a chargeback will never be necessary. If there is a problem with your order the industry standard solution is to replace the item or refund the amount paid for the order. Sometimes a compromise can be reached allowing for a partial refund or credit, along with an apology bouquet for the recipient. Of course, these options all depend on the willingness of the merchant and your ability to contact them.
In a perfect world, you would never have to worry about the success of your order. In reality, it is important to know that you are dealing with a trustworthy company that will be accessible and honest. Look for a variety of contact information – phone, email, and a physical mailing address – before placing your order.
Why should I trust Martin’s, The Flower People?
Martin’s, The Flower People is a family owned business with a small number of customer service agents who pride themselves on giving personalized service. Operating since the late 1800’s from our retail location in Toronto we have proudly served five generations of customers. Our design style mirrors the leading European trends, but we haven’t forgotten our roots in traditional design work.
Our state-of-the-art system offers instant email receipts and delivery confirmations for your orders. You are welcome to contact us by phone, email or fax. With over 110 years of floristry we have accumulated a database of good and bad florists across Canada, so we will always guarantee 100% satisfaction on your order no matter where it’s going. Our guarantee is clear and simple: if you are not happy, we will replace or refund your order.
How should I pay for my order?
Martin’s accepts all major credit cards as well as PayPal. We will ask for your card number along with the CVV when you place your order online or by phone. If you order online, PayPal will be one option to choose from. You may also pay by House Charge (we mail you an invoice) IF the account has been set up beforehand.