In a world where consumers are continually bombarded by robust marketing tactics generated by behemoth mass marketing giants like Proflowers, 1800Flowers, FTD and Teleflora, it can be difficult for the local brick and mortar florist to stand out. Changes in the way the industry now operates have had a serious impact on both the overall numbers and success of the brick and mortar florist. I have posted a few of my own thoughts on that matter in a previous blog post. Feel free to comment over there if you’d like.
There are a few entities out there who are trying to make a difference this area by trying to keep more small local B&M’s from going the way of the TV repair shop and your local hardware store. For a little more info on how you can get yourself involved in helping brick and mortars stay alive, or in particular local florists, check out Florists for Change and The 3/50 Project.
Back to the matter at hand!
Here are a few of my thoughts on what makes local brick and mortar florists so fantastic:
- Unique Products: While you can certainly get your average cookie cutter flower arrangement from your local florist, as seen on hundreds or perhaps thousands of other websites, I highly recommend calling your florist directly and requesting something unique or order from their “florists choice” menu on the website. This is for 2 reasons. You’ll get something delivered same day if requested that doesn’t have to be exact matched to one of hundreds of pictures available on their website, which will tend to make both you and the florist happier, leading to better value for you and for them. Secondly, unless a florist is using all of their own custom designs on their website, which is only about 1% of florists, you’ll get something creative and unique for your occasion.
- Better and Personalized Customer Service: I don’t know how many times I’ve mentioned an internet order to my wife Buffie and she’s said something like, “I’d better give them a call, they usually send that to a different address”, or “Yea, that customer typically likes something compact and modern”. You can’t beat true personalized service.
- Your Order is Theirs: When ordering from a large order gathering company, something is lost in the 1′s and 0′s that are used to transfer that order around the country or in most cases these days, from the third world to North America. I believe that it’s ownership of the order. Only a small business owner can know about most orders that are leaving the shop. In fact, I’ve been on the phone with clients who own flower shops and they’ve had to cut our call short due to having to “check an order to be sure it’s done right” before it goes out.
- Small Business Owners are Resourceful: Need something you couldn’t find online in 24 hours? These guys will often go to the rails to get your business as a customer or to maintain an existing relationship that they’ve already built with you. Speaking directly with the designer can give you great insight as to what’s available, what can be done on short notice and what can be done given the right amount of time.
- These Artisans Provide Value: For some people, $9.99 roses from the grocery store is enough. For others, they wouldn’t touch them with a ten foot pole. Value, as determined by the customer isn’t something a small business can fake their way into. In a world where reviews and social sharing are only going to get more and more prevalent, the wheat is certainly being separated from the chaff and it’s now quite easy to make a good determination about the quality of the florist you’re looking at with a little research. While some online order gatherers claim to have preferred networks, most of them are just struggling to maintain those networks with florists willing to fill their orders, and the quality of products coming out the other end can be questionable at best. Making an impact with a floral purchase is more affordable than ever, and your florist will be more than willing to work with you to create something special within your budget.
If you really want to see what I’m talking about, go here, then go here and have a peek at the blogroll. There are lots of wonderful brick and mortar florists to choose from in cities around North America and beyond. With a little research prior to making a decision, the big brand marketing will be eliminated from your mind and what will be left is one thought, “Now I can really make an impact!”
Update: Here’s another great post I found about using local florists from The Consumerist.