On-demand flower companies are thriving these days, and it’s no wonder: online retail is capturing a broader and broader section of the market in almost every category. Customers are looking for fresh, on-demand ways to get their flowers and not just for special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries; with the ease and comfort of purchasing online, customers are now able to buy flowers for any reason at all, and know they can be delivered in as little as a few hours.
In the past, consumers had only two options for buying flowers: the local florist shop or the grocery store. Delivery business started to blossom with phone ordering services like1-800-Flowers, Telaflora, and FTD, but it exploded with the advent of the internet! Now, a whole new crop of on-demand florists has sprouted up, such as The Bouqs, Urban Stems and KaBloom among many others. Even Amazon is in the flower delivery business!
While the floral industry has never been more vibrant, these on-demand services are creating serious competition for brick-and-mortar florists. IBISWorld, a leading industry research firm, projects that by the year 2022, there will be steady growth of online flower sales and a steady decline of brick-and-mortar florists. In 2017, they projected revenue for brick-and-mortar flower shops at $4.9 billion and online flower shop sales at $3.1 billion, with online sales showing no signs of slowing down.
With the fast delivery times that an online florist can provide, it’s easy to understand why these on-demand brands are so appealing. However, speed is just one factor, and each type of online florist has a different business model.
Networks like 1-800-Flowers and FTD offer a huge assortment of bouquets online, which they route from a florist near the customer and take a cut of the profit from the local florist. Additionally, local florists have to pay a monthly fee to be considered as a fulfillment location.
Newer on-demand florists like The Bouqs and Urban Stems boast an entirely different model, offering cheaper arrangements by cutting out the middleman entirely and sourcing their flowers directly from farms. They may offer fewer arrangement options, but they are able to determine what their customers will respond to and let the farmers know ahead of time what they will need for each collection. This vertically integrated supply chain means that customers can often get their flowers delivered the same day, for a lower price than a traditional florist delivery network.
While the farm-to-warehouse-to-customer model eliminates fees for local florists and effectively removes them from the equation, there are still many ways local florists play an important role. Events, for example, are key income-producers for brick-and-mortar florists. Additionally, florists are best positioned to fulfill recurring corporate orders, so the office and restaurant market is still a vibrant one.
With so many options and a continued demand, the online floral market will continue to bloom for many years to come.