With the holidays just around the corner, your flower shop is heading into the busiest time of the year. And with so much of your marketing now being done online, you have the potential to reach customers who may be far outside of your regular delivery area. That’s why we thought it would be helpful to give you a simple guide to shipping flowers safely and efficiently. (After all, we do know a bit about the subject.)
No matter which shipping method you choose (see our tips later in this article), the way you package your flowers will make all the difference in whether they arrive safely and in beautiful condition. Follow these steps:
- Use a new, sturdy corrugated box
Your choice of box is vital to make sure your flowers arrive safely. Make sure it’s sturdy enough for shipping. Also, don’t ship flowers in a previously used box, no matter how undented or unmarked it may seem. Used corrugated boxes have likely been tossed around and have lost a lot of their structure.
- Use the proper packing material
Lightly wrap your flowers in packing paper or cellophane to ensure they stay in place when in the box. Wrapping them too tightly can cause damage to the petals when shipping. Additionally, if you have a vase in the package, you may want to use a corrugated divider to separate the vase from the flowers.
- Cut the stems appropriately
Some long-stemmed flowers such as roses might not fit into your box, so you may need to cut the stems to make sure the flowers fit. Obviously, you’ll need to measure so you don’t cut the stems too short. If possible, be sure to leave at least a couple of inches of room between the petals and the edge of the box. This minimizes the chances of the cardboard rubbing up against the tips of the petals and causing damage.
- Secure the arrangement
Another vital part of your packaging is using cable ties (or rubber bands as needed) to secure the arrangement inside the box. This will prevent the individual flowers from shifting around in transit and keep the arrangement intact.
Here’s a diagram that shows how to package your arrangement properly:
- Cushion the vase
If you’re shipping an arrangement in a vase, make sure to wrap plenty of bubble wrap around it so that it doesn’t get damaged. If the vase is glass, treat it just like you would any other fragile object to make sure it’s completely secure and won’t jostle around inside the box.
- Don’t add water
This may seem obvious, but it’s important to mention: Don’t include any water in your vase when shipping your arrangement. Shipping flowers in water is prohibited because the water may leak out. This can cause damage to not only your shipment but other shipments as well.
- Seal and label the package correctly
Use wide packing tape to securely seal the box, making sure to tape the center seam and the side seams, also called the H taping method. Tape both the top and bottom of the box this way. Also, place your shipping label on the top of the box. By doing this, you make it clear to those handling the package which side is up.
Which Carrier to Use
Now that you know the basics of packaging your flowers for shipping, how do you decide which carrier to use? We suggest finding one that will get your flowers to their destination as quickly, safely, and inexpensively as possible. If you pay too much to ship the flowers and aren’t passing that cost on to customers, it won’t make sense to offer shipping.
There you have it: The basics of how to ship flowers. If you choose to add shipping to your marketing mix this season, now you know exactly how to do it safely, efficiently, and cost-effectively!