Why buying flowers online sucks (and what we're doing about it)

by Leah Pooley
30/06/2017

Buying flowers is a guaranteed way to make anyone smile, but buying them online is just so damn hard. They don’t turn up, get sent to the wrong address, don’t look anything like the picture, the list goes on. Flowers are supposed to create special moments and say the things words cannot express, but the online buying experience often takes the magic away. It’s time to uncover the real story about why buying flowers online is often one big embarrassing disappointment.


I want to order from a local florist. Why can’t I find them on the internet?

With everything we need but a google away, it’s hard to understand why florists are so difficult to find online. If you google a florist in a specific suburb you get served a bunch of sites claiming to be a local florist in that area. What’s really going on here is that large ‘order gatherer’ organisations are spending a huge amount of marketing dollars buying ads and domain names to trick people into thinking they are buying from a local florist. Really they’re purchasing off a large online retailer which is using an unnamed florist in the background to fulfill the order for a fraction of the price.


The real local florist website will barely ever appear on page one and let’s be honest, who ever makes it to page two? Even if you manage to find them, most don’t have an online store so you’d need to order over the phone. Florists are small businesses with limited time and budget to spend on marketing so they end up losing the web traffic battle to the corporate giants. Flowerfox provides florists with a space where they can set up a store without needing to worry about their own website.


I'm pretty sure that's not the bouquet I ordered!

You spent all that time picking out the perfect bouquet and when it arrives, it looks nothing like it’s supposed to. There are several reasons why this might happen. Firstly, the florist may not have had the right flowers in stock. Flowers are at the mercy of Mother Nature so something that’s available one day, won't be the next. Flower substitution is part of flower buying however it’s the way the florist communicates with you that's important. Our florists contact you personally and discuss your options which are usually to replace with another flower that is similar in colour and style, select another product for the same price or if you're still unhappy, we'll give you a refund.


This could also happen if a florist fulfills an order from an order gatherer and they may not put as much love into it as they would their own creation. Those extra little finishing touches that you get when buying directly from a florist might be missing. They may also have a junior florist in training making these orders while the more experienced florists work on the showcase bunches you see in store. Flowerfox florists sell their own creations so you can be sure they are taking pride in their work and enjoying it in the process.


Another issue is that most online stores have no quality control when it comes to their florist network so any florist can join, even the ones that aren't so great. When the site receives an order, it sends it out to the network for anyone to pick up so you've got no control over the standard of your florist. At Flowerfox, we hand-select every florist. We personally approach them and invite them to meet with our founders. We go and check out their store and get to know them to make sure they have the right style and attitude. We're all about customer service so we only work with florists we like dealing with so we know that you will too.


I'm looking for something modern and unique. Why are all the products so generic?

Ever found yourself wandering into a local florist with no real intention of buying flowers but you just want to be surrounded by the beauty of it all, just for a minute? Where are those flowers when you buy online?

Most online flower stores have a catalogue of products and when you purchase off them, they send the order to a local florist who has to make the bunch exactly like the image. Even if it’s not something they would ever sell in their own store and even if those particular flowers don't look great at the moment, the florist has no creative freedom to make a call on what would make the bouquet more beautiful. This is total commoditisation of an industry that should be promoting diversity and individual florist creativity. What makes things even worse is that the catalogues are just so...dated. With such a lack of contemporary and unique products available it’s almost impossible to find a bunch of flowers you feel excited about sending. Unfortunately with few alternatives available, it’s usually a choice between sending flowers that are expensive and generic, or giving up and not sending anything at all. It’s a flower travesty! At least it was, until we came along.

Our flowers showcase each florist's creative flare as you can see in Native Mania by Casa Verde Flowers

Why are flowers so expensive?

Now this one is tricky. Yes flowers seem expensive for something that doesn’t last forever but we need to remember they are expensive to produce and have a complex supply chain. Farmers, wholesalers, transport, florists - they all need to make a living.


Most Australian flowers are grown in NSW and Victoria so flowers are more expensive in other states because of interstate transport. Prices also go up when flowers are out of season or in short supply. You don’t think twice about paying double the price for an avocado in summer do you? Because they bring delicious joy, even if it’s only for a week.


The perception that flowers are expensive isn’t helped by the fact that many online flower stores have inflated prices and a lack of lower cost options. Flowerfox florists set their own prices and we also charge a lower commission than other online stores to create fairer prices for you, and the florist.


When spending hard earned cash on flowers, try to think more about value for money rather than price. You want to know that they will be fresh with a long vase life and that they're seriously going to impress when they arrive.



So there you have it, buying flowers online sucks. Well, at least it did before we came along. Flowerfox empowers local florists by giving them full creative freedom and control. What you get is a curated gallery of the best local florists, beautiful fresh flowers, bouquets with unique and contemporary designs and good heart feels knowing that you’re supporting local businesses.

We deliver flowers in the Melbourne metro area now and will be in Sydney very soon. Check us out next time you need to order flowers online and don’t want your experience to suck.


Have your say. We'd love to hear what you think.

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