Have you worked hard to provide quality blooms and care to all your customers, only to be forced to compete with a floral order gatherer?
It can be frustrating and discouraging for florists who invest serious sweat equity into running a flower business only to see an eCommerce company to move in and pass themselves off as local florists.
There are many different kinds of floral order gathers, from the larger, well-known wire services to ones that take over search engines. We will focus on the floral order gatherers who run search engine ads that knowingly deceive their consumers, and offer you ways to maximize your sales and eCommerce legibility without worrying over order gatherers’ paid ads to lure customers into shopping with them under false pretenses.
Image via Shutterstock
What are Floral Order Gatherers?
Order gatherers—in this case, floral order gatherers—are virtual businesses that have no intention of filling the order purchased by its customers. What order gatherers essentially do is harvest the customer’s information and payment details and then look for real local florists to fulfill the order.
Order gatherers can benefit themselves and the filling flower shop alike, right? Well, yes and no. Order gatherers only pass along a fraction of the customer’s payment, and the customer gets less of what they actually paid for.
Floral order gatherers know that they profit by sending orders to a real local florist, while you the actual florist pay for mortgage/rent, utilities, employees, and product.
Another concern is that some order gatherers are passing themselves off as local florists when in actuality they do not run a flower shop or design flowers. You likely have seen their paid ads on search engines.
Below is an order gatherer’s paid ad on Google. (We covered the name of the order gatherer as well as their website address.) If you look at this ad you can see how easily a customers could believe this is a genuine San Diego florist. There is no indication that this company has nothing to do with fulfilling their order.
Image provided by Google
A Step in the Right Direction: There have been several lawsuits filed by florists to stop these order gatherers from blatantly falsifying information on their ads regarding their location.
Image via Shutterstock
How to Beat Floral Order Gatherers
So what can you do to stand apart from floral order gathers that are taking over your area with paid ads on search engines? Unfortunately, there is no surefire way to stop them other than educating your consumers and marketing your floral business in a way in which it is not affected.
We understand that is easier said than done, however there are a few points working in your favor: floral order gatherers’ time is limited, there are more and more articles out to help consumers identify order gatherers, and consumers are wary of paying more for something only to get less.
Take these actions to brand yourself and increase your visibility as a legitimate local florist in your area, that will offer customers exactly what they paid for.
- Use a blog. If you have an option to add a blog to your floral website, do so and take an action on educating customers on what a real local florist offers versus a floral order gatherer. An article on your website on this topic will reach more people than visitors that just land on your web page. Besides discrediting order gatherers, this strategy will bolster consumer confidence in your floral eCommerce.
- Add content and write-ups. Add a gallery and write-ups of your flower business’s staff to your website to showcase you as a local florist.
- Consider your marketing. The advantage you have as a real local florist is that you do not have to spend a small fortune on ads that fundamentally deceive your customers you’re trying to attract. Market your flower business on social media consistently and be sure to ask satisfied customers to review your shop on Google and Yelp. The best way to do this is having links on your floral website to allow customers to easily click and review you.
- Use store promotions and offers. Floral order gathers offer many enticing promotions to entice customers to click and shop—refer to the search engine add above, offering 45% savings. We do not want you to give your flower arrangements away from free, however, consider running some enticing offers to get customers to click on your website. This is a great option for gaining new customers as well.
- Don’t forget about SEO. Your search engine optimization should be on point to compete with online businesses like order gatherers. Work with your floral website provider to make sure you are listing on the first page on search engines. Make sure your Google business page is set up and work on adding images and getting reviews. This all helpful in raising your site’s ranking on search engines.
- Try a Google ad. Thanks to the internet, marketing is so different today than it has been in the past. That isn’t to say that mailers don’t work, but placing a Google AdWords ad can be helpful in building your brand visibility. Start off with a lower budget, see how your conversions go, and build up from there.
Image via Shutterstock
Floral order gatherers do not play fair. There is no way to stop them completely, however, florists do have the upper hand as floral order gatherers need filling florists to make their business possible. Partner up with other real local florists and stand up to the floral order gatherers by educating your consumers. We are not saying that no florist should ever fill a floral order gatherer’s order, but it’s about time that florists get compensated appropriately for their services. Do not hesitate to ask for more money if you are filling a gatherer’s order. Florists, your expertise and resources are needed to keep floral order gatherers in business—remember that.
Florists, how have floral order gatherers impacted your flower business? Please share your feedback in the comment section below. If you have any questions please post below as well!
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