The Basics: The Bouqs Company’s bouquets are so beautiful that brides are known to order them for weddings. The service offers sustainably grown, farm-direct bouquets from local artisans, all clearly marked with a price and delivery date so there are no surprises at checkout.
We were not prepared for the beautiful arrangement from FlowerPetal. In fact, we were bracing ourselves when we received the order because Flowerpetal’s website is awful. It looks like a 1999 site for popular baby names, and many of the bouquets shown online are missing vital product details, such as how the flowers will arrive and whether they’ll have a vase. Imagine our surprise, then, when a truly beautiful bouquet showed up in Chicago, and equally lovely blossoms arrived in Wisconsin and North Carolina. (In Wisconsin, the order was actually fulfilled by the same company as our Wisconsin FTD order.)
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We ordered online flowers from 10 vendors and compared the services on how they were delivered, the appearance of the flowers and which flowers stayed fresh the longest. We also judged flower delivery services by the range of products that they offer and by each company’s delivery options. Our top pick, 1-800-Flowers.com, has an extensive and beautiful selection of flowers and gifts, making it the best flower delivery website for most people. It provides a generous selection of sympathy and funeral floral arrangements, as well as an exceptionally sensitive service – there is a sympathy adviser who can guide you if you’re unsure about particular religious or cultural traditions before you place your floral order.
Contact options: Even if you order flowers online, it should be easy to speak to a customer service representative. Make sure you can find a telephone number or participate in a live chat before placing your order.
Increasingly, flower delivery companies are either being acquired by other corporations or are building partner relationships with other firms to expand the kinds of gifts they can offer you. For example, 1-800-Flowers.com has acquired Harry & David, and FTD has acquired ProFlowers, although ProFlowers and Harry & David still operate as independent entities. FromYouFlowers.com, which is not included in our comparison, is part of the Teleflora network of national and international floral vendors that use local florists to fill orders.Flowerbud.com, has developed a partnership with Stargazer Barn, which offers you a selection of wine, candies, jewelry, perfume and more.
Add-ons: Expect to pay for anything you’d like to send in addition to the flowers. Many companies allow consumers to send a variety of other gifts, such as live plants, stuffed animals, candies and chocolate, cookies, fresh fruit and even champagne.
The Bouqs Co. is a start-up that offers eco-friendly, “farm-to-table” flowers. They partner with farmers that practice sustainable agriculture — think minimal water waste, and flowers cut only once they’ve been ordered. Along with colorful descriptions of its bouquets, you’ll find a picture and video of the farm each arrangement comes from.
Exotic blooms: You can order any flower you want for your recipient, but exotic flowers may not be available unless you order well in advance. Consider using a company that ships flowers directly from the source to the consumer for the freshest exotic options.
Orchids say “I will always love you”. When giving an orchid plant as a gesture of sympathy, it is important to give consideration to color. Pink and white are traditional colors of sympathy. Varieties such as the phalaenopsis orchid and dendrobium orchid are suggested by florists as appropriate plants to denote sympathy.
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And more and more of us are ordering our Mother’s Day flowers online. Low prices and convenience are the lure: Virtual flower shops can keep prices down because their website is their storefront, and their flowers are often delivered from central warehouses. (Many of them also keep a portion of the sales placed through their websites that they pass on to local florists.) As a result, revenue for online florists has been growing 2.5 percent annually in the past five years as revenue for walk-in flower shops has dropped by 1.2 percent each year during the same time period, according to market research by IBISWorld.
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We didn’t rate companies on price alone, since cost can vary based on address, time of year, floral arrangement, and how far in advance you place your order. But we’ve laid out how much it cost us to order one dozen red roses in Seattle (minus shipping and delivery) for all of our top picks — this should give you a ballpark estimate of how much you can expect to spend.
Sending flowers is a nice way to express your gratitude to a friend or thank someone for using your business. Nearly all flower delivery websites have a section of flowers that are appropriate to send as a thank-you gift.
Long lasting and fragrant, carnations are a popular choice for sympathy arrangements. The red carnation evokes admiration while a pink carnation stands for remembrance. White carnations stand for pure love and innocence.
When the mixed-flower arrangements arrived, we were surprised to find the ones from ProFlowers and FTD were in a vase. As a result, we didn’t include the mixed flowers in our survey because the arrangements represented only what people near our office in Yonkers, N.Y., might receive.
Flowers are a popular way to express love, gratitude, sympathy and a wide variety of other sentiments, so it isn’t surprising that they generate nearly $35 billion a year in business revenue. Flower delivery services are an important part of the flower industry, allowing you to let someone know you’re thinking of them even if you’re far away or if fresh flowers aren’t blooming where you live.
Flowers are a classic gift for romantic partners and significant others to send one another. Bouquets can be sent on special occasions, like anniversaries, or just to remind your partner that you value and appreciate them.
Online flower delivery companies are an especially convenient way to order flowers. Numerous websites allow consumers to search their inventories and put together flower arrangements from anywhere in the world.
FTD has been in the floral industry since 1910. Consumers can order fresh flowers and other gifts on the company’s website. Fresh flowers may either be delivered by a florist or by a shipping company like UPS.
If flowers arrived arranged. There are companies that don’t disclose that they just send stems in a box, requiring the recipient to arrange the flowers themselves — which defeats the purpose of paying a florist to arrange your flowers.
In Chicago, the roses in the 1-800 Flowers bouquet were seriously glorious — big, luscious, bold blooms dotted with sprays of baby’s breath, and the vase was nice and heavy. This was the most traditional bouquet we saw: Close your eyes and picture a dozen red roses; that’s what these were. These roses got good scores in all four cities, although you can see that even between Seattle and Chicago, the arrangements were very different. Seattle’s felt sweeter and less dramatic, although it got extra points for being delivered within hours of placing the order.
ProFlowers was founded in 1998 to connect flower buyers directly with growers. The company is now a part of a larger family of brands, including ProPlants, gifts.com and Sheri’s Berries. It offers a wide variety bouquets, delivered by florists and by shipping companies.
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Since there are so many reviews of flowers never arriving, or flowers arriving dead or days late, we only wanted to deal with companies willing to offer refunds, exchanges, or satisfaction guarantees. Sending flowers can be an expensive endeavor (a standard order of a dozen red roses can range from $42-$96), and we wanted our investment to come with a promise that we’d be satisfied. This was where we parted ways with H. Bloom, a luxury flower company with modern arrangements and an otherwise impressive website.