RealTime IT News

Discount Florist Service Opens on Web

Flowerfarm.com launched to market directly sourced fresh flowers over the Web at discount prices in the U.S. and 18 other countries.

By sourcing directly from global growers and maintaining complete control over inspection, processing and shipping, flowerfarm.com said it can deliver fresh cut flowers to consumers in far shorter time than traditional floral distribution channels, which use a grower to importer to wholesaler to retailer chain.

Through an end-to-end, e-business infrastructure supported by a SAP database platform, flowerfarm.com handles all the ordering, fulfillment, delivery, billing, payment processing and financial reporting activities involved in the global distribution of floricultural products.

The company operates six design and distribution centers worldwide, including Florida, The United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Brazil. The company has various strategic alliances with global suppliers including one with a minority shareholder, Flying Flowers Limited, The United Kingdom's largest direct marketer of floricultural products.

Flowerfarm.com receives daily delivery of flowers from growers in South America, Europe, Africa and Asia that are shipped in temperature controlled aircraft to the company's design and distribution centers. Usually within 24 hours, bouquets and arrangements are created and shipped to customers with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

"We have the potential to become the world's leading direct merchant of flowers and plants," said Abe Wynperle, founder and president of the company. "To facilitate our growth and allow us take advantage of the vast e-commerce opportunities for our business, we are in current discussions with a number of investment banking firms to examine the potential of a public offering in the near future."

Traditional floral services carry no inventory of flowers and must rely on a network of independent retail florists to arrange and deliver flowers ordered by consumers, the company said.

"This means that customers do not always receive what has been ordered since the retail florist depends entirely on the inventory of flowers available at the time of the order," said Wynperle. "On the other hand, flowerfarm.com, with its access to global inventory, employs "just-in-time" production and delivery methods to guarantee that customers get exactly what they ordered, and what is pictured on our Web site."

By eliminating the "middlemen," flowerfarm.com said it can deliver to consumers fresher flowers at substantially less cost. For example, a dozen, boxed roses costs $19.95 plus $12.95 for delivery.

To mark the Web site launch, a dozen roses available in all colors are being marketed at a price of $9.95 plus delivery through Dec. 4.

The company said it already has distribution agreements with Lycos, Infoseek, GeoCities and is in negotiations with several other portal sites and traffic generators.