When, back in the 1980s, my wife and I opened our first flower shop, few could have imagined how things would eventually change in the world of floristry. Back then, the public’s buying habits were very predictable – most customers would actually venture out into the streets to make purchases from their local shops – and those who didn’t would use the telephone to place orders.
In 1988 I went on to found the much loved relay network “Flowergram” and, for a period of nearly 20 years, witnessed the buying habits of the public change beyond belief. This, combined with increasing competition from the multiples, made things incredibly difficult for small- to medium-sized florists.
At Flowergram we tried hard to support our florists with ground-breaking initiatives, such as rebates for orders sent and local web sites for each member, as well as putting all members into the BFA. By the time I sold Flowergram in 2007, the internet revolution was in full steam and florists were suffering.
Uponmy return to the UK, following time living in southern Spain, I was intrigued to discuss with internet expert and iflorist managing director David Price about his aim to create a comprehensive service for florists, including relay, that was truly fit for the twenty-first century.
The first thing we agreed upon was that, although the metamorphosis to the industry had been massive, some things should still be the same – namely good old-fashioned values of quality and customer service. Without that commitment I would not have been interested in helping David take things forward.
Now, as part of the iflorist team, I am confident that we are building a network and service that is absolutely right for the modern day florist – small or large, urban or rural.
Our new online order and accounting systems are working efficiently to enable us to increase order levels substantially and speed up payments to members. We offer an unrivalled package of benefits; from BFA membership to money off schemes – but with the lowest overhead costs in the industry. Our local websites will give iflorist members real local business again – as will their very own iphone /mobile applications.
With the service now being rolled out into mainland Europe, iflorist is, unlike most others in the industry, leading the revolution rather than being a victim of it.