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Austin Flower Delivery
Austin, Texas

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closed on weekends
512-534-3800
info@austinflowerdelivery.com
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flower delivery?
512-534-3800
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order online or call
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Austin Florist
Condé Nast Traveler
Austin Flower Delivery
Austin, Texas

open weekdays
8:00am - 3:00pm
closed on weekends
512-534-3800
info@austinflowerdelivery.com
we ♥ our clients

Why Are Flowers So Expensive Online?

Actually, it may just seem that way.  The floral industry-at-large actually operates on the thinnest of margins (around 6% from end-to-end) compared to other purchases you may make online (up to 84% for online streaming services and 28% for dinner delivered to you at home).

At Austin Flower Delivery, we often hear the question: "Why are flowers so expensive online?" We'll answer this easily by illustrating the parallels between local florists and the restaurant business model and how they are alike.  Just like individual food items are often less without preparation and cooking, lower end flowers - by themselves - when priced as a commodity seem inexpensive. 

The Florist and Restaurant Business Model

Both local florists and restaurants operate on similar business models. Consider a restaurant serving handmade ravioli: the ingredients might cost $4-5, yet the dish is priced at $15-20. This markup isn't questioned, but why is it different for florists? Let's delve into the reasons:

Quality and Expertise

 

Training and Expertise: Just like chefs, florists undergo extensive training. They take numerous classes and apprenticeships before they can create intricate flower arrangements. This expertise is reflected in the final product, ensuring you receive the best quality flower arrangements.

Seasonality and Availability: Florists and chefs both contend with seasonality and availability. Any change in expected weather can impact the availability of certain flowers, just as it can affect the supply of fresh ingredients for a chef. This is actually a daily issue for all florists.  This constant adaptation requires skill and creativity, adding to the cost.

Special Handling and Quality Control

Special Handling: Florists use special tools and techniques to ensure flowers last as long as possible. This involves strict quality control and handling procedures, which are more intensive than the mass-market approach of supermarkets.

Relationship with Growers: Florists cultivate relationships with growers, pushing for higher standards and better quality. This contrasts with supermarkets that buy in bulk and accept a certain percentage of waste.

The Hidden Costs

Supermarket vs. Florist Economics: Supermarkets sell flowers and deli items with minimal or sometimes no markup because these sections are not their primary profit centers. They focus on high-margin items (like candy, chips and soda) and a flower selection or a pre-made deli selection is available as a means to get people into the store. 

Next time you are at a supermarket, notice how these sections are positioned in the front and sides of the store requiring the shopper to traverse the high profit aisles of bagged snacks and wrapped food in order to checkout.

Flowers (and foods) can seem expensive online because we're anchored to seeing supermarket prices—$15 or $20 for a dozen roses, for example. However, what a florist sells and what a supermarket offers are fundamentally different. The supermarket sells a basic, lower-end product, while a florist provides a custom, finished product.

Think of it like dining out: when you take someone to a restaurant or order through a food courier, the cost is higher than just the raw ingredients. You're paying for the chef's expertise in crafting the recipe and the kitchen staff's skill in preparing it to a high standard—not just the ingredients themselves. Similarly, a flower arrangement from a local florist reflects the cost of the florist's design work, handling availability issues, and adding a creative touch. You're not just paying for the individual flowers, but for the complete, artfully crafted arrangement.

Anchoring Effect: In pricing, 'anchoring' refers to the psychological impact of initial price points. Supermarkets use lower prices for flowers to anchor customers' expectations, while florists set prices that reflect the true cost of quality and expertise.  It's for this reason that healthier foods are prohibitively expensive; if we're 'anchored' to think that we've seen bulk dry pasta at $1.00 per pound and then see a healthy and fresh version for $5.00 per pound, we decide that the healthier version must just be pure profit and a bad value.  However, those in the supermarket will admit that there's quite a bit more profit - up to 80% - on that generic pasta versus 5-10% for the fresh and healthier version.  

Flowers by.. FedEx?

While there are also "flower shipping in a box" services operating online that mimic the supermarket model, these companies often present themselves as florists but use very simple ingredients without the touch of master florists. They produce arrangements in large quantities before an express delivery truck picks them up. This approach is akin to having groceries delivered to your house instead of a fully cooked meal.

Unlike these services, as a local florist, we are experts in both the science and art of floristry, understanding the botanical realities surrounding allergens and bacterial transmission; we make sure that the recipient's pets aren't harmed by confusing a white lily for a cat treat or having a floral virus introduced into the home.  The other services won't.  It's also like sending a box of frozen fish sticks to someone instead of taking them to a seafood restaurant - and the message to them comes across as such.

Conclusion

The next time you see the price of flowers online, remember that a local florist operates just like a restaurant. There are layers of expertise, quality control, and the delicate balance of nature and artistry that go into each arrangement. You're buying a finished product, not just a few ingredients, and this is why people often ask about the price. At Austin Flower Delivery, we are committed to bringing you the best flowers with the highest standards, ensuring your arrangements are worth every penny.

TL;DR 

  • Florists, like chefs, have extensive training and expertise that is reflected in the quality of their creations
  • Florists deal with seasonality, availability issues, and special handling requirements that add to costs
  • Supermarkets sell lower-end flowers at minimal markup as a way to draw customers, anchoring price expectations
  • Online "flower shipping in a box" services mimic the supermarket model but lack the artistry and quality of local florists
  • With a local florist like Austin Flower Delivery, you're paying for a custom made finished product that is expertly designed and crafted, not just the raw flowers themselves