As the co-owner of a brand new up market florist shop in small town Rotorua, New Zealand, My business partner and I decided that to stand out from the crowd (seven florist busine Send Flowers to Australiasses catering to a city of only 65,000 residents), we would offer an email service to our clients so that when they rang to order flowers for their loved ones or ordered through our website and email, we would send them an email with a photo of the flowers that were sent. The feedback was outstanding from customers all over the world. Our customer base grew rapidly through word of mouth and with customers showing off to their friends and colleagues the photos of the flowers they had sent.
Very rarely when a customer purchases an item or gift straight out of a catalogue, can it vary so much as what flowers do. I cannot think of any other retail product/service that the customer pays his/her money over in such faith as with the floral industry. You wouldn’t order a blue shirt, size XL, send it to your friend and then have to contact him and ask what is was like, if he received it and perhaps if he might like to send you a photo of it. So why then has this been so acceptable in the floral industry when it probably costs as much, if not more for that bouquet of flowers that are usually for a special or rear occasion?
Our clients from Rotorua wanting us to send flowers around New Zealand (this had to be done through other florists) were extremely disappointed that they were unable to receive the same service from these florists as it was not offered.
The current process makes it very difficult to know what you are going to get. When ordering flowers in New Zealand to go to 'Aunt Sally' in the UK through a glossy generic brochure at the local florist store, you have no idea of the availability of the flower varieties you chose, the style of work that florist does (another common query we had from our clients/"will they be as stylish as yours?"), and of course neither you or the florist sending the order have any idea of who is filling the order in the UK for you, as head office does the choosing. (I guess this is how they justify their horrendous fees). Are you aware that you can easily loose up to 40% of your order value to the relay services and their affiliates, all the time thinking that you are ordering directly with a real florist?
From the back of our store we came up with [http://www.vuzien.net] We looked at ways in which to make this work. What we came up with was a fantastic website/software package. The software was designed to make the photo sending process much easier than the generic photo sharing/modification software that we were using in the shop.
We employed a local website design firm to develop the site and software to our specifications. Next an intellectual property lawyer was engaged to trademark the name Vuzien and protect the intellectual property. She also told us that most people have a great idea in their life time but don’t follow through with their idea for various reasons.
Our original direction for this business was to license this package to one of the 'Big Boys' of our industry so as we could continue to build our florist shop (floristry is our #1 passion).
Needless to say we were 'laughed out the door too many times to mention, mostly due to the fact that it would highlight just how much value the consumer is losing through relay fees, (to reduce the charges for their relay services obviously is not an option, even though it costs next to nothing to communicate to others throughout the world).
We are now happily on a path where we have started from scratch and are building our own unique brand of Customer Focused, Independent Florists.
This in hindsight is a much better path for us and our industry. Every florist that joins Vuzien receives immediate 100% payment for every order they receive through the Vuzien website. No commissions, No relay fees, just a group of like minded business people wanting the best for their businesses and their clients. We believe so strongly in these principals that we sold our shop in February and now work full time on developing and marketing Vuzien to both the consumers and the florists. With using this service to build our customer base, we were able to then sell our 16 month old shop within 5 weeks of advertising it privately.
With Vuzien customers are guaranteed to connect directly to an independent florist's website or email to place their order and receive confirmation of their flower delivery vi Send Flowers to Australiaa an email link to view the flowers that were sent on their behalf.