Why not all direct to consumer flower companies are created alike
Purchasing flowers from direct to consumer flower companies, like Overnight Flowers, is the best way to purchase flowers online, period. The quality, freshness, and variety of the flowers are far superior to flowers purchased online through floral wire services that fulfill via local flower shops. The main reasons why it’s superior to purchase online flowers direct are your flowers will last longer, no floral substitutions, and more value for the money because the middleman is cut out. For more details on this, read here.
There are, however, differences between direct to consumer floral companies. We at Overnight Flowers assemble our flowers domestically in the United States and ship direct to you next day. A few direct to consumer flower companies have decided on a different path. They have chosen to ship farm direct or often called cut to order. While at first glance, farm direct / cut to order might seem to provide the freshest flowers, buyers should be aware of the many potential issues with farm direct / cut to order flowers. These potential issues can lead to stress and worse, a poor customer experience.
What does farm direct or cut to order mean and how does it work?
When a customer places an order on a farm direct website, the order is sent to an overseas farm where your order is arranged, packed into a customer friendly shipping box, and shipped via an airplane direct to you. Simple, right? Not so fast. Again, it may seem like farm direct flowers make sense and it is simple, but you as a customer should challenge this approach and here’s why:
1) Farm direct flowers, when shipped from overseas, spend less time in refrigeration and more time in warmer (ambient) temperature
It is extremely important for flowers to be refrigerated (we call this the cold chain) for as long as possible because it prevents the flowers from blooming too early and in turn reducing the flower’s lifespan. Think of it like putting the flowers in a dormant state like a bear hibernating through the winter. Further, the longer flowers are without water, especially at non-refrigerated temperatures, the greater chance the flowers will dry out and not be able to be re-hydrated. Flowers need to drink! The importance of refrigeration and hydration of cut flowers is well documented. Geek out if you’d like, but intuition is fine here too.
When flowers are shipped farm direct, they first have to fly from overseas to an airport of entry United States. The flowers then wait clear customs. Then, your flowers are put back on another airline and delivered to you. That’s a minimum of 3 days in transit and up to 5 days without refrigeration! This whole time, your flowers are opening into bloom and unable to drink water. International courier times always are longer than domestic. The longer transit time problem only becomes worse throughout the warmer summer months. We get it, it can be a bit technical, but here is a simple comparison. Overnight Flowers always ships our flowers overnight vs the farm direct at five days in transit. You be the judge and decide what is bet for your flowers.
2) You are at the mercy of US customs when buying farm direct
All farm direct flowers (and most flowers sold in the United States) must clear customs when imported into the United States. Here is a farm direct and customs example: You want to buy your Aunt red roses for her birthday and you purchase from a farm direct website. You select for delivery of the red roses to be made on your Aunt’s birthday as a surprise. You receive a tracking number and you can see the flowers are being shipped from overseas. The tracking number shows delivery on your Aunt’s birthday. Everything is smooth so far. As your Aunt’s birthday gets closer, you check your package’s tracking number again and see there is a tracking exception and the flowers you’ve ordered will no long arrive on your Aunt’s birthday. Why? Customs exceptions happen all the time, especially for fresh / perishable products.
US Customs has the right to open and inspect every package to understand what’s inside. It’s US Custom’s job to understand what is coming into our country. We want US Customs to do this our protection! Sometimes these inspections are random and sometimes not. When the inspections do happen, boxes are opened, contents are checked, and time passes. The key here is that time passes with your flowers in a non-refrigerated space and unable to drink water. In our experience the process can be quick or in extreme circumstances, US Customs may ask for all the flowers to be destroyed. Image your farm direct order during Valentine’s Day shipped through customs. When fresh products are shipped farm direct and exceptions happen, there are few good contingency options, except substitutions.
3) Farm Direct Flowers Have Long lead Times
Lastly, because farm direct or cut to order flowers require up to 5 days in transit when shipped from overseas to arrive at your doorstep from time of order, you must place your order well in advance. While we always encourage planning in advance, if you miss that five-day deadline, farm direct is not an option.
How Overnight Flowers Ships Direct
Overnight Flowers shipping is far simpler and less complicated than farm direct / cut to order. When a customer places an order with us, we deliver the order quickly the next day. No customs to deal with or long transportation times.
When Overnight Flowers ships to your flowers direct, we put the customer first. Here is our pledge to you:
- Our flowers are refrigerated until they are shipped to ensure your flowers are at their peak of freshness and last their longest
- Your flowers ship overnight. We deliver our flowers next day with free shipping. It’s in our name. Your flowers will not spend day upon day in transit
- We import our flowers before we sell them to you. So, if we have issues importing our flowers, that’s our issue and does become yours
- All our arrangements are made to order and arranged right here in the United States.
- Want your order next day? No lead time concerns with us