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ProFlowers streamlines floral business

  Flowers and food gifts are attractive businesses--and just about every retailer wants a piece--but ProFlowers has improved quality and cut price through superior distribution, making it a tough and growing competitor.

  With so much competition, particularly around the holidays, convenience is the key in floral and food gifts. That's true for a supermarket offering inexpensive bouquets or a catalog specialist offering pricy gift baskets. To top them both, ProFlowers--a 90% Internet, 10% phone business--developed sophisticated systems to get low-cost flowers and food gifts to the consumer in top shape.


 "We took a look at the flower business in the United States," said Bill Strauss, ProFlower's ceo. "The United States is only 16th in per-capita consumption of flowers. The reason Americans say they don't buy more flowers is they cost too much money and they don't last very long."

  Middlemen add costs and up to 12 days of shipment between flower picking and delivery. ProFlowers developed technology and a three-part direct distribution system to ensure floral delivery within three days of cutting. Since its launch in 1998, ProFlowers has been perfecting its distribution, building on it to develop meat and fruit businesses in 2003.

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