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