Social Flowers

Social Flowers is an innovative idea!  If you are part of a social network (and let’s face it…who isn’t nowadays) then using ‘Social Flowers’, you can send flowers, gift baskets, balloons to another member of your social network even though you don’t necessarily have their contact information, name, address etc.

Business Model:
Like most online flower stores, customers are charged for the actual items along with a service charge.  Items range from around $35 and can go up to $200 or thereabouts.  If you wanted to be even more extravagant than that, I’m sure Social Flowers will probably create something just for you and your social networking pal!  Thankfully there is no distracting google ads etc so this is a nice clean site.

Some Core Functionality:
Here is how the process works.

  • In a social network, the sender selects the Social Flowers application. The sender then selects the recipient of the flowers from their list of friends.
  • When the recipient has been selected, the senders clicks on a link which takes the sender from the social network to the SocialFlowers.com website.
  • At SocialFlowers.com, the sender chooses the flower selection, goes through checkout and enters credit card information.
  • The sender is returned to the social network. The Social Flowers application inside the social network sends an email on the sender’s behalf to the recipient letting them know that they have been sent real flowers.
  • In the social network, the recipient receives an email letting them know they have been sent flowers from the sender. The recipient clicks on the link in the email and goes to SocialFlowers.com where they are asked to provide an address for the delivery of flowers. The recipient is returned to the social network after a delivery address has been provided.
  • Social Flowers fulfills the delivery of fresh flowers to the recipient from the sender using our network of over 30,000 local florists across the United States and Canada.

Likes:
This is a nice and simple business model and it’s interesting that a ‘traditional’ business like a flower delivery service is working to cross the web 2.0 digital divide and with luck capitalize on the relationships people are establishing online.

  • A key ‘like’ is that I just plain haven’t seen this kind of business before so you have to tip your hat to the maverick that thought of the idea. For that reason alone, I wish them loads of luck!

Dislikes:
I have a few concerns:

  • Will people really pay $40 to pay to send flowers to a person they have never met, don’t even know their real names or where they live?  Isn’t part of the joy of giving seeing the persons face after receiving your thoughtful gift?  My wife and Mother are lucky if I send them flowers using an online service – would I or most other people really be thoughtful enough to send flowers to someone they don’t ‘really’ know?
  • The site is bland.  The design could be much more innovative, especially as it’s supposed to appeal to the web 2.0 crowd. At this stage it looks like a template that they have been given by an interflora type company. Social Flowers is part of Florist One who state they are first and foremost a florist. That’s good to know but come on guys – turn the visual experience up a notch!
  • I’ve received phishing emails telling me someone has sent me virtual flowers and the like.  This may cause challenges for this business model given someone is receiving flower notifications from people they don’t know. Does Social Flowers still charge even if the flowers can’t be delivered or aren’t received?

Suggestions:

  • As they are focused on web 2.0 market, try using some of the common tools of this space.  Customer reviews, send to friend, bookmarking, community etc – If community members send each other flowers, add a card with a special reference number to your website so the recipient can write a ‘thank you’ and start a more personal dialogue with the sender via your site.  This would create a lot more traction.

My Virtual Investment:
With my virtual $1M, I would virtually invest $150K as I don’t trust that virtual friends will really do anything more than send virtual flowers to each other.  But perhaps the world really is crazy and I could be VERY wrong about this!

http://www.SocialFlowers.com

Andrew – Founder
http://www.AdvisorGarage.com/community