Getting It Backwards: Free Websites For Florists

The promise of a free floral website is grossly misleading, and represents an expensive step backwards for most florists.


"Free" is powerful, making it something many vendors are keen to exploit. They'll do almost anything to portray their product/service as free even when they actually represent incredibly expensive alternatives.

One example is the introduction of "free" websites for florists. Some vendors are now offering "free" e-commerce floral websites, hoping to take advantage of the magic that comes with the promise of "free".

Of course these websites aren't free at all. Instead of charging the florist a fixed monthly or yearly fee they take 30% of every order that goes through the website.

This of course gets incredibly expensive very quickly. There is a full breakdown on the true costs of a free floral website available online, but for now just consider a very low volume site that generates just four $50 orders each month.

This translates into $2400 in annual online sales, with $720 going to pay for the "free" website. Even in this low volume scenario that is $120 more than it would have cost the florist for a standard Flower Shop Network website. The "free" florist website is actually more expensive than a paid alternative.

And it just gets worse as volume goes up. Consider a florist that does $50K in online sales annually:

If those florists had "free" websites they would be giving away $15,000+ each year. The free website that they hoped might save them maybe $1,200 ends up costing them almost $15,000.

This is almost $14,000 more than a florist would pay for a fully customized website from the best providers of customer websites in the floral industry – vendors like Strider Florist 2.0 and Epic Flowers.


It's Also Completely Backwards!

It's not uncommon for a new business to choose higher variable costs than lower fixed costs simply because their lower volumes and cash flow means they can't take advantage of, or benefit from, the savings that come with fixed costs.

Here is an old school example. Twenty years ago it was still common for florists to fax their floral orders into their wholesalers. A new shop, with limited capital and low volume, would often choose to pay the convenience store in the mall a couple of bucks a page to send the fax for them (a variable cost).

But as soon as they could afford it they bought a fax machine (a fixed cost) so they could enjoy significant savings. You never heard a florist say "I can't wait to ditch this fax machine and pay much more to have someone else send these faxes!".

But that is what's happening here, all because the word "free" is so powerful. It can blind some florists to the fact that a "free" website will ultimately cost them much more.