BloomNation has launched a new platform that allows its member florists to send and receive orders directly from each other — an initiative the company said is modeled after Venmo, a popular app that allows consumers to digitally transfer money without using cash, checks or individual banks.
Farbod Shoraka, co-founder and CEO, said the Florist-to-Florist network — which lets sending florists determine the sales split and communicate directly with the receiving shop on order details — provides a “streamlined option” for BloomNation florists who want to receive and fulfill out-of-town orders but do not want to belong to a wire service, navigate order-gatherers or spend time looking online for individual shops that can fill orders.
Since its founding seven years ago, BloomNation has positioned itself as an alternative to traditional wire services, and Shoraka said the new network is a continuation of that brand and a logical next step for the company.
“While we fundamentally disagree with the concept of order-gathering, we built our platform to facilitate florists looking to service their clients outside their delivery areas,” he said. “We made our network more like Venmo, where florists can simply send money to another florist and describe what their customer would like for the design.”
The network is open only to BloomNation florists and members can opt in at no additional charge. Orders received through the network are split 90/10 between the receiving florist and BloomNation — the same breakdown for orders received through all the company’s online portals. Sending florist will immediately be notified via email/text once an order is accepted, declined or delivered. Receiving florists are paid within 48 hours. Customer payments are processed through the sending florists’ POS and the split between florists happens via BloomNation’s secure platform.
The initiative has been a personal project of Shoraka, who left a career in investment banking to help found BloomNation, which was inspired in part by his florist aunt and some of the challenges she faced as a local florist. He took a hands-on role in building the new network, which required about six months in development plus a beta testing period.
At press time, about 1,000 of the company’s 3,000 florists have opted into Florist-to-Florist.
“All the data we already have on our local florists made this possible,” Shoraka said, pointing to information such as minimum order amounts, delivery fees, order cut-off times and more, which sending florists can use to help find the best fit for the order. “My goal was to make it a frictionless experience. I don’t want people declining orders, so that means that we have to help the sending florist accurately pick the best receiving florist and put the receiving florist in the best posting to get the orders they want to receive.”
Shoraka said his ultimate goal is for BloomNation to be as “hands-off” as possible in the transaction. “We want this to be pure florist-to-florist, with the tech just acting as a layer to transmit the order.”
Mary Westbrook is the editor in chief of Floral Management.