Jason Del Rey

Recent Posts by Jason Del Rey

Amazon Has Quietly Launched Its Own Online Flower Shop

Add Amazon to the list of startups getting into the flower business.

Over the past month, the Seattle-based online retailer has started to sell and ship its own flowers through something it is calling the Amazon Curated Flower Collection. Previously, shoppers could only buy fresh flowers on Amazon through third-party sellers.

AllThingsD first noticed the offering in an email from Amazon to consumers earlier this month.

An Amazon spokesman confirmed that the company started selling flowers directly in early August.

“At Amazon, we continually look for ways to delight our customers and we are pleased to provide them this opportunity to conveniently purchase fresh cut flowers,” Amazon spokesman Scott Stanzel wrote in an email.

As of now, the offering is limited in many ways. For one, Amazon only seems to be selling six flower arrangments to choose from — five of which contain roses — though some styles offer multiple flower colors. A dozen roses of assorted colors is currently selling for $28.92.

All six of the arrangement types are eligible for free delivery through Amazon Prime, although there is a note on the order pages stating that even though the bouquets are in stock, they might take an extra day or two to process.

But delivery is available only to the 48 contiguous states. Another restriction — and an important one for those buying flowers for special occasions — is that Amazon does not currently allow shoppers to schedule a delivery date.

“We are not able to offer scheduled delivery yet,” said a section of a frequently asked questions area, “but are working to bring you this feature as soon as possible.”

The fact that Amazon said the feature will be added is a strong indication that this is in fact a new business line, and not a mere test.

It’s still unclear, though, where Amazon is sourcing the flowers from — flower shops, flower distributors or directly from farms?

Over the past couple of years, online flower-selling startups such as The Bouqs and H.Bloom have raised venture capital and offered new pricing models as they try to take business away from older online flower sellers such as 1-800-FLOWERS.com and ProFlowers.

But if Amazon has proven one thing so far, it’s that it has the resources and distribution network to at least attempt to tackle just about any retail category. If it expands its flower selection, which seems likely, and adds scheduled delivery, consumers could soon find themselves with another compelling flower-delivery option to consider.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work