Study: Internet Flower Sites Fail Mother’s Day Test

It was a disappointing Mother’s Day for those who went online to send flowers, according to data released Tuesday by Nielsen//NetRatings and Keynote Systems.

The Internet performance firms reported that 25 percent of Mother’s Day orders placed at three popular flower sites — 1-800Flowers.com, Flowersdirect.com and Proflowers.com — were not delivered on time.

In contrast, all four candy sites evaluated — Chocoholic.com, Ethel M., Godiva, and See’s Candies — delivered 100 percent of Mother’s Day orders on time, the firms said.

“Online users only care that they can get to the site, get there quickly and be confident that their orders will arrive on time,” said Daniel Todd, chief technologist of public services at Keynote. “Therefore, sites need to be prepared.”

Best Laid Plans

Although some flower buyers waited until the last minute, NetRatings said that others planned ahead.

Traffic to Proflowers.com more than doubled during the week ending May 6th, more than a week before Mother’s Day (May 13th). Proflowers.com’s traffic jumped from 99,000 the previous week to 219,000.

Traffic also jumped at 1-800Flowers.com, increasing from 224,000 to 445,000. FTD.com saw a surge from 79,000 to 149,000.

Heavy Load?

With an average load time of less than 3.5 seconds, most flower and gift sites held up well under the increased traffic, according to Keynote.

However, for the three-week period leading up to Mother’s Day, load time for Flowersdirect.com averaged 12.38 seconds and Tiffany.com averaged 11.96 seconds.

“Traffic to flower and greetings card sites show healthy gains and are prime sites during big shopping events,” NetRatings vice president of e-commerce Sean Kaldor said. “Special occasions, like Mother’s Day, continue to draw visitors to e-commerce sites as it provides an easy and convenient way to purchase gifts and send well-wishes.”

Last-Minute Cards

As for the Web’s top greeting cards sites, Blue Mountain Arts saw almost 2 million unique visitors on Mother’s Day but was able to deliver “exceptional performance,” with the home page having 100 percent availability and an average load time of 1.51 seconds.

Blue Mountain card recipients were able to access their cards in 1.06 seconds with 100 percent availability, the study said.

With a little over 1 million unique visitors on Mother’s Day, Americangreetings.com also performed well, with an average load time of 3.08 seconds and 99.5 percent availability for the front page, and 2.98 second load time and 99.4 percent availability for card pickups.

Keynote said that performance of greetings card sites for Mother’s Day was much improved over Valentine’s Day, when availability degraded under heavy demand.

2 Comments

  • I couldn’t agree more! I went online to deliver flowers to my mother at her place of business Monday, the day following Mother’s Day. I was told by 800flowers.com that they couldn’t deliver non-perishables on Monday. So, I decided to deliver them early at my mother’s home on Saturday. They upcharged me $20.00 for delivery, even though there was an alleged $10 special advertised on their site. I was notified that I had to pay extra because I ordered roses. This was not clear on the site at all and what is the most disappointing is that the online customer service was pretty much non-existent. I had to obtain all of my answers the old-fashioned way, over the phone. The only reason I continued to do business with them is because I had a gift certificate but I will not anymore in the future. Just my own opinion, thanks for reading!

  • I actually did not experience any of those problems when ordering flowers the week

    before Mom’s Day – I live in the UK and my Mom is in Florida. I checked several sites

    in the US and all loaded quickly and provided the info I needed.

    I eventually went with FTD.com as they had the flowers that I was after – it was processed

    very quickly, order confirmed and delivered within the time slot I was told.

    Bit of shame really that all are measured by three sites – being in this business myself,

    I know that it always seems a few spoil it for those who are doing great – FTD.com,

    keep up the good work!!!

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