The Dutch Flower Stand Reinvented

BloomHouse Mini-10 Automated Flower Stand by QuickFlora.jpg

Spending time around Amsterdam last week for the IFTF and Flora Holland shows, one can’t help but notice how modern technologies have trickled into every aspect of the Dutch consumer life “outside” of the flower business.

The Dutch clearly lead the world in growing the best flowers possible and excel at the logistics of moving those flowers where needed. The irony is, the retail end of the market suffers from the same negative factors present in North America. There is contraction at the retail brick and mortar level, stagnant growth and the continued expansion of the mass market channel. All these factors are bad for growers - both in the short-term and the long-term.


The traditional economics of the present flower stand model (high labor, limited hours, inconsistent product quality, no delivery) just does not fit the needs of the modern consumer. The Dutch have readily adopted other modern services such as online shopping, app-based transportation, mobile driven food delivery and a host of other modern ways to request products and services.

While Uber will take you anywhere around town and Uber Eats will bring you food whenever you want it, the present day “Bloemen Stand” seems stuck in a time warp that it can’t escape. One of our goals at QuickFlora is to find ways to totally automate the sales and delivery process for flower stands and allow them to compete in a modern world where technology and smartphones are at the core of almost everything consumers do. This allows them to sell more product at lower price points (and/or higher margins) than they ever have in the past. This makes them economically viable as a business model once again.

BloomHouse Mini-10-image.jpg

The two goals of the Flora Holland 2020 plan are clearly stated 1.) to increase consumer consumption of flowers and 2.) to increase margins for growers. That is not going to happen anytime soon unless there is a profound shift in the value consumers receive for their money. As we say in America, the definition of “insanity” is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a “different” result.

While there are clearly large-scale technology initiatives being made by many Dutch companies large and small, almost none of them are focused on giving the consumer more value, faster delivery or a higher quality product in the flower business. They are all focused on the B2B flower market, but very few on the B2C flower market. Online initiatives to sell and ship more flowers are the exception.


Many people have asked us, how can you have a flower stand without people? The reality is there are already a host of consumer services that have moved to total automation in a world dominated by mobile apps and online shopping. Drones, robotics and Ai (artificial intelligence) will continue to permeate every aspect of the B2C market in the years to come. Those companies that embrace these trends will prosper – and those that ignore them, do so at their own peril.

When a consumer is given a chance to purchase a higher quality product at a lower price point (24/7) they will usually gravitate toward those companies. The Dutch consumer is not that different from the American consumer in that regard, in fact, from what I have observed, they are even more focused on value than the typical American consumer.

We are actively looking for Dutch partners to help us expand into the European market with our new BloomHouse in order to create a new sales channels for flower companies. If your company has an interest, by all means, let’s talk.

For our Dutch friends, more information is available in on our website at:

BloomHouse voor kwekers


BloomHouse is een revolutionair nieuw bedrijfsmodel dat telers in staat stelt om meer actieve spelers in de wereldwijde bloemenindustrie te zijn. Door een nieuw, schaalbaar, volledig geautomatiseerd verkoopkanaal voor telers te creëren, kunt u nu meer winstmarge op uw bloemen behalen. Telers hebben vandaag de dag vaak de controle verloren over wanneer of waar hun product wordt verkocht - en voor welke prijs. In sommige gevallen worden ze gereguleerd door een aanbieder van handelswaren die naar goeddunken van de massamarktkopers gemakkelijk wordt vervangen. We hebben BloomHouse ontwikkeld als een manier voor telers om financieel deel te nemen aan de meerwaardeketen tijdens het traject dat de bloemen afleggen op weg naar de consument.

Voor telers die hun eigen bloemen in de waardeketen willen beheersen en de hoogste prijs voor hun producten willen verkrijgen - terwijl ze tegelijkertijd een verkooppunt hebben voor onverkochte bloemen - BloomHouse is de perfecte pasvorm voor zo’n zakelijk doel. We maken het zo makkelijk mogelijk om uw verkoop onmiddellijk uit te breiden door alle benodigde ondersteunende dienstverlening te leveren, zonder dat u extra personeel hoeft aan te nemen. In sommige gevallen rijden uw vrachtwagens al op de routes die u zou kunnen kiezen om een loomHouse te vestigen. Met sommige toonaangevende klanten op de massamarkt kan het zinvol zijn om hen een loomHouse op elk van hun locaties aan te bieden om de bestaande verkoop te helpen uitbreiden. De mogelijkheden zijn echt eindeloos en snel schaalbaar binnen 90 dagen of zelfs nog minder.

Het lijdt ook geen twijfel dat de bloemenconsumptie per hoofd van de bevolking in Noord-Amerika aanzienlijk hoger zal worden aangezien de consumenten in de komende jaren sneller (24/7) verse bloemen kunnen kopen via smartphones en tabletten.

Flower Truck for Sale in Miami

We are big believers at QuickFlora with more innovative ways to sell fresh flowers in a "mobile" fashion that takes full advantage of social media and low fixed costs. We could not think of a better way to extend your flower brand or create a new one in your city than with this type of flower truck.

Full credit goes to the founder here for having the vision and testing out this new concept in the Miami area for the last year. They proved that there is a business model here that can work in many cities across the country.


While we are posting this on their behalf as they have it for sale (truck and or brand name), we think this is just a fabulous low cost way to expand into a new floral sales channel that is still untapped. Call them to find out more information. I am sure this can be shipped anywhere in the US.


Details from Owner:

2000 workhorse FT 1061
Brand new Mach 13.k AC with warranty
Cummins Onan Generator 120/ 240 V 5.5K Installed in March 2017with warranty
Cabinets custom made. Granite table top. Sink with portable water. 2 seats in front for driver and passenger.
Awning is included on truck.
Includes: vases, flower food, proconas, and flower sleeves. Extension cords inc
$39,000 US

Contact: Priscilla Gonzalez,
Chief Petal Pusher
305 853 6475


QuickFlora Introduces BloomHouse On-Demand Flower Lockers


Fort Lauderdale, FL: Today, QuickFlora, a leader in floral technology and marketing innovation announced the availability of BloomHouse flower lockers for the US market.


Alex Frost, CEO of QuickFlora, explains the idea behind BloomHouse. “We introduced this new concept as a way for flower companies to expand sales with minimal variable costs”. “Using our ICON software technology, any company can efficiently operate a kiosk 24/7/365 anywhere they have a ground lease available.”


A New Way for Consumers to Purchase Flowers

As consumers gravitate toward real-time, on-demand consumers products - a BloomHouse flower locker allows a company to service this market with minimal variable costs. It can even be used to expand an existing local brand or franchise without investing in new brick and mortar locations.



Powered by QuickFlora Technology

As a leader in web-based ERP systems for floral companies, QuickFlora software allows a company to manage perishable inventory on a individual product basis. This ensures maximum freshness for consumers and minimal spoilage. Our unique QuickFlora technology has been stress tested over the last decade with some of the largest flower retailers in North America ensuring profitable BloomHouse management.  

Organically Growing the Flower Market

Thirty years ago, supermarkets did not sell flowers. Today consumers purchase over six billion dollars a year in fresh flowers from over 23,000 mass market locations. The mass market providers proved that if you made the product easy to buy and priced it right, consumers would buy more flowers. We believe there exists an even larger untapped flower market once consumers have fresh, quality flowers available to them at Uber speed - 24/7/365.



About QuickFlora, Inc.: QuickFlora developes innovative technology and marketing solutions for flower companies in North America. Founded in 2010, QuickFlora has designed, developed and maintained web based ERP/POS systems for some of the largest flower companies in the country.

Will robots be arranging your flowers soon?

It’s no secret that many people in the hospitality and retail industry are starting to roll out new concepts that involve using robotic technologies. Some of the benefits boasted by such businesses include the elimination of training new employees, robots are more efficient and make fewer errors, robots can be trained to complete all duties and responsibilities rather than just a few, and they do not become ill with proper maintenance. Robots are not without fault, however the cost savings and productivity improvements are making hundreds of thousands of people’s jobs expendable.


With labor accounting for such a large part of the flower growing process and up to 30 percent of a flower shop’s operating expenses, it seems a natural fit for the flower industry and robotics. These robots work 24/7, never require a coffee break, and insurance costs drop significantly by eliminating the need for employee liability protection.

How long until we see a full automated greenhouse? Maybe not as long as people might think. Several companies are already trying to automate greenhouse and nursery operations.


I know more than a few flower shops that were burning the midnight oil in a mad rush to keep up with the demand of Valentine’s Day this year, and they could sure have used some help like this! If a robot can cook and flip pancakes, it won't be long before they are keeping mass market flower coolers fresh and up to date...

Harvest Automation is already building robots for growers with a $10 million round of funding. Check out the neat video on their home page.

The future is here. Embrace it. Welcome it. Or, it will pass you by.

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Competition is Blooming in the Flower Business


Many people called and emailed questioning if “a flower shop with no employees” was even possible after the article I published last week. It is great to see such a concept engage the industry so passionately!

The reality is, the concept already exists in various forms all around us. I suppose it just depends on what you consider a “flower vendor” these days. To me, it is anyone that provides flowers to consumers whether it be a full-service flower shop, a supermarket, an airport kiosk, or a website or mobile app selling flowers. These are all variations of flower sellers in one form or another. A website selling flowers is really just a storefront with no salespeople, at least on the front end. We all know that so many unseen people work on the back end in terms of fulfillment.


A flower shop using courier services is a flower shop with no drivers, or trucks for that matter. Do people really care if your own truck pulls up with the delivery of a courier, a taxi, or an Uber driver? People care much more how FAST you deliver AND if you delivered what you promised rather than they do about seeing your name on the truck.

A supermarket floral department is another example of a flower shop with no employees. Ever try and ask someone about the flowers at a supermarket? Chances are there was no one around to help you, and that was by design. How about the flower cooler box at Costco? This is another example of an unmanned flower shop averaging over $1 million in annual revenue with over 400 locations. An airport flower kiosk is also an unmanned flower shop in a basic sense. In many airports worldwide, they stock flowers and people buy the flowers self-serve style while the vendor restocks the cooler.

Remember how we all used to pump gas? No one would let you “touch” the gas pumps in the old days. Now, no one will help you pump the gas! What happened? Gas stations realized people would rather save 20 cents a gallon than have a full-service gas station. How is this any different with a self-service flower kiosk or supermarket?

The reality is that the market evolves to fill the needs of consumers in many forms. Consumers respond to whichever business options are presented to them, good or bad. We tend to make things too complicated for consumers in the flower business.

The free market will determine if Amazon can succeed with a supermarket without employees. I believe this model already exists to some degree. Other than a cashier, who else do you see working in many major supermarket these days? It already feels like there is no one working there some days. :-) Why not just make it official and put in some helpful robots in the aisles?

To those who view the contraction of the traditional florist retail model as a negative, perhaps consider all the alternative and evolving flower purchasing options already in existence within the market today, and keep an open mind about the future. Someone once told me ten years ago there was big business selling flowers “in a box” without a flower shop. Then came ProFlowers. That market segment is now worth nearly $2 billion dollars and continues to grow annually.

If someone had told me years ago that they could order wedding flowers from Sam's Club and Costco, I would have found that ridiculous. The reality of the flower industry is that there are dozens of websites selling DIY wedding kits and pre-assembled wedding kits these days. Thousands of brides are ordering their flowers without any hand holding.

If someone had told me Americans would pay $4 for a cup of coffee 25 years ago, when I was paying 99 cents at 7-11, I would have said that is absurd. Today, we have Starbucks and we all pay $4 for a cup of coffee. This does not include the billions of dollars consumers spend on gourmet coffee in the mass market segment. Remember Folgers and Sanka?

Starbucks gave us a BETTER product, made it EASY to order with convenient locations and an exceptional buying EXPERIENCE that many of us find much preferable to 7-11, McDonald’s, and donut stores. Do you think there are more coffee shops or less coffee shops than before Starbucks came along? Take a guess. Coffee consumption in the US has catapulted to levels no one thought imaginable 25 years ago. Starbucks, Cold Stone, and Krispy Kreme all proved specialty retail can be successfully reinvented when you focus on the consumer “experience,” when you execute proper branding, and when you are trying new and innovative things in your business.

Rather than focusing on the negatives pertaining to the existing state of the flower business, why not reinvent the flower business? It is so much more fun and exciting. Call me an optimist, but I think the floral industry is on the verge of exploding into a market many times its present size, and it just will not simply be in ways you might expect.

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BloomThat Losing $500,000 Per Month?


That is correct. That is not a typo. Investors gave these boys 7 million dollars to try and figure out a "new" way to sell fresh flowers.

Yes, that is not a type either. SEVEN MILLION dollars. This is the state of venture capital in Silicon Valley. I would like to think that venture capitalist outside of the San Francisco bubble have some better choices out there?  Does it really make any sense to fund people that have never worked in the flower business or even know the basics? 

This is why few, if any, of the venture-backed companies of the last few years will survive. None of them will be able to figure out a cash flow positive business model before they burn through all of this venture money.

Many of us have to raise capital at some point, but the burn rate of some of these start ups is just off the charts and not sustainable.

If they had bothered to ask us how to deliver flowers in LA, we could have saved them quite a bit!

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Is Your Wholesaler Selling to Consumers?

We came across this picture of Katie Holmes shopping at the L.A. Flower Market. This should dispel the myth that "bargain" hunters" only shop at true flower markets. 

We see this more and more as we travel across the country. It is an unmistakable trend. Wholesalers are under pressure to survive with less and less flower shops every year. 

Very few of them deliver, but they do offer consumers a wide variety of fresh cut flowers for personal use, DIY weddings and events, and some even offer classes. 

I know many flower shops refuse to patronize these wholesalers. Are they necessarily a bad thing? 

Our philosophy is that the more companies expose people to flowers, the better. Thirty years ago, supermarkets sold zero flowers. Today, 23,000 supermarkets sell upwards of six billion dollars a year.

Our family flower shop was like many flower shops today. We never made much of an attempt to sell cut flowers to self-service customers. We always viewed it as a "hassle." In effect, we gave away this entire market to the supermarkets by default. The flower industry handed it to them on a silver platter. They took it all. 

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Tired of 2% interest rates, how about a 25% return per month?

The 10 year U.S. Treasuries have now hit an all time low. That means your local bank (may) pay your 1% on the cash you have deposited on hand. 

How about if you could make a 25% return on some of your assets? We are talking about each of your delivery trucks of course.  

The average florist spends about $4,000 a month to put a full-time driver on the road (salary and benefits), plus vehicle lease/loan, fuel, and maintenance. 

That is a $48,000 resource per year just waiting to generate income. The average florist says we hope to "break even" on delivery charges. Why is that so? Does anyone think Fed Ex and UPS just hope to "break even" on delivery charges? It does not have to be that way. 

If a florist moves from a fixed flat delivery charge per zip code to a variable delivery charge based on priority (such as by 10:30am, by noon, etc.), they will normally see a 20% increase in delivery revenues. Add to that same truck an optimized route planning trip tool, and you will save another 10-15% on fuel and labor per month.  


·      $12 for delivery to 90210


·      $12 for delivery by 6pm

·      $14 for delivery by 4pm

·      $18 for delivery by noon

·      $29 for delivery by 10:30am

·      $39 for exact time delivery

All of the sudden, that $4,000 resource is now generating an extra $1,000 a month in revenue. Bingo, 25% return without investing a single dollar. 

 Don't settle for "break even" on delivery services. No one else in the delivery service industry does, nor should you.  

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So the Queen is selling flowers now?

Look for Queen Latifah at your local supermarket soon. 

In what is a growing trend, celebrities are lending their names to flower ventures to help sell more products to more flower consumers. 

While this licensed lined of arrangements (farm bouquets really) is designed for the mass market, there is considerable upside in having flowers as a lifestyle product gain greater acceptance into the U.S. mass market. 

The more people buying flowers every day, the better for all involved in the flower business. Remember that in Europe the per capita consumption of flowers is many times higher than it is in North America. 

Who thought Americas would pay $5 for a cup of coffee 25 years ago? No one did. Not 7-Eleven, not Dunkin Donuts...not until Howard Schultz came along and started Starbucks. The coffee market is now ten times larger thanks to him. 

A rising tide lifts all ships. Embrace the newcomers, the more the better!

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Is Yelp Holding Your Flower Shop Hostage?


We hear this type of story often these days.

A phoney review on Yelp about your flower shop, and Yelp won't do a thing to help you remove it. Unless, of course, you sign up for a $500 per month "plan." Then the salesperson seems to imply, "something can be done."

When we first started hearing this, I found it hard to believe as it is borderline extortion, but then it kept coming up over and over again from different florists in various parts of the country. It was then that I realized the salespeople may be promising a bit more than they can deliver. We can especially see this happening in a high commission sales environment.

For those of you frustrated by this, you will be glad to know Yelp is getting a taste of its own medicine in court now. See article below:

If this case is successful in California, maybe this will level the playing field finally with a company that just does not seem to want to do much to prevent false reviews.  

Personally, I think unless the poster is a verified customer, these should not be allowed. 

If you have a similar story to share, please do!

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Does a flower shop need EMV Terminals?

We get asked this question all the time since EMV first rolled out in the United States. 

For over three years we had already been supporting EMV (referred to as Debit-Pin-Chip) in Canada with our florists POS users. 

It is important to note that there is "no" mandatory law that a US merchant use EMV terminals in their business. That is why only 20% of merchants in the US use EMV presently and 80% have taken a wait and see attitude. The high cost of the EMV terminals and software upgrades has not helped either. 

Just recently, Target and Walmart filed suit against the major credit card companies objecting to the current rules put in place by Visa and MasterCard. So there is clearly a ways to go before all the US standards are sorted out. 

Keep in mind, as a florist, EMV liability rules ONLY affect "in person" transactions. If someone walks in and uses a bad card, and you did not have a EMV terminal, you are liable for that transaction. Ask yourself this, when was the last time that happened? 

For most flower shops we talk to, it is less than one in one thousand transactions. It is important to know, this does NOT change anything with telephone and online orders. You are still fully responsible for those orders (in most cases), and nothing has changed there. 

This is not to say cardholder security is not an important issue as it clearly is. But there are so many more security gaps in many flower shops we see every day, that EMV is not the magic bullet that is going to solve all your liability issues. 

Common sense still is the best method. If you received a $44,000 flower order (like that florist in Ontario) from a caller in Africa, don't fill the order until you can properly verify the cardholder actually placed the order! In that case Chase took back the funds after she filled the order.

Sometime next year, we suspect there will be a move towards smart cards and pin codes for each transaction, as opposed to smart card and signature we have now. At that point it will make more sense to look at what the EMV offers from your processor are and if they make economic sense for your flower shop. 

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QuickFlora: One System, No Limits

QuickFlora: One System, No Limits

Point of Sale is what many people think of when they think of QuickFlora, and while it is central to what we offer there are some other tools that can really transform the way you run your business.


Is your system texting you when it detects a delivery is running late or not left the building before the scheduled delivery time? 

Activity Costing

Does your system calculate the exact cost of each delivery stop with labor and fuel costs so you know if you made or lost money on each delivery? 

Digital Signage

Would you like your customers to see your "featured" specials each day on a monitor in the front of your store? 

Call us for more information on any of QuickFlora’s unique features that can lower your costs and increase your sales. 

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Why 5am is the Most Productive Time of Day

Do you love what you do each day? 

I am so glad to see the Wall Street Journal agrees with me....!!!! 

For years people have been giving me a hard time about hitting the floor running at 5am or 6am sharp (voluntarily I might add).  

It's really easy to explain. Do you love what you do? For me, every day is an amazing day filled with new opportunities and sheer joy. Optimism coupled with drive fuels me at that early hour.  

When I think about our boys serving overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan going to "work" each day and getting shot at left and right, I can't imagine ever complaining about my day job after watching Restrepo. When you think about that perspective, who would not be happy to go to work here each day? 

The silence at 5am is deafening. Sometimes, if I am alone in the office, you will hear very loud music at that hour. Lots of people give me dirty looks at 8am when they roll in. 

The Zen time is actually the hours I am most creative. The lack of distractions allows the mind to think outside the box. Some days I will be at the beach with my laptop working there while the sun comes up.  

I love zipping down the freeway just when the stars are still fading out. It is exhilarating to feel so far ahead of every else at that hour! :-)  By the time 8 am rolls around, and I am on the second cup of coffee, I could easily run a marathon some mornings.  

So the next time you see a white car blow by you on the freeway doing 100 at six am you will know where I am going. 

Seize the day early risers! 

P.S. Contrary to people thinking I am a workaholic, my "shift" ends at 6pm EST SHARP and begins the next day at 6am EST. You do have to have a separation between "business" and a "personal" life to have a proper life/work balance.

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FREE WEBINAR: The 21st Century Florist

As a 21st century florist, you’ve likely faced some thorny challenges. In order to succeed in the floral industry today, your business needs superior product, excellent customer service, cutting edge technology and exceptional brand recognition. 

Alex Frost owned, operated and managed retail floral operations in the US and Canada with up to 10 million dollars in sales. He is the founder of several floral technology companies and ventures, including QuickFlora, and on September 28 he will be sharing his firsthand knowledge on how to create a strong floral brand that will make your business thrive.

 To learn more, join QuickFlora at 12pm ET on September 28 for a free webinar titled, “The 21st Century Florist. 

Key Takeaways: 
1. The advantages of integrating your POS, website and mobile apps
2. How to track the cost of each and every delivery
3. Why product standardization work

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How the "On Demand" Economy is Shaping the Flower Business

How long does it take you to deliver flowers?

Can you tell people you deliver all your orders within 90 minutes? Most florists would say that is ridiculous and not even physically possible. Really?

There are already venture-funded startups that are doing just that. Take a look at BloomThat in San Francisco.  Some investors gave them 5M to prove it. They did. Now they want to take as many orders away from tradition flower shops as possible.  

If your local customers have a choice between 90 minute delivery and six hour delivery at the same cost, which one do you think they will choose? Which one do you choose when you are shopping at Amazon? Correct, why would your customers be any different?  

Fed Ex learned long ago that speed is essential in coming out of nowhere to dominate the overnight package business, in spite of major players like UPS that were already in the market. It has taken UPS decades to catch up to Fed Ex. 

Amazon is learning the same thing with Amazon Prime, same day delivery, even same hour in some major markets now. 

If you are not offering one hour delivery to your customers, you are losing a lot of new business (especially young people that only order on smart phones). 

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