It’s another typical tale of a tragic romance. Australians have been jilted by their unrequited love of online retail once again.
Online florist, Ready Flowers bungled its same-day delivery guarantee, causing uproar as Australian consumers took to online forums and social media sites to voice their bitter disappointment.
The flower sales site began Down Under in 2005, but has since expanded to 17 countries. The brand owes its success, at least in part, for its advertised same-day delivery on orders placed before 1pm. However, consumers discovered that this week’s timely Valentine’s Day orders were delivered up to two days late, and in come cases not at all.
The issue was further compounded when, after the brand’s Facebook page was inundated with complaints, Ready Flowers decided to block all further posts.
NSW Fair Trading told The Age it had received “a number of complaints” and had since appointed a case officer to handle them. Case officers are only appointed in matters that are considered of serious concern.
Meanwhile, Ready Flowers re-opened its Facebook page with a message asking people who haven’t received their deliveries to fill in a survey via a Facebook app. Unfortunately, those customers already voiced their complaints on sites such as productreview.com.au, Whirlpool and fair-trading.com.
While the online florist did attempt to handle the situation via social media quickly, the move to initially block further complaints may prove costly.
Unable to handle the sheer volume of calls, Ready Flowers’ customer service centre was also largely unavailable for most of the week.
“Flowers ordered for Valentine’s day still have not been delivered – 3 days later!” a user wrote on Whirlpool. “Their call centre is shut & their Facebook page is closed.”
The Hegarty family in Western Australia owns the business, while Managing Director Thomas Hegarty lives in Hong Kong, promoting its international expansion. None of the Hegarty’s responded to The Age’s request for comment today.
However, in a previous interview with the Australian Financial Review in 2009, Thomas Hegarty revealed his secret to the brand’s rapid expansion.
“We saw that we could add value by applying more efficient technology without needing a large number of people to run the business,” Hegarty said.
In this case, it appears that Ready Flowers should have relied less on “efficient” technologies and invested in better fulfilment and customer support infrastructure.