CEO Charlie Cole explains

FTD’s new approach to better florist relationships

Dating back to its founding over 100 years ago, FTD has been powered by its network of florists. However, over the last few decades, the industry lost its way with florist partners due to financial pressures and a lack of investment and innovation. This, paired with the shift to online and broader challenges of maintaining a small, local business, led to industry-wide shifts and ultimately, FTD to file for bankruptcy in June 2019.

However, when Charlie Cole joined the team as FTD’s new CEO and had a chance to view the brand holistically, it became clear to him that FTD’s business model was truly virtuous - if you give a florist a great experience, they are going to give your customer a great experience, and the customer will continue to come back to FTD. With this in mind, Charlie knew FTD had to get back to its roots and reconnect with its florists.

Charlie Cole 

Florist community had been commoditized
Charlie made it his day-one priority to schedule virtual meetings with 50 of FTD's florist partners to learn what was working, what wasn’t, and where FTD could improve. One thing that came to the surface was that the florist community had been commoditized by FTD and other wire services in the industry for decades.

Treat the florists like true partners.
Because of this, Charlie and his team made it a priority to reinvest in the small businesses behind FTD, and treat the florists like true partners. Some tactical and immediate changes that were made to improve the relationship include:

  • Reimagining their offerings with florists’ profitability in mind, simplifying everything from the arrangements to the number of vases offered. As a result, customer satisfaction has continued to increase for both FTD and its florist partners.
  • An ongoing collaboration with florist partners to improve forecast accuracy, which has increased sell-through rates by 15% and resulted in less waste.
  • The adoption of new farm partnerships, which has provided a wider breadth of product selection and additional distribution points for fresher products.

Rebuilding its relationship with its florists
FTD is striving for their logo to hold as much weight as its heyday for both florists and customers and will continue to be hyper-focused on rebuilding their relationship with its florists. You can expect to see continued changes being made to operational and technology partners to better service its florists and customers.


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