Online florists are a dime a dozen, but a handful stick out for adherence to value, customer service, impressively large and varied selection, freshness, originality and quality of their delivery services. Of this handful, two floral delivery companies make it to the top of every review list. Clients typically accord them high star ratings. Year after year, ProFlowers and 1-800-Flowers.com are both ranked as the top go-to spots for ordering flowers online. The following is a comparison of the two.

ProFlowers

ProFlowers is rated the "best overall" by the New York Daily News and "best value" by The Wall Street Journal. In the past, Top Ten Reviews has given the retailer its Top Ten Bronze Award for online flower delivery. ProFlowers promises seven days of guaranteed freshness. It carries a mammoth selection that is updated regularly, and it packages its flowers in a range of classic to sleekly modernized styles. Each bouquet comes with an average choice of four different matching vases.

ProFlowers Selection

The company also features sophisticated arrangements for special occasions such as Sleep in Peace wreaths, rose-crossed crosses and casket sprays for funerals; fresh, budding Stargazer Lilies for the romantic; and Seven Stalks of Lucky Bamboo for the ill. ProFlowers also goes beyond flowers to original fruit and gift collections. These include a honey brown bear that plays peek-a-boo with the newborn; sky-blue speckled and chocolate dotted strawberries for the birthday boy; and a Californian Wine Trio Gift Basket for the executive in your life. Gifts can also be personalized.

The company’s latest innovation is a Gift of the Month club where you can gift your recipient with three, six or 12 months of fruit. Positive reviews stress the competitive pricing, 24/7 sensitive customer service, the extensive wedding collection and freshness of flowers. Customers also enjoy frequent sales and discount options. ProFlowers carries Veriflora and Fair Trade certifications, and its website publishes detailed instruction on how to care for plants and flowers. The sheer amount of information and selection makes the company a top-notch flower provider.

Consumer Complaints

Most complaints generate from delivery problems. Some customers complain about flower quality. The one almost unanimous complaint is the fact the company's flowers almost always arrive with a vase and hydrating sponge, but you have to unwrap and arrange the flowers yourself. Depending on circumstance and recipient, some find this disappointing and irksome.

1-800-Flowers.com

The floral service 1-800-Flowers.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: FLWS) carries an equally wide floral selection to that of ProFlowers with some additional categories such as “I’m sorry” and “Retirement” gifts. Its non-floral gift baskets extend to meat and cheese, spa gifts and special diet options; otherwise, it carries similar fruit baskets and personalized cookies to those of ProFlowers. The company also sells Keepsake Gifts, Gifts for Him and Her, and Signature Collections. Users may find the website distracting and overcrowded.

1-800-Flowers.com Selection

The company promises same-day delivery and several discount and loyalty programs. These include Deal of the Week and a Sale section. Flowers are usually reduced by an average of $10. Veterans and their families receive a 25 to 30% discount. Like ProFlowers, 1-800-Flowers.com holds Veriflora and Fair Trade certifications. It provides live chat, and its shipping rates are on par with ProFlowers. Packaging is just as snazzy as ProFlowers. It promises same-day delivery seven days a week including, in some locations, on holidays. Unfortunately, the typically high volume of orders means deliveries often arrive past the due dates. The company features personalized gift options. You can cancel your order up until it is en route. 1-800-Flowers.com differentiates itself from competitors by being the only floral provider that offers customized floral arrangements.

Consumer Complaints

Most complaints pivot around comparative high product pricing and costs of service or shipping charges. There are a number of consumer complaints about delivery problems. Many consumers are disappointed by the fact that although the bouquets arrive packaged with instructions, preservatives and vase, recipients have to assemble the arrangement themselves. This detracts from the wow factor.

The Bottom Line

ProFlowers and 1-800-Flowers.com show various similarities. Both companies feature huge selections of freshly preserved flowers and carry comparable shipping and service rates. Consumers praise the customer service. Both carry impressive selections of nonfloral gifts for all occasions and events. 1-800-Flowers.com may have a slightly more eclectic and larger nonfloral selection than that of ProFlowers. This busyness makes it more difficult to enjoy its charms. ProFlowers, on the other hand, distinguishes itself by its breadth of floral-related information. In both cases, customers mention their disappointment at having to organize the bouquets. Also, in both cases, consumers complain that actual deliveries fall short of the splendor of the online images. However, this is to be expected.