Delivering flower arrangements quickly and efficiently can be daunting. Today, though, florist point-of-sale (POS) systems, like those from the wire services and any of a number of other independent companies, have routing, mapping and other tools to help with the delivery process. I have collected here a set of useful delivery-related phone apps that can augment the technology tools you might already have on hand with your POS system.
• WAZE (waze.com) This app (recently purchased by Google) is the best for dodging traffic. Waze is a free community- based app that relies on users to provide information on traffic jams, accidents and more. You automatically contribute data, such as the average speed on a given road, just by driving. Waze learns your preferred routes to repeated destinations and guides you using those routes. It also helps you find the cheapest gas in your area. For handsfree control, Waze accepts voice commands, enabling you to navigate around town more easily than ever.
• GLYMPSE (glympse.com) Want to see where your drivers are at a given time? Glympse tracks people’s movements in real time. See their stops and speed of travel, and get a view of where drivers are on their routes. People can set it so that their locations are available to you only during work hours.
Glympse even allows you to send routes by email to others, so if you want to let customers or recipients know that drivers are en route with their flowers, they will be able to watch a driver’s progress on a map and see when he or she has arrived.
• IPHONE MESSENGER/FIND FRIENDS This tool makes it easy to share a driver’s location with the shop. This is for iPhone only, but no install is required. Click on the messenger icon, and then “Details,” and then “Share My Location.”
• GOOGLE MAPS (maps.google.com) This great all-around app has some features you may not know about. The search function is topnotch, and the turnby- turn directions are well-timed. There are even auto suggestions and predictions based on your past searches. Once a driver is on his or her way, the app continually checks the speed of alternate routes, popping up options for switching to faster ones when they’re available.
Lesser known is Google Maps’ ability to navigate with downloadable maps offline, complete with voice directions, so no data is needed. For shops in areas with poor cell coverage, this can be a lifesaver.
• GASBUDDY (gasbuddy.com) This is, hands down, the best tool (app and website) for finding the lowest gas prices, as well as how your state’s price per gallon compares with the rest of the country.
• AAA (aaa.com) If a delivery vehicle ever breaks down on the road, the AAA app lets you call a local AAA rep with a single button press.
William O’Shea is the co-founder of Floranext (floranext.com), creator of florist websites, florist point-of-sale (POS) and florist software. Floranext offers florist technology built by florists for florists. The Floranext team ran a flower shop for 40 years before developing its florist software company. Contact William by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (415) 906-2850.