Online shopping continues to revolutionize the retail world, and the cremation services industry is no different. Although Canada is not yet the online consumer that the United States is, we are growing and we are growing fast. Online sales in Canada are increasing at 15-20% per year and have doubled in the past 5 years. As we pull away from the standard retail stores of electronics, clothing and malls; we are settling into our favorite easy chair with our tablets for a comfortable night of shopping. Could this shopping experience one day include planning and purchasing cremation services for yourself or a loved one? Turns out, it already has.
Cremation providers are getting busier every year as an increasing number of people are foregoing the stress of traditional funeral services. Cremation rates in Ontario are growing 1-2% per year and are expected to reach 70% by 2016. This still pales in comparison to other parts of the country such as British Columbia where the cremation rates are over 90%. It is a natural evolution for these services to be available online to those in need.
Basic Funerals was the first funeral provider to offer online cremation services back in 2009. We are proud to say we have served over 5,000 families, the majority of which have chosen to complete the arrangements online. I have summarized the top five reasons we hear over and over again from our clients, why they preferred to arrange our cremation services online compared to the traditional in person meeting.
1. Life is complicated, death should be easy
Buying anything online is always easier. Desktops, laptops or mobile devices are always within reach and save us from having to travel anywhere to make our purchases. Arranging a cremation online is exactly the same allowing for a very easy process.
2. Less stress during a stressful time
Going to a funeral home, seeing a room full of caskets, and submitting yourself to upselling tactics of a funeral director are all very stressful experiences. Online cremation arrangements completely remove all of these things and replace them with education and freedom of choice.
3. Arranging online is cheaper
Online businesses are inevitably cheaper than their brick and mortar competition. Less overhead means lower prices and that’s great news for the consumer. In an industry where price tags have always been too high, this has been a refreshing change for families. For some, saving money is critical. Others prefer not to see their carefully earned wealth go towards an unnecessarily complicated funeral service.
4. Better Customer Service
Although a traditional funeral home is full of employees who can park your car, hold an umbrella over the priest, and drive your Great Aunt Molly home after the funeral, they simply are not set up for modern-day, real time communication. An online cremation company can reply to your emails within 15 minutes, text you updates and keep you informed every step of the way.
5. Way More Options
By serving clients online, there is no end to the amount of options for a family. Whether it be cremation urns, caskets, cremation jewellery, service venues, catering options, clergy or anything else a family may want. An online arrangement is not confined to the size of a building or geographical location. The options are limitless.
The bottom line is that people are done paying huge bills for fancy buildings and unneeded overhead in any industry. Online arrangements allow the funeral industry to operate with modest overhead costs and savings that can be passed down to families. I believe this trend will continue until every funeral home in Ontario will have to offer this option in order to compete for the business of an increasingly educated consumer.