Funeral Planning and Technology: Virtual Showrooms
These days, more and more funeral planning consumers are turning to online sources for information on choosing a funeral home and knowing their options when it comes to burial, cremation, or alternate body arrangements. Whether they’re researching funeral costs via an Android or building a memorial website from home, people are using their web-savvy skills to make smart choices and plan funerals that bridge tradition and technology.
Funeral homes are stepping up to participate in all this. It’s become much more common for funeral homes to offer interactive websites, where visitors can learn about the history of the company and what sort of funeral planning options they provide. Some funeral homes go one step further to create website or photo album memorials or even to provide an online showroom where you can pick out everything from your casket to your headstone.
Funeral homes have always provided a place where families can view the products and services they have for sale. Most often, this is in a special room inside the facilities where several caskets are on display. People can touch these caskets, work the drawers, and otherwise become familiar with their options. Different linings and wood and metal casket types are there to choose from, as well as lists and pricing packages that make it easy to decide what’s right for your family.
However, because not everyone can be present at the funeral home—and because online comparison shopping is becoming more standard in the funeral industry—many funeral homes provide online “showrooms” of all their offerings. Like any online retailer, these sites allow you to look at prices, casket materials, and benefits from the comfort of your own home, and you might even be able to place an order online so that everything is paid for and ready by the time the funeral rolls around.
This type of scenario is great for those who want to save on funeral costs, since the traditional showroom can only hold about a dozen casket options—usually the ones that cost the most. By moving online, you can see (and compare) the entire list of options, which actually number well above a hundred for most funeral homes.
Another way funeral homes are taking advantage of technology for funeral planning is by offering virtual meetings to bring families together for the decision-making process. Unless the deceased had the foresight to purchase a funeral pre-plan package, chances are that family members will need to plan an entire funeral in just a few short days following death. And because so many families are spread out these days, it can be difficult to coordinate schedules and travel times so that everyone is present during the initial consulting period.
These virtual showrooms might take the form of a video chat, an online directory of services, or even a video clip of services that help make the funeral home and products feel more real to those who live far away.
As technology continues to progress, you can expect even more from your funeral home. People are no longer afraid to shop online or to rely on out-of-the-ordinary methods for dealing with the aftermath of death. For today’s generation, shopping online and making funeral planning choices via long-distance are more common than ever before—a trend that will only continue developing as we move forward.
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By Amy Johnson