What Everyone Ought to Know About Funeral eCommerceMarch 12th, 2013
In recent years, a new trend – funeral eCommerce – has emerged in the funeral profession.
And, as with every innovative solution that emerges, questions, concerns and ideas are soon to follow. For example, is eCommerce affordable? Are we nickel and diming families? Do we need to redesign our website for it?
Last year, we addressed those common misconceptions about funeral eCommerce through this blog. Since then, funeral eCommerce has nearly doubled in popularity and revenue, with thousands of funeral homes using it to grow their business and better support their families. Since then, more questions have emerged about eCommerce, and we’re here to address them!
But first, let’s brush up on what exactly eCommerce is…
What is eCommerce?
According to Wikipedia, eCommerce is the buying and selling of products or services over the Internet. In the funeral profession, eCommerce has provided a way for funeral homes to offer flowers and gifts directly on their website, generating between 5-25% commissions on every product sold.
Now that we’re caught up on eCommerce, let’s dive into what everyone ought to know about eCommerce – both good and bad!
It’s the future of nearly every industry…
Don’t just believe me when I say the future of most industries in eCommerce, believe the numbers too. According to a recent Nielsen Global Online Survey, 85% of Internet users are shopping online.
Not only is eCommerce already popular… it’s expected to explode more than ever before within the next 5 years. In fact, research predicts that eCommerce sales will hit $327 billion by 2016, with the average consumer spending nearly $2,000 online every year. Not only that… 85% of Internet users are already shopping online.
… Especially the funeral profession
While eCommerce has brought great success to many industries and companies like Amazon and eBay, funeral eCommerce has exploded in the funeral profession as well. In fact, Funeral Business Advisor called funeral eCommerce the “next big thing” for the funeral profession last year.
Every year, 93% of people purchase gifts or flowers for the bereaved online, spending an estimated $240 million last year alone. Knowing that every month there are 200,000 Google searches gifts and flowers every month, there’s no question that the opportunity for this powerful online tool is there.
Your families prefer shopping online
It’s not just my opinion, it’s a fact: 66% of shoppers prefer to shop online versus shopping in-store. Why would they choose to shop online when they can go to the physical store?
Here’s some of the top reasons why shoppers prefer eCommerce:
– 71% prefer to shop online because they believe they’ll get a better deal
– 80% shop online for a broader selection
– 97% are motivated by the convenience of shopping online.
All of this means one thing: your families want to shop online, so give them the opportunity to do so on your funeral home’s website!
It offers your community an added convenience
“When my uncle passed away I was extremely concerned about his wife and family. So I took the time to go to a local gift store to search for the right gift. I then needed to have it wrapped. All of this took about an hour. I wish I could have purchased the gift directly on the funeral home website.”
As described in the quote above, when someone experiences a loss, friends and family members who purchase flowers for the bereaved go through a lot of trouble. They’ll have to find the local florist, look up the funeral home’s address, visit the florist to make sure the flowers are high quality, and then worry about whether or not they’ll get there on time, with no way to know until the flowers arrive the day of the service.
When you offer families the opportunity to purchase sympathy gifts through your website, you’ve simplified what could be a difficult, time-consuming situation for them. And, they won’t have to deal with the hassle of getting to the local florist or gift shop before closing.
It makes it easy for out-of-town families to send their condolences
Have you ever lost a friend who lived far away and you couldn’t make it to their service? More than likely, you had to take a shot in the dark when it came to finding the right florist, and making sure the flowers got their in time and looked beautiful.
Offering an eCommerce sympathy store makes it easier than ever for out-of-town friends and family to send flowers or gifts. In fact, more than 80% of online sympathy gift purchases are from out-of-town families.
It’s not just for the “big guys”
When it comes to funeral eCommerce, a lot of people assume that only the “big guys” are using it – and that includes funeral homes and florists. Actually, the opposite is true. We can’t be sure about other eCommerce providers, but for our solution, The Sympathy Store, more than 70% of our clients are family-owned firms, serving less than 150 families a year.
And when it comes to florists, eCommerce isn’t just for the big names either. Again, I can’t speak for other solutions, but with our solution, we work with more than 80% of florists in the U.S., and are always welcoming new florists into our networks.
It doesn’t add another “middle man”
Earlier this year we wrote a blog on the significance of sympathy flowers, and received this comment:
“But how many more middlemen do we need, between the grieving families and the florists who actually do their flowers? These middlemen do not exist for nothing… that’s how “in lieu of flowers” becomes popular!”
Despite popular belief, eCommerce doesn’t add an extra layer to the process of purchasing sympathy flowers or gifts. In fact, it actually makes it easier for everyone.
It’s pretty simple – instead of sending people to the floral network’s website, visitors can just purchase flowers and gifts from your website. There’s no extra steps needed. In fact, some eCommerce solutions save your website visitors time by automatically filling out the loved one’s service information and the funeral home address – eliminating the need to call your funeral home in search of that information.
And as for florists, the orders would be processed in the same way they would be if they were working with any floral network – there’s no added responsibilities for anyone, not even you!
You’re not nickel and diming anyone
“ A good funeral director is not interested in making money on the backs of the florists and will refer you to a good florist directly.”
As a funeral professional, the last thing you want to do is rip off anyone in your community, whether it be your florists or your families. Recently, someone told me that they think opening an eCommerce sympathy store on their website would affect their local florists negatively.
The truth is, most local florists already belong to a floral network such as Teleflora or 1800Flowers, and funeral eCommerce simply taps into those floral networks and simplifies the process. In fact, many florists agree that working with funeral eCommerce providers only helps their business, as it allows them to reach more potential customers than ever before.
And it doesn’t add expenses for your families, either. In fact, most products on funeral eCommerce websites are the same prices as those on the major floral networks.
Still want to learn more about funeral eCommerce?
Now that you know the truth about funeral eCommerce, it’s worth considering this valuable solution for your funeral home. Check out some of these resources to see if funeral eCommerce is right for you!