8 Funeral Service Industry Trends To Shape The Way You Do Business In 2021

2021 is going to be a big year. 

It pretty much already has been a big one, right?!

As we gear up for this year of transformation in business, how can we prepare ourselves, as well as our employees, processes, structures and products?

Trends give us insight into where the market is headed, and how we can rock 2021, even when it’s predicted to be an interesting year for all of us at the very least.

We gathered some insights from experts in the funeral profession as well as other fields to give you a roundup of trends to inspire the way you do business in 2021.

If you’re ready to be a leader in 2021, roll your sleeves up and let’s get started: 


Trend #1: An attitude of adaptability

According to to the Forbes article on 2021 business trends: 

“In 2021, every business leader needs to reflect on what they’re offering customers and how they operate as a business. There were lots of industries that were completely transformed in 2020, such as the hospitality and events industry. The businesses that are currently thriving even during a pandemic are those that reacted quickly to the changes.”

Our take on it: This first trend to consider isn’t so much a trend as it is an attitude to have towards this year. If there’s one thing that we learned in 2020, it’s that we are in a time of uncertainty and constant change. The remedy to change is adaptability. So continue finding ways to structure your business around adaptability — your survival and bottom line may depend on it.

Read More: 7 Ways Death Traditions Around The World Have Transformed Amidst A Pandemic


Trend #2: Let the short term vision fuel the long term development

When it comes to 2021, Funeral Director Daily says: 

“Is it the time to pivot from a longer range idea to make it a shorter term goal? What has happened in the economy that I can take advantage of?  These are things good funeral home operators are asking themselves right now and then contemplating how to take advantage of the situation.”

Our take on it: Before the pandemic, much of what you were reading about the latest trends in funeral service was centered around long term development of event centers and physical expansion. Now, unless you took a vacation to Mars, things are much different. A short term, adaptable approach is the way forward, and will teach us the long term ways of doing business in the funeral profession.

Read More: How To Create a Meaningful Vision For Your Funeral Home in 2019


Trend #3: Finding more ways to virtually serve your families

Our CEO, Joe Joachim, says:

“If you really get back to the purpose of why funerals exist, we have funerals to honor the life that was lived and to support those left behind. Not being able to attend a funeral robs everyone of the opportunity to heal and bring people together to share stories and honor life. The Coronavirus pandemic is putting a spotlight on a problem that already exists.

When we are faced with a worldwide crisis that restricts us from physically attending funerals, we are faced with no other option other than to find new and unique ways to bring people together.”

Our take on it: Before the pandemic hit, we already knew exactly where we were headed towards as an industry: ONLINE! Now more than ever, it’s time to embrace the up and coming technologies that can give you an edge in the online sphere. Technologies like webcasting are now the new normal, whether we like it or not. Keep an eye out for new services and make sure your funeral home website is up to par for your desired level of service in the online sphere. 

Read More: How To Help Your Families Celebrate Life During the COVID-19 Crisis


Trend #4: Tech friendly aftercare

Crakn’s 2021 trends report says it best with their prediction:

“Aftercare has to be a key focus as we move into 2021. But not just run-of-the-mill aftercare. Even with all the good news around vaccine development, we are not likely to return to “normal” life for several months. We can’t rely on grief support groups and home visits like we have in the past. We need to find new and innovative ways to connect with families virtually.

The best aftercare providers have already mastered this – providing thoughtful family follow-up through text messages and phone calls…That sort of innovation is going to be even more important as we move forward – not just because we cannot meet face to face, but because it is more customer-centric to offer accessible aftercare in whatever medium is most comfortable for families.”

Our take on it: With mental health already at a national all time low, the need for continued support from death care workers is more prevalent than ever before. And thanks to technologies like daily email affirmations and online grief counseling, it doesn’t have to be another thing to check off your to do list. Instead, many businesses are getting smarter and finding ways to automate and outsource aftercare. 

Read More: The Ultimate Funeral Aftercare Checklist For Supporting Families


Trend #5: Buckling down on community support

According to the Hootsuite 2021 Social Trends Report:

“In a year marked by social upheaval, marketers stumbled under pressure to publicly address issues that their organizations had never focused on… Instead of using social as a mouthpiece for empty promises…use the intelligence gathered by social media teams in 2021 to help the organization adapt to new buyer beliefs, new ways of doing commerce, and the new path to growth that requires balancing the twin demands of building a better business and a better world.”

Our take on it: The days of becoming a “community focused” brand are no longer optional. In the wake of a pandemic a need was born. That need is community support. As a funeral professional, this probably isn’t news to you. However, it’s time to bring that support front and center – virtually. What ways can you do that this year? 

Read More: 9 Ways Your Funeral Home Can Support Grieving Families During A Time of Isolation


Trend #6: Creating a seamless virtual experience 

The SBA.gov 2021 Trends Report is forecasting a continued importance of online business and ecommerce: 

“While e-commerce was already growing before the pandemic, a report by IBM shows the shift away from physical stores to digital shopping has sped up by roughly five years. According to the report, e-commerce was projected to grow by 20% in total in 2020. To prepare for an even larger shift in consumer spending this year, fine-tune your small business’s e-commerce presence in 2021. Create a seamless e-commerce experience for your customers by making your site mobile-friendly.”

Our take on it: In light of the already growing ecommerce trend, came an even larger growth spurt for the online world last year. Now the question to beg is — “How can we streamline our business operations to rely less on physical space, and innovate more in a digital space?” Short term, for now, and potentially long term, too. 

Read More: 6 Traits Of a Successful, Revenue Generating Funeral Home Website


Trend #7: Integrated customer service

With the rise of ecommerce, comes the rise in e-customer service. On this topic, the Future of Commerce 2021 customer service trends report says:

“Customers who buy online have different needs than customers who buy at the store. They can’t see the goods as they can in the store, so they need an easy way to ask questions. They also have inquiries about ordering, deliveries, returns, and payments.

Service agents need visibility into orders and customer information to provide personalized service experiences, and to quickly help customers with their inquiries. The best way to ensure that is to integrate customer service directly into the e-commerce solution.”

Our take on it: Does your funeral ecommerce solution put customer service front and center? Is customer service even included? If not, it may be time to consider a new solution that does. The Sympathy Store, for example, is a funeral ecommerce platform which thrives off of its level of customer support. 

Read More: Customer Experience: The Best Opportunity at Your Funeral Home in 2019 (Infographic)


Trend #8:  Building trust is more important than ever 

Trust is paramount in 2021, according to the Deloitte 2021 Global Marketing Trends Report:

“Of course, COVID-19—like any other crisis—has put a spotlight on the relationship between brand and trust. And some brands have had a tough time managing their reputations. In our survey of 2,447 people across eight countries, 66% of respondents were able to recall when brands acted in self-interest—such as raising prices on essential items. More than one in four respondents strongly agreed that such actions spurred them to walk away from the brand in question—a blow to the bottom line as well.”

Our take on it: Trust is something that the funeral profession has always struggled with. We’ve been making our way back into a place of trust for years. And now that value is even more of a priority. In what ways can you demonstrate trust through your brand’s messaging, voice, tone, service and even processes? This consideration probably should be a top one for your funeral home this year.

Read More: How to Build Trust with Families with Online Reviews In 6 Easy Steps


How are you preparing your business for this unprecedented year? Tell us in the comments below!

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