Is It Really True Amazon Prime Is Now Selling Funerals?

There was a product which seemed attractive, expensive, portable, beautiful and simple. Everybody talked about its beauty but they bought it for it’s simplicity.
— Amit Kalantri

Who is the hero and who is the villain? Is it Amazon Prime or Digital Disruption?

I have never been a 'shopper.' I hate wandering around stores for hours "mooching." That is of course unless it is a tech shop of some kind or an Apple Store, or an outdoor clothing/pursuits shop. I think that is quite common with most men. (And some women I know!)

Have you ever seen the line of sad men sitting outside women's changing rooms with tedious boredom written over their faces? That is me. I am one of them. You clock eyesight with another unfortunate guy. Immediately reservoirs of empathy engage us sad strangers on a Saturday afternoon. Inventing the smartphone has done wonders for society. It saves men from being bored outside women's changing rooms. It has redeemed the waiting time for millions! Thank you, Apple.

'Yes dear, it looks lovely ...'
“No, it does not look bigger than normal.”

The Evolution Of Shopping

Digital technology birthed a genesis in the evolution of shopping. Irreversibly, directly and conveniently, so much of our shopping is now done online. Open a smartphone app, and anything can get delivered to our doors in hours. I like that. I like that I can buy a product online and that the same day or next day it is on my doorstep or through the letter box. I am a fan of Amazon Prime.

Disclosure - I am not sponsored by Amazon Prime!

A few years ago, I discovered Amazon Prime. You pay an annual fee and get free delivery next day. I was happy with that. That seemed a good deal. 

Hang on here! Over the last couple of years, Amazon Prime just keeps adding more services for that fee. I now get a comprehensive video service. I have music downloads. Where I live, delivery is now possible the same day! They will soon deliver by drone!  (I am not kidding, it will happen one day.) 

Have you seen the new Amazon Prime Dash Buttons? I just love these! Stick one by the washing machine. Run out of washing powder? No problem. Hit the button and then later today the postman will deliver your supply free of postage. Amazing! You can buy your groceries and get fast food delivered within one hour in London all at the click of an Amazon button. Amazon takes on competitors like Just Eat and Uber Eats all the time, why not funerals?

The Shopping Revolution

Online shopping impacts everything we buy. Pizzas to clothing. TVs to furniture. Someone is driving a car or truck to bring your order to you on time. What will happen when we do not need cars and drivers to make deliveries anymore? Robots will deliver our shopping. There is a  project that does away with the car and uses small sidewalk delivery robots. “A self-driving box that can get you anything in 30 minutes for under a dollar."

Is It Really True Amazon Prime Is Now Selling Funerals?

No. Not yet. However, I would not be surprised when Amazon do.

People are now buying funerals online. Are you ready for that? Amazon Prime is more than a shop online. It understands logistics. It knows how people are buying products and services these days and meeting that need. The UK funeral industry is worth 1 Billion £ or more each year. It would not be surprising to see them if not sell funerals start selling funeral products. 

Does That Coffin Come In Blue?

Buying a coffin online is easy these days. Take a look at Compare The Coffin. The range, choice and price make it a viable business. I am sure that these markets will grow. Walmart in the USA has been doing it for years. Will families reeling from the loss of someone they have lost consider buying the coffin online? Increasingly, yes. In a survey on the consumer affairs site Money Saving Expert asking people if they would purchase a coffin online, 246 people voted. 181 or 73.53% said yes! Add into the mix the waves of controversy surrounding funeral costs. That keeps washing up on the shores of our media outlets. I can see how when the time comes consumers will be asking the question to Funeral Directors. Can I buy the coffin, please?

The 21st Century Is a Wild Time to Be Alive (But don't bury your head in the sand)

Every week some new web platform or app is being released. A new way that is connecting culture around the conversations of the end of life planning and the Funeral Industry. This requires the traditional world of the UK Funeral Industry to reconsider the changing buying practices of society and adapt to digital disruption. 

  • Get online. 
  • Engage with potential consumers online.
  • Start creating opportunities for selling your services online.

That is what innovation in the Funeral Industry requires. New ways of thinking around old practices. What are you doing new online in 2016 to develop your Funeral Directors Business?

Who is the hero and who is the villain? Is it Amazon Prime or Digital Disruption? Neither! It is just the changing face of culture. You either adapt and compete or remain and fade away like Woolworths, Dixons, Comet and Austin Reed. What do you think? Do you agree? Would you buy your coffin online and store in the garage just incase? I would love to hear from you? Please leave a comment or CONTACT me.

Peter Billingham is an engaging and entertaining speaker on Digital Legacy Planning, Innovation in the Funeral Industry and using digital technology and social media in palliative care. For more details on booking Peter as a speaker - please visit the SPEAKING page now.

Peter Billingham attended our Conference on Death, Dying and Social Work held at the University of Sussex on 6 September 2016. From the start of our contact with him, he was extremely professional and even supported the marketing of the Conference via social media. As an academic with a research interest in social media and digital practices, I was delighted to receive Peter’s presentation abstract on digital immortality as this was the only paper on what is a vital area in the study of death and dying. I attended Peter’s presentation at the Conference itself which was thought provoking and well delivered, utilising highly evocative slides and combining storytelling, theory and humour to capture audience interest. After the presentation, feedback to me was extremely positive with the endemic remark ‘ He was really good.’ In my view, Peter is doing very important work in alerting academic audiences to the challenges and opportunities raised by digital practices both in life and after death.
— Dr Denise Turner Course Lead BA Wellbeing & Social Care Lecturer in Social Work School of Education and Social Work University of Sussex