Scene 1: Marketing meeting at an online insurance comparison site.
Head of Sales: "Listen, everyone. We need to increase our market share by 76%. We must double the sales revenue. What can make us the 4th most visited insurance website in the UK within two years, any ideas?"
Smart Alec: "We could place adverts in local newspapers every week, just like we have been doing for years?"
Creative Carol: "We could have an anthropomorphic Russian meerkat called Aleksandr Orlov. We could say Orlov became a billionaire in the 1970s and people keep getting the name of his company wrong. We could use wordplay to overcome the high cost of the keywords. We could have spin-offs as a film and book. Let's get fluffy toys for each new customer, and people will sell the fluffy toys on eBay for £100's. We could make the owner of the insurance company £200 million at the same time."
Head of Sales: "Don't be so stupid ... that would never work."
Facts can be stranger than fiction. (N.B If you live outside the UK, you might not have a clue what that was all about. If so, see the note at the bottom of this post)
Online Funeral Planning and Purchasing Site FuneralBooker Gets £750k In Investment
The latest signs that the funeral industry is experiencing rapid changes comes from the online funeral purchasing site FuneralBooker. Facts can be stranger than fiction. One day, in the not too distant future, 1000's people will be buying funerals online.
FuneralBooker received a £750k seed round investment led by White Cloud Capital. They gained additional support from investors like Laurent Laffy. He is a Director at the online holiday site Secret Escapes. These investors are major players in online shopping and comparison sites.
Isabel Fox, head of venture capital at WCC, said: We see significant growth potential for this unique business.
Founded last year, the London-based company has raised $1.27m to date. These latest developments should make the funeral industry wake up and smell the formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, and methanol!
Congratulations to you FuneralBooker! That's exciting news. Well done to the team! This investment provides ways of significantly growing the business. It will be encouraging and confirming to your hard work and creativity. Kudos to you!
It also reinforces the way that the funeral industry is heading and that is only one way - online.
Haven't I Heard Similar news Recently?
Does this sound familiar? The last post - IS THE ONLINE FUNERAL INDUSTRY WORTH £1 MILLION TO YOU? - was about a similar situation.
What's happening here?
- Digital disruption of the funeral industry is going mainstream.
- Digital disruption of the funeral industry is gaining momentum.
- Digital disruption of the funeral industry is getting measured.
Will People Really Want To Compare A Funeral Director Online?
People today use comparison sites as a matter of course. Want a better utility supplier, car insurance or house insurance? You enter a few details (in exchange usually for your email address) and up comes the best, cheapest, most reviewed business or product you need.
Will people do the same when shopping for a funeral? Will people want to compare a Funeral Director online? It certainly seems so.
Who Is FuneralBooker & What Do They Offer?
We have profiled FuneralBooker before on Death Goes Digital. James Dunn, a Founder, and Director at FuneralBooker wrote a guest post - WILL PEOPLE EVER PLAN FUNERALS IN AN ONLINE MARKETPLACE?
FuneralBooker offers people searching online an easy to use web platform to get a quote for a funeral. It's simple. It's a quick process. All it takes is a few clicks to buy a funeral online. You can choose various options about a funeral and get a price for each choice:
- Choose a cremation or burial (Let's go cremation, most people do these days.)
- Choose a crematorium locally. (It's interesting to see in my area the different prices for each location, that information is extremely helpful)
- Choose a coffin. There are three choices. (I've written about this before here) Buy the cheapest you can I have said to my family. I've seen as a celebrant how long they are used. It's not long.
- Choose an ern. (I want my ashes put in a firework rocket anyway. I want to go out with a bang!)
- Choose some flowers. For me, choose simple.
- Choose the style of the hearse. From a limo to horses.
- Choose how many limousines for the family.
- Choose a Celebrant or Minister. I'm biased, go with a celebrant that has good online reviews. I am a funeral celebrant in Bromsgrove, but I've been both. I know how busy a minister can be and how formulaic writing a funeral service can become.
And that's it! Enter my email address and I get a list of Funeral Directors.
The report gave me 20 Funeral Directors in my area. The prices range from £1999 - £2894. I can sort the list by Distance, Price, Reviews and Name. I can add memorial pages. It is possible use online sharing of the date and location. I can link online giving towards the cost of the funeral. This is an ingenious idea as the costs of funerals are rising and the need to crowdfund these costs increase. Innovative and creative idea FuneralBooker!
What Else Did I Learn?
It was surprising to not find three of the major Independent Funeral Directors from the area listed. Not one of the Funeral Directors listed on the report has any online reviews. So my decision would come down only to cost, which is not always the best choice.
I explain how critical it is for Funeral Directors to have online reviews. FuneralBooker could help develop the online presence of Funeral Directors. One way that Funeralbooker will use the funds is to invest in technology, marketing, and operations. This will allow the Independent Funeral Director community (partners they call them) to connect with more customers using Funeralbooker’s platform. I think that showing, teaching and finding ways for them to get their clients to write online reviews would be a significant help.
Ian Strang, CEO of Funeralbooker, commented: “Funeralbooker was born out of the belief that customers want a more transparent, thoughtful and straightforward process to arranging a funeral. It’s a stressful time, and through technology, we can connect thousands of independent Funeral Directors – who are the heart of a great funeral experience – with customers in need of help. This purpose remains even more relevant today where customers expect a digital approach and something more than the ubiquity of the mass market funeral package.”
While that statement is true, FuneralBooker is in business. The investors who have staked £750k are looking for a return. Where that return comes from in part is the commission charged to Independent Funeral Directors for using FuneralBooker.
What Does This Do For The Independent Funeral Director?
As the press and online public debate about the rising costs of funerals intensifies, it will be interesting to see how this plays out. If an Independent Funeral Director is not building an online presence themselves, they will possibly have to rely on sites like FuneralBooker for leads as the market inevitably progresses more online. This cuts margins in an already competitive marketplace. With the rise of local councils now providing their own cut-price funeral services, (a funeral starting at £1495) the small family Independent Funeral Director could get squeezed out of the market.
Interesting days ahead.
Congratulations to FuneralBooker. I can see them going from strength to strength with this new team of investors.
It seems to me that all that is missing is a fluffy toy for each funeral purchased!
For more on this story check these links:
Funeralbooker receives $975,000 in seed round from White Cloud Capital
Funeral Services Marketplace Funeralbooker Raises nearly $1M in Seed Funding
Funeralbooker closes $975,000 Seed round led by White Cloud Capital
Funeralbooker closes £750k investment
Have You Listened To The Death Goes Digital Podcast? Try the latest episode here:
(Compare the Meerkat is an advertising campaign on British television for comparethemarket.com, a price comparison website. For each purchase of a product, customers would receive a fluffy Meerkat. To say it was a big success is like saying the Grand Canyon is a big hole! Check out the Wikipedia page here: