Will People Ever Plan Funerals In An Online Marketplace?

Guest Post by James Dunn - Founder & Director at Funeralbooker

What’s your reaction to someone saying:

“There should there be an online marketplace for Funeral Directors” 

For most, the reaction is along the lines of: 

  • “Isn’t that a bit impersonal?” 
  • “Do people want that?” 
  • “Is it ok for them to deal with planning a funeral online?”

These are all valid, understandable and commonplace questions. When it comes to funerals and bereavement, professional care and support are fundamental. We are helping people at one of the most challenging and vulnerable times in their lives. That brings responsibility, and it is only right to question whether innovations are for their benefit.

Connect The Right Customers With The Right Services

The important response to these questions is that the mere purpose of any marketplace is to connect the right customers with the right service providers. Take ‘Just Eat’ for example; hungry people find the type of takeaway they want. Or ‘Airbnb’, which has opened up the entire world to non-professional holiday lettings, meaning travellers can stay in authentic, individual homes around the world.

Online marketplaces are particularly beneficial when one side of the transaction is at an information disadvantage. This situation can typically be the case for funerals. Most people have little or no idea of what a funeral constitutes, how much it should cost, or how to arrange one. They know they need a funeral director, and that’s about it. As a result, too many people in the UK end up paying over the odds for a poor funeral.

What a tragic shame. Thousands of funeral directors provide fantastic, personal service at great value. The problem is people just cannot educate themselves quickly enough to choose these funeral directors.

An online marketplace helps people make the right choice by providing the information they need in one place, in an easy to understand format.

Who are the providers? Where are they? Do they offer the services I need? What will it cost me? Are they trusted? How do I contact them?

The beauty of online marketplaces is that they give both customers and funeral directors the best opportunity to make the right connection. Happy clients and happy funeral directors.

SHOULD YOUR FUNERAL BUSINESS BE ON AN ONLINE MARKETPLACE?

Are you a good funeral director? Do you have a fantastic reputation? Are you better value than the local competition? Do you hate it when people go to a national chain and pay over the odds for an inferior service? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you should list your business on an online marketplace. Your company only stands to benefit by increasing the amount of information available to potential customers. If you are better than the competition, then the only reason people still use the competition is that they don’t know about you!

WOULD PEOPLE USE AN ONLINE MARKETPLACE TO FIND A FUNERAL DIRECTOR?

  • 10 years ago? Definitely not.
  • 5 years ago? Probably not.
  • Today? They’re using ours!
  • 5 years from now? Are you really asking?

In all walks of life, people now expect to be able to find an online service that helps guide them through their options and who the best providers are. Imagine looking for car insurance nowadays without using ‘Go Compare’ or ‘Compare the Market.' Or looking for a new house without using ‘Rightmove’ or ‘Zoopla’. My bet is you can’t.

Funerals are clearly different to buying car insurance or browsing for a beautiful property. There are numerous challenges and complexities surrounding trying to help people online. The fundamental point is that these people are online now and need helping. This trend will only increase as people increasingly turn online. It is our responsibility to find the way to serve them best.

BUT DO I NEED THIS? I KNOW ALL MY CUSTOMERS ALREADY!

There is an important point to make here. An online marketplace is never intended to be your only source for customers. As a business, you will have an established base of clients who use you because they know you. They know you provide an excellent service, and they know you give great value.

Your base of customers doesn't need to use a marketplace as they will go to you directly. The people who will find you in the marketplace are the people who don’t know who to go to. The people who are new to your area, the younger generation and the people who end up with one of the national chains (Coop and Dignity still capturing c.30% of UK funerals!).

WHY SHOULD YOU USE FUNERALBOOKER?

Simply put, there’s little reason not to! If you believe in your business and think that if more people knew about you, then more people would use you, you should be in a marketplace.

Funeralbooker began about 18 months ago and has been live to the public for 6 months. We are now used by more than 400 independent funeral directors across the UK. Funeralbooker is the leading way for funeral directors to showcase their business online and reach more at-need customers.

What do you get?

  • Free online profile where you can showcase your business - history, team, what makes you unique.
  • Promote your business to the hundreds of at-need customers who visit Funeralbooker every day.
  • Our spending power and digital marketing expertise mean you can compete with the large chains online.
  • Free online services such as celebration pages where friends and family can share memories of their loved ones, be updated on the funeral logistics and even help contribute towards the cost of the funeral.

There are no monthly fees or sign up costs - if we don’t bring you any customers, it never costs a thing. Any customers we bring you we charge a 10% commission on your fees (excluding disbursements) We use a commission model as opposed to ‘subscription fees’ or ‘installation fees.' We’re entirely confident in what we provide and only want to be paid when we provide value to you. That value is bringing you customers. The commission we receive funds the advertising to fight your corner and also to invest in innovative new features. We’ll be adding crowdfunding and donation handling within the coming months, all provided at no extra cost to you.

There is nothing to lose - to try it out for your business go to www.director.funeralbooker.com to get your business listed.

For more information check out Funeralbooker