It’s an interesting time for funeral home owners.
Modern business technology has given owners great opportunities to expand their services and provide low-cost and high-value options for families. But it’s also made the death care industry hyper-competitive. Start-ups and alternatives to end-of-life practices are surging.
An article in the New York Times said that, with “2.6 million people dying annually in the United States, entrepreneurs see an opportunity to innovate.” They also found that Baby Boomers have grown comfortable shopping for services online, and “these start-ups are finding a highly engaged audience.”
For funeral home owners, that means staying up on current and upcoming small business trends can help keep your funeral home competitive — not only against alternative death care but against other funeral homes in the area.
Let’s take a quick look at a few trends on the rise:
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2016 has been the year of e-commerce, and that’s great for small businesses. Having an online storefront can draw in tons of revenue and website traffic. Nearly 80% of the population has already made an online purchase, and are comfortable doing so.
It’s also estimated that e-commerce sales will reach $500 billion by 2018, making it a great opportunity for funeral homes. Having an e-commerce site that sells flowers or other memorial products is a simple way to add a new revenue stream to your funeral home, and as families tend to be more spread out than they were in the past, it means they can easily purchase flowers even if they are miles away.
Have you ever been to a restaurant that only accepts cash? It can be kind of annoying, right? As it turns out, client families feel the same way. A recent J.D. Power study found that convenient billing and payment options rank high on the list of improving consumer satisfaction.
In fact, more than half of a consumer’s satisfaction is determined by the ease of a billing/payment process. Having multiple methods of payment — options like mobile and credit card payments, financing, and even crowdfunding — are ways to help improve the overall experience and satisfaction of your client families.
As more transactions take place online, it increases the need for cyber security. And small businesses have become targets for hackers — according to a study by Symantec on internet security, 43% of cyber-attacks were targeted at small businesses in 2015 and they are expected to continue to target small businesses in years to come. One of the best ways to protect against cyber-attacks is to make sure your website uses SSL (Secure Socket Layers) to protect and encrypt any personal information. (Frazer-powered sites all use SSL to encrypt information, learn more here.)
In this always on the go world, mobile is the new king. From searches to purchases, there’s a high chance it’s being done from a mobile device. It was just last year that the Wall Street Journal reported on how mobile became the number one method in which people access and search the internet. And mobile purchases have grown so rapidly that
And mobile purchases have grown so rapidly that a new term has been coined — m-commerce. By 2020, Business Insider predicts mobile purchases will become a $284 billion industry. As one Business Insider article put it, “m-commerce is poised to burst into the mainstream thanks to a host of technological advances that are making it easier for people to shop on their phones.”
Having a website that’s optimized for mobile is a must.
What do these trends mean for my funeral home?
New trends mean new ways of thinking and new ways of business. As the old adage goes, you either adapt or your die. Funeral homes are facing competition beyond their traditional local rivals — making these rising trends important to consider. And while these new trends might not reflect on the habits of older generations in your client families, it’s important to remember that younger generations — Gen Xers and millennials — will soon start playing a big role in planning services for their older relatives.
The big question to ask is if your funeral home is prepared to meet these changing trends.