Since its launch at the beginning of 2019, eFuneral has been successful with both funeral service providers and families. The Homesteaders subsidiary has developed a comprehensive service that guides families through planning and funding a funeral online with their funeral service provider. Luke Frieberg, president of eFuneral, recently sat down with editors at American Funeral Director magazine for an in-depth look at the cutting-edge platform.
How does eFuneral work?
eFuneral is a first-of-its-kind digital sales and lead-generation platform that leverages funeral providers’ websites to attract, convert and close preneed and at-need sales. The platform offers customized online storefronts, integrating a funeral provider’s existing goods, services and branding. Consumers access the storefront through providers’ websites and can easily view, select and purchase their funeral plans online.
Because eFuneral works with providers to build tailor-made solutions that reflect the care and branding of an in-store funeral planning experience, consumers who use the site see the same services and merchandise offered in the funeral home. It’s truly a turnkey option for providers who want to make funeral planning more accessible to client families while protecting and promoting their brand.
What are the benefits for those who work with eFuneral?
By partnering with eFuneral, funeral providers get one holistic solution that provides the same quality of experience for both preneed and at-need families. They get a digital agent who is available to meet with customers 24/7. No matter the time of day, that digital agent is able to arrange for any family.
In addition to facilitating fully-funded funeral sales, eFuneral also serves as a lead generation engine. Consumers who select goods and services through the site without completing their purchase become highly qualified, quick-to-convert leads. To date, 67% of these leads have resulted in sales, securing additional revenue for providers at a fraction of the acquisition cost of traditional marketing.
eFuneral absorbs the transactional hurdles associated with funeral sales, freeing up valuable time that can be better used to serve families. The platform is fully automated, giving providers license to be involved as much (or as little) as their schedules allow. Early adopters have reported significant operational benefits for their businesses, including increased efficiency, fewer administrative demands and less strain on accounts receivable.
Who is the typical eFuneral consumer?
eFuneral customers tend to skew younger than traditional preneed. Our average preneed customer is 68 years old, which is about five years younger than the industry average for preneed.
We also know that eFuneral consumers value control – they want to control their funeral planning experience by being in the driver’s seat throughout the process. They want to do things on their own time, in their own way, and they’re unlikely to call a funeral provider or walk in the door for an appointment. They’re proactive, so when they decided to make their funeral plans, they want to do so immediately – even if it’s 2 a.m.
Can you talk about the eFuneral early adopter firms... What have their experiences been like?
Each experience is unique, but I can share two stories with you that provide a pretty good spectrum in terms of the type of providers we’re working with.
The first is a funeral home partner in a small, rural community in the Southeast. This particular firm does not have a licensed insurance agent on staff, so they were actually sending preneed walk-ins away because they didn’t have a mechanism in place to serve those families. When they signed up with eFuneral, they started to call those customers, invite them back to the funeral home and sit with them as they worked through the eFuneral site. Within a week, they had sold $35,000 in advance funerals, all fully planned, funded and compliant. So, when I talk to people about how eFuneral works for our partners, I point out the significant impact this tool can have on mom and pop funeral homes – and it’s an impact they can have at a very low price.
The second example I’ll share comes from a large cremation operator located in the Pacific Northwest. Like most eFuneral partners, they’re seeing a significant increase in the average funeral amount for services planned through their site – to the tune of 20% to 30%. When families call in requesting a direct cremation, the staff has started directing them to the eFuneral storefront on their website. Once there, these families are finding goods, services and merchandise that are appealing to them. More often than not, these consumers are selecting and purchasing a more comprehensive funeral plan than they would have received if they had moved forward with direct cremation.
This particular provider has also found surprising operational efficiencies by using eFuneral. Since implementing the site, they have started saving two full days of funeral director time every month because eFuneral is offloading so much of the transactional administrative work.
These are just two examples. We have more than a hundred locations across the country using the eFuneral platform, and they all have their own success stories. Big and small, eFuneral is helping providers grow their business, reach more consumers and streamline their operations.
How can a funeral provider get started with eFuneral?
Adopting an eFuneral storefront is an inexpensive, low-risk way to connect with consumers who would never walk through the door of your funeral home. Even if your community isn’t ready for online sales today, having an eFuneral storefront doesn’t have to cost you anything after the initial build. So why wouldn’t you take the leap? Worst case scenario: you’re early and you don’t see more than one or two sales the first six to eight months. Best case scenario: you’re right on time, and you’re going to be first to market in providing a service families really want and need.
Click here to learn more about eFuneral.