In 2019, the average Baby Boomer spent 27 hours online – a quarter of their waking hours. A Forbes study found Boomers are more likely than any other generation to spend an hour or more per day online. The vast majority of Boomers read articles and blogs (60%), buy goods and services (92%), consume entertainment, communicate and shop online.
Last year, consumers became even more accustomed to online interaction as a way to bank, purchase groceries or simply connect with friends and family. If 92% of Baby Boomers shop online, wouldn’t you suppose at least a portion of them also want to shop for funeral services online?
Our experience at eFuneral has shown that online funeral sales succeed when they are connected to a strong, established funeral business that knows when it’s time to shift alongside their client families. Technology has become even more integrated into our daily lives during the coronavirus pandemic, and consumers are very receptive to the concept of viewing, selecting and purchasing their funeral plans online.
We know it’s important to meet the growing demand for online services, but how do we do that effectively?
Provide a Client-Driven Path to Plan
While creating a digital strategy is key to a successful online presence, families are looking for more – especially with online funeral planning tools that offer an alternative when families are not comfortable with meeting in person.
An effective and immediate solution is to offer an online tool that leads website visitors through the same arrangement process they would experience sitting in the funeral home. That starts with providing context as to what they need when planning for themselves or for a loved one, while giving them the option to start and complete the process right then and there. This empowers families to comfortably plan, providing a more transparent experience and facilitating their planning from start to finish.
Align Online Tools with In-Person Planning
While the online planning process can be completed by the clients, some families need a bit more support. An agent-driven remote sales tool, like eFuneral Agent, adds a layer of assistance from the funeral home to answer questions, handle paperwork and help coordinate arrangements on behalf of the family. So, not only is the tool filling the digital gap, but it’s also allowing funeral providers to give consumers a more personalized experience to help them through the process.
Keep in mind that families can quickly become frustrated if they encounter obstacles with online planning tools, whether it’s the inability to plan all the way through or limiting choices to just at-need or preneed. It’s beneficial for everyone involved to implement a system that facilitates the process end-to-end, in partnership with the funeral provider and their staff, and eFuneral Agent has pioneered that solution.
Implement Innovative Solutions
The last year and a half has been challenging for funeral professionals – both personally and professionally. One silver lining, though, is the wealth of creativity we’re seeing in our profession.
We’ve all had to transition from a traditional way of thinking, whether we were ready to or not. We’re continuing to adapt to a new way of life that encourages us all to think outside the box.
When we launched eFuneral, we had designed it to be a resource to help funeral professionals engage with consumers who aren’t comfortable meeting face-to-face. Last year, we found ourselves living in a world where funeral professionals often couldn’t engage with consumers face-to-face. Now we must continue to find ways to be successful and serve our communities, which is why we’re adapting, evolving and using technology to meet current and future needs.
The eFuneral technology solves problems through ease and convenience, which is why our platform has helped our funeral providers serve thousands of families. These are connections that providers might not have otherwise had the opportunity to make if they weren’t willing to innovate to meet a consumer need.
Our hope is that thoughtful digital solutions will be the norm moving forward – rather than the exception – as more and more people become comfortable with emerging new technology.