What if you could order a cremation for your loved one from their bedside? It would certainly avoid the need to research and find a funeral home. In addition, it avoids a visit to the funeral home and the potential for employees to try and upsell your every decision. For basic cremation with the delivery of cremains to your doorstep, several start-ups with tech backgrounds have developed a direct-to-consumer model.
Currently, most funeral homes do not have helpful websites, if they even have websites. Funeral homes traditionally use word of mouth for marketing, and often families use the same funeral home for generations. However, as the millennial and X generations are frequently making decisions and the popularity of cremation has skyrocketed, the need for a more extensive online presence is growing. As new generations are less interested in the whole funeral experience and more interested in cremation or environmentally friendly post-death arrangements, the tech industry is capitalizing on the direct-to-consumer model. Like buying a mattress in a box to be delivered to your door (this way cutting out the middlemen salespeople), companies such as Tulip, Solace, Smart Cremation, After Cremation, Eirene, and Lumen are using the internet to sell their cremation services. Some companies can even pick up your loved one within hours of purchasing. All the paperwork is completed online. Once cremated, the ashes are delivered to your door via a funeral director or the U.S. Mail, the only delivery service authorized for shipping cremains.
Cremation-only services have long been available through companies like the Neptune Society or Trident Society. They are mostly modeled on pre-planning, but they also offer immediate need services. However, you still have to call to make arrangements, and pricing is not readily available online. For younger generations, the appeal of using an app or having all the information online without speaking to a live person is very appealing. An app can be especially appealing if you are not up to talking to someone after the death of a loved one.
Cremation is only authorized through licensed funeral homes, and each state has different requirements for funeral homes, making this first wave of direct-to-consumer cremations a little clunky. In addition, e-commerce has accelerated at warp speed, without the time needed to work out the bugs. One roadblock is that funeral home regulations are severely outdated because the process has been the same for 100+ years. However, the start-up’s Tulip and Smart Cremation have parent companies that own dozens of funeral homes and crematories, making their process a little smoother. With time and rising consumer demand for direct cremations, streamlined apps for purchasing cremations are not too far away.
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