Our clients at Funeral.com simplify the funeral planning process by providing people the power to choose what they want and need for their loved one’s burial including buying headstones and grave markers without hassle and at discounted pricing. Technology has made this possible.
Technology also makes it easy for families to go online, browse, personalize, and purchase headstones or grave markers for loved ones. As a result, many online companies such as HeadstonesUSA.com are doing what they can to guide families to their sites.
According to the company’s website, “The ever increasing amount of business conducted on the world-wide-web has shown [purchasing products online] to be a valuable tool for consumers who are looking to save both time and money.”
Although we somewhat agree with this company and appreciate how technology simplifies things, we believe some aspects of the funeral planning process deserves face-to-face interaction, specifically when choosing the proper headstone or grave marker for a loved one.
As a service provider for funeral planning, Funeral.com works closely with funeral homes to provide better service overall. These funeral homes work with us because they care about their clients’ needs, despite what people might read on the websites of the companies competing with them.
Families have to keep in mind that as competitors of funeral homes and cemeteries, those companies that sell the same products will do what they can to gain the trust and business of prospective buyers, so they will focus on the benefits rather than the cons of purchasing headstones and grave markers online. Some consistent benefits these companies use as selling points include the following:
- Families limit their options and choices when going directly through a funeral home or cemetery because online companies have a wider variety of products to choose from.
- Funeral homes and cemeteries may provide models of the headstones and grave markers they have to offer, but families have no guarantee their final products will arrive without flaws or issues.
- Families will pay a much higher price because cemetery staff and funeral directors are salespeople and try to cross-sell packages.
- Purchasing online cuts out the middleman, so online companies can go directly through the wholesale companies and provide lower prices.
- Online companies provide buyers with visuals of their product either by email or directly on the site before the finalization of a purchase.
Now, we realize that these selling points sound great. Who doesn’t want to take advantage of more choices, lower prices, and hassle-free purchases? Well, if we’re talking about a accessories, clothes, shoes, or other retail items, this type of shopping is a buyer’s dream.
However, we’re not talking about a simple retail item. Headstones and grave markers aren’t accessories people browse through like purses or shoes. These are the symbols of a loved one’s memory and act as the focal point for families when they visit a loved one’s grave to maintain a connection with that person after death.
- So before choosing to purchase headstones or grave markers online, families want to consider the following:
- Yes, online companies may have more choices at lower prices, but the phrase, “People get what they pay for,” is relevant in this case, especially if someone pays $100 for a headstone. It’s the jobs of funeral homes and cemeteries to know what clients need and want, and they provide quality choices based on those needs. They don’t replace quality for quantity. Some funeral homes and cemeteries will match prices if reasonable.
- Funeral homes do provide models of many of the quality headstones and grave markers found in the catalogues they provide. Even though they can’t guarantee issue-free products at all times, they can ensure quick fixes if problems arise. People who order online have to call a toll-free number to get the situation resolved. With all the outsourcing of company call centers these days, they won’t know where they’re calling for assistance.
- As stated previously, a cemetery and funeral director’s job is to know what clients expect, so yes they may “cross-sell,” but they only offer what they think families may want or need. The families, however, make the final decision, so they have the power to choose.
- Yes, funeral directors and cemetery staff may be “middlemen” or “middlewomen,” but they’re available specifically for families. They not only see the families and experience their grief, but they’re also the problem-solvers for families. Online websites can’t empathize, nor can they problem-solve when things go wrong.
If this isn’t enough to consider, families also need to be aware that there are strict guidelines and regulations in the placing of headstones and grave markers, and funeral home directors and cemetery staff understand these guidelines and regulations. They ensure all products meet the requirements, so families don’t run into any issues. Many online companies fail to check into these guidelines and regulations, and place this burden on their buyers to research this information. As a result, families who aren’t aware of cemetery regulations find they can’t place the headstone or grave marker they ordered online. They end up having to reorder a new product, which takes time and patience; not to mention, they usually pay higher installation fees.
Overall, families have a lot to consider if they plan on ordering headstones or grave markers online. There are some benefits in doing so, but these families want to consider that people who work at funeral homes and cemeteries have assisted families for generations, and they understand that these symbols are important psychologically for families. They’re the focal point for families that show their loved ones are gone, but never forgotten.
“Four Benefits To Purchasing a Headstone Online.” HeadstonesUSA.com