As cremations have taken a bite out of funeral home revenues, third-party marketers also are having an impact.
“While funeral homes have traditionally benefited from limited competition, major online retailers now offer caskets, urns and memorial items and allow consumers to compare prices,” according to a report from the National Funeral Directors Association. “This suggests an increasing urgent need for funeral providers to adapt.”
Shortly after Costco, a warehouse retailer, began selling caskets online, Walmart was quick to enter the market. Now several online retailers are competing for a piece of the business.
Other third-party funeral accessory product sellers include Star Legacy Funeral Network Inc., a McHenry, Ill., company that sells direct and also supplies products to other online retailers.
Costco offers caskets that start at $899. Its urns start at $89. Meanwhile, Walmart has caskets that start at $1,109. It charges a $49.99 freight delivery fee. Amazon has caskets that start at $1,041. Pet caskets start at $89.99.
To meet some of the challenges, funeral homes, “will likely offer more products and services associated with cremation,” the NFDA said. “It is predicted that funeral homes will continue expanding their array of extra services offered to families.”
“Though more people are going online for their funeral products, funeral homes cannot refuse a third-party casket or charge a service fee,” said Aziz Al-Sager, a funeral director with Casey Family Options, 3016 75th St.