What effect, if any, will online competition have on the funeral business? Will growing online sales of funeral goods and services change the industry in any way?
I think the funeral business has been slowly changing to reflect online competition, and more importantly, the trend towards immediate cremation rather than a traditional funeral, but I do not anticipate any huge change or disruption in the near future.
Funeral providers are already forced to be transparent in their pricing. According to the FTC Funeral Rule, a funeral home is required to provide a written price list. They must accept a casket purchased elsewhere, and are not allowed to apply a markup or service charge to it. Cremation providers already advertise their prices in various publications, and discounting is common in that area.
Regardless, even if consumers purchase their own caskets, they are usually obliged to go to a licensed funeral provider for other services needed, be it embalming, preparation, transportation and burial of remains, etc. So profits have been declining while costs are increasing, but I don’t believe the industry will change drastically. I recommend the best way to save money is for consumers to always price shop before the need arises.
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