Trend #1: Liquor licenses transform funeral homes into event centers
What’s a celebration without good food and drinks? Kolssak Funeral Home’s families have taken this statement to another level, requesting that their local funeral home offer liquor and catering packages for their life celebrations. “It’s all about giving families more options, from being able to have hors d’oeuvres and refreshments during funeral and memorial services, to having a luncheon afterward,” said Jessica Koth of NFDA in the Chicago Tribune.
“The nature of funerals and memorial services is changing … families are planning services that are very different than what has been done in the past,” Koth explained. With more and more funeral homes creating multi-functional event spaces in their funeral homes, this progression only seems natural, and in 2016 we predict that it will explode more than ever before. If we compare funerals to weddings, it doesn’t seem so inappropriate. And, culturally, around the world, alcohol is a big part of celebrating someone’s life. We think this one will prevail, what do you think?
Trend #2: Holographic eulogies let your families speak at their own funeral
We’ve all seen it in the movies – that one last emotional “goodbye” that a person delivers to their loved ones as they prepare to leave this world. But in reality, this meaningful monologue just doesn’t work logistically. These days, finding the time to gather an entire family for a final goodbye is hard to do – people are more separated, busy, and more career-focused than ever before. But what if a person could pre-record a holographic eulogy to be played for their loved ones at their own memorial service? That’s what AIM Holographics aims (no pun intended) to help Baby Boomers do.
Sure, at first glance it might seem a little morbid, but it gives Baby Boomers a chance to take the stage one last time. Plus, it will open the floor to sharing stories and memories of the loved one. And isn’t that what a celebration of life is all about, anyways? Is the curiosity killing you? Watch a sample holographic eulogy from AIM here.
Trend #3: 3D Printing meets personalized urns
Sometimes the selection of urns for a loved one’s cremated remains can seem a bit grim. Thanks to a startup called Foreverence, instead of choosing, your families (or your funeral business) can now design personalized urns, and just press “print”. Foreverence uses 3D printing to take celebrating life to a whole new level. Imagine being able to have your ashes placed in a personalized rocket ship, the Eiffel Tower, or even a 3D model of your face.
The urns are designed uniquely for the loved one, so the family or the loved one can choose their own final resting masterpiece. While the price of their urns is a bit steep ($2,500), the idea is catchy and could spark some interest from all the tech junkies out there. Do you think this idea will prevail or fail?
Trend #4: Less products, more connection
There’s been an interesting business model trending in the business world AND the funeral industry in the last few years. And in 2016, we predict it will finally take center stage.
Basically, this business model is focused more on connecting with customers and building relationships, rather than selling products and building assets.
Think of Uber, Facebook, or AirBnB for example. They’ve all become the largest (and most successful) media, accommodation and rideshare companies in their industries, yet they don’t have or create any content, vehicles or real estate. Rather, they are focused more on creating value that will survive much longer than any product or content can offer. Less assets, more connection. Make that your mantra of 2016. This year we predict the most successful funeral businesses will partner with other local businesses to create a small marketplace for client families, or by letting go of their funeral home all together and fulfilling this next trend…
Trend #5: Bringing the funeral back home
We’ve been hearing about the slow (but definitely present) rise of home funerals for years now. Maybe you’ve turned a blind eye to them, or maybe you’ve somehow embraced them at your firm… or on your own. It doesn’t really matter how you slice it – home funerals are on the rise, and in 2016 we predict this trend to gain even more momentum than it already has.
Advocates of home funerals and green burials are popping up sporadically in the media, and we suspect Caitlin Doughty, a funeral director and founder of The Order Of the Good Death, was on to something in her recent spotlight in the New Yorker, when she said, “Maybe we need to look and say, ‘Wow, let’s look at this beautiful, natural corpse.’”
While the idea of reinventing your funeral business might make your chest tight with anxiety, it’s worth thinking about the fact that one day your business may be mobile or multifunctional. And if you’re smart, both.