Innovation That Matters

Online tool helps families begin planning a funeral

Work & Lifestyle

We’ve seen numerous twists and embellishments added to the traditional funeral in recent years, including branded caskets, motorcycle hearses and digitally enabled headstones. There’s still no getting around the fact, however, that planning a funeral can be an overwhelming and time-consuming task for the bereaved. Aiming to prepare families and make the process easier, death-care provider Stewart Enterprises has launched an online tool called the Virtual Arrangement Conference. The Virtual Arrangement Conference’s interactive presentation is designed to walk families through the key points of what they should expect during a meeting at the funeral home. In addition to explaining the process step by step, the interactive tool can also facilitate the collection of information required by the funeral home, using integrated forms to transmit information such as data for the death certificate or facts to be included in the obituary. No information is required to be submitted using the tool, but hundreds of families have already used it to begin the funeral planning process for themselves, the Louisiana company says, cutting down significantly on the in-person meeting time required. Nearly 200 funeral and cremation service providers in 24 states have launched the Virtual Arrangement Conference, which can be seen in action at Florida-based Baldwin-Fairchild Cemeteries and Funeral Homes, for example (login required). Consumers are increasingly accustomed to researching online ahead of time in anticipation of a key decision to be made, so it makes perfect sense to bring such capabilities to the world of funeral preparation as well—particularly if you can do it in the form of a free brand butler that’s designed to help, not sell. Funeral homes, health care workers, hospice volunteers, financial planners—an extra service to offer clients of your own…? Meanwhile, development-minded entrepreneurs—time to start work on a mobile version…? Spotted by: Blake Killian



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