Where was the last place you made a purchase? And was it at a physical store location or online?
If you answered “online,” you’re not alone. In 2010, online (also known as ecommerce) sales made up nearly 4.2% of all purchases. Fast forward a decade to 2020, and ecommerce purchases have quadrupled, making up more than 16% of all sales.
This growing trend has infiltrated just about every industry including the memorial business—but should it? Purchasing online is easy and fast, but if you’re looking for the best deal, an online memorial retailer will likely give you more headaches than benefits. We explore why you should be cautious about purchasing a memorial online below.
1. Cemetery Rules and Regulations
Each cemetery has rules and regulations that differ from others, and it’s important that you know your selected cemetery’s specifications and limitations before purchasing any memorial.
When you purchase a memorial online, you should expect that the business does not know the rules or regulations of each local cemetery. If the piece you purchase is not aligned with the cemetery’s material, type, size or style requirements, your memorial may be denied and not allowed to be placed.
You can avoid this risk by familiarizing yourself with the rules and regulations of your preferred cemetery to ensure your memorial meets their requirements. One of the easiest ways to do this is by skipping an online retailer and working directly with a local memorial provider in person.
These businesses have built relationships with local cemeteries and are familiar with the size, style and other essential requirements for placing memorials on individual plots. When you buy online, you might find a more attractive price, but you run this risk that the cemetery will not install your memorial, or you’ll have to pay more to fix and/or redesign it to exact specifications.
2. Customer Advocacy
The first time you purchase a memorial, your first inclination is likely to search Google for an online memorial provider. In theory, the process sounds easy—online shopping gives you the option to compare prices and vendors, and browse memorial designs.
While online shopping may work well for a new pair of shoes or kitchen gadget, this is seldom the best option for a memorial purchase.
Online memorial providers rarely design and create pieces themselves, but instead outsource, becoming the middleman. This can add hidden costs to your final bill and extend the production timeline longer than expected.
Additionally, online providers may produce poor quality memorials and customer service experiences. So if you have a poor experience or face an unlawful regulation on the part of a cemetery, you have little (if any) assistance in resolving the issue.
Conversely, a reputable memorial provider understands your rights as a customer and will do what is necessary to ensure you receive the memorial you want, and the respect you and your family deserve. Designing and purchasing a memorial is a deeply personal experience—a reputable memorial provider advocates for you and supports you during this emotional time.
3. Stone Setting
Regardless of the cemetery you chose and its unique rules and regulations, most will not accept memorials from online providers, opting instead to return it to the sender.
Many cemeteries follow these rules because they must have a proof of insurance from a local memorial provider before they can place the stone. Online retailers often do not provide these proofs, resulting in time-consuming and avoidable headaches for those who purchased the monument or memorial.
When you work with a local memorial provider, rest assured that you will receive a proof of purchase, as well as a number of documents and design approvals for you, a family member or funeral director to certify that each element of the process is aligned with your expectations and the cemetery’s regulations. Once the memorial provider receives your payment and has your approval, you can expect your memorial within eight to 12 weeks.
4. Memorial Quality
Convenience rarely equates to quality when it comes to purchasing a memorial. While the convenience and low prices of online shopping is undeniable, you’ll likely end up paying a higher price for an often-lower quality memorial. To keep prices low, many online retailers use lower grades of granite or stone sizes and finishes that are misaligned with local cemeteries’ rules and regulations.
A local, reputable memorial provider, like Milano Monuments, uses only high-quality granite in a variety of colors to withstand the test of time. Higher grades of granite deliver durability, density and structural integrity, ensuring that your memorial will look great for centuries to come.
Online shopping also doesn’t give you the opportunity to see and touch your memorial to ensure quality. A local provider, on the other hand, provides a showroom full of samples and materials.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we currently offer video appointments to ensure safety. During your appointment, you’ll chat with a memorial specialist, have access to our memorial options and samples, and view your headstone’s design in real time.
Learn More About Purchasing a Memorial for Your Loved One
As you’ve read, one of the most important reasons we advise against online memorial providers is they generally increase the final cost of a memorial for a lower quality product. To learn even more about what goes into the cost of a memorial, download our Memorial Cost Guide.