Are You a Price Shopper
"In the past decade, customers have become very strategic," argues Dr. Özalp Özer, a professor at the University of Texas. In fact, more and more people are using price comparison websites like PriceGrabber, Shopping.com, and Valuetag. In this article we look at the common price shopper behavior and explore the concept of smart shopping as it relates to making what we call "the cremation decision" (opting for cremation over traditional casketed burial). We will conclude with the argument that being a cost conscious consumer–whether you're in the market for a car or looking for low-cost, high-value cremation services–is proving to be a sound money-saving strategy, and one which we understand and support.
What is a Price Shopper?
A cost-conscious consumer or price shopper, is a person who works diligently to learn how much things cost, and who also generally avoids buying expensive things. They engage in comparison shopping, which is the practice of comparing prices (to find the best deals) often in advance of actually shopping. At one time comparison shopping was usually done only in anticipation of buying occasional, big ticket items; however today's price shoppers have expanded its use to include unexpected (yet necessary) purchases–like those involved in cremation care. A price shopper engages in calculated consumption; where the practice of smart shopping (the investment of considerable effort and time to realize cost savings) overrides the tendency to buy without regard to price or value.
"Consumers are focusing more on price while making buying decisions," notes the author of the online article "Up to 80% of Consumers are Considered 'Price Conscious'"; who goes on to share the findings of recent research: "eight out of every 10 consumers are consistently looking for deals when they shop."
This shift is only one of the changes in consumer spending patterns; according to the author of "The Post-Recession Consumer Mindset"; over the past ten years the trend has been to "return to lifestyles more focused on community, connection, affordability, and quality".
Let's Not Forget about Mindful Consumption
In addition to realizing there are significant benefits to being cost conscious; many people also now recognize something profound: how they decide to spend their money is a form of power which they can exercise to affect social or environmental change. By moving to what is called "mindful consumption", increasingly purchasing goods and services from companies meeting their standards and reflecting their values; consumers are using the dollars they spend in support of causes they believe worthy. And today's mindful, cost-conscious consumers–including those living in our community–share some unique characteristics (which may describe you, too).
Here's What We Know
It's not much of a surprise to anyone, really; things are always changing. Not just our physical landscape evolves; our mental and social landscapes do as well. We've had the privilege of watching the often very slow changes affecting this area, including changes in consumer motivations. And what we've seen over the years is quite clear; families and individuals living in our area to be increasingly:
Savvy about marketing techniques and practices, and skilled in both online search, and the use of social media. This means they have equal or superior access to the kinds of information needed to make purchasing decisions. This in turn forces business owners to be very transparent about their business policies, pricing, and procedures. We respond by providing them with 1.) Informative, thought-provoking website content on issues relating to cremation, and 2.) Trust-building, confidence-enhancing materials such as the Code of Ethics and Our Story pages.
Characterized by a new thrifty mindset. Just a few years ago, the American dream was large, and defined by "acquisition"–getting as much stuff as possible. Now, people in our community largely seem to prefer a pared-down lifestyle, where simplicity and economy are more the focus than in the conspicuous consumption of the past. We've responded to this shift by offering very affordable, value-driven cremation products and services.
Choose to spend more money on experiences rather than merchandise. Individuals are no longer interested in being a passive on-looker; instead, they desire active participation and a more robust sensory experience. We respect this new desire for life-enhancing experiences, and support it in two ways: 1.) In offering area families witness cremation services, where they can be present and to some degree participate in the cremation of their loved one, and 2.) by encouraging surviving family members to get actively involved in the preparation for the funeral, memorial service or celebration-of-life.
Are looking for ever-smarter and more efficient ways to tend to solve old problems. People are looking for ways to get the very most from their time, their resources and their living space. We've made making cremation arrangements, whether at the time of need or as part of planning ahead, streamlined and less stressful. It's even possible to make your cremation plans online, using our proprietary online prearrangement program, PreArrange Online.
Have expectations of kindness and empathy. More so than ever, individuals in our community are looking to do business with a company which cares about their community and is investing significant time, energy and/or money in making things better for everyone living there. We have a long history of service to the community. Members of our staff devote countless hours to local charitable causes, and our firm works alongside non-profit agencies to educate and promote positive change.
Searching for depth and meaning in their lives. Increasing aware of the "noise" in our lives, they crave time away from Internet over stimulation; take their personal ethical responsibility very seriously, and choose to engage in self-development during their leisure time. With the intention of supporting this shift, we support a wide diversity of educational and life-enriching programs in our area.
Desire ultra-personalized services and products. Consumers in our area are looking for what are called bespoke or "made to order" services and products. And because digital and technological advances enable us to create in new ways, we are easily able to provide the families we serve with their desired level of personalization in the cremation services and products they purchase.
We Support the Price Shopper
Because we know price shopping does take considerable time which (such as when a family member dies unexpectedly) is not always available, and because transparent business practices (and pricing) matter to today's consumers; we provide price shopping website visitors with the facts they're looking for.(Interested in reviewing the cost of our cremation services? Then read Cremation Packages.)
But we don't focus solely on product or service pricing; we also provide information on the cremation process itself; statistics on the continuing rise in the popularity of cremation, and a look at existing restrictions placed cremation by leaders of major religions. It's all very interesting reading, intended to support you and your family in making the right decision for your situation. But, if what you see here doesn't sufficiently empower you, or if you need to clarify your thinking by speaking with a licensed funeral professional, please call us at 406-543-5595. A member of our staff will be delighted to act as your mentor, guide and ally in the cremation decision process.
Barkworth, Hazel, "Six Trends that Will Shape Consumer Behavior this Year", Forbes, 2014.
Retail Touch Points, "Up to 80% of Consumers are Considered 'Price Conscious'", 2014
Credit Union National Association, "The Post-Recession Consumer Mindset", Escan, Volume 37, Number 8, August, 2011
"When is the Price Right? Professor Finds Clues in Shopper's Behavior", University of Texas at Dallas, 2014