Business

SAIF partners with cremation experts to help members compete at NFE

SAIF has partnered with cremation experts in order to help Independent funeral directors that visited its stand at the National Funeral Exhibition have an opportunity to learn how to respond to the public’s growing appetite for unattended services.

With nearly a fifth of all funerals now classed as direct cremations, the Society said it suspects that some independent funeral firms are losing market share to national providers of unattended services.

It added that research by SAIF Digital and Golden Charter “goes some way to confirming these fears”, as around three quarters of people surveyed didn’t think small businesses offered direct cremation.

To help independents take advantage of the trend, SAIF has forged the Diamond Partnership with Westerleigh Group and its sub-brand Distinct Cremations – providing members with a range of unattended funeral wholesale price options.

SAIF explained this industry-shaping partnership at the NFE on Friday, 10 June and Saturday, 11 June, calling on the knowledge of cremation experts Alan Jose, Westerleigh Group ambassador, and Steve Wallis, managing director of Distinct Cremations.

Jose has been president of the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities and is a Fellow of the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management.

He said: “What we’re seeing in funeral trends is a growing appetite for bereaved families to have greater control over the process. More people are opting for simple or unattended services and arranging a life celebration after the disposal.

“The funeral profession has an important role to play in this shifting landscape and independent funeral directors working in partnership with Westerleigh Group are well placed to meet modern client needs. I’ll be helping visitors to the SAIF stand understand how this will directly benefit their business, whether it’s a startup or multigenerational.”

Wallis, who joined Westerleigh Group in early 2021, has more than 25 years’ experience in the funeral sector. He spent a large part of his career with Dignity, where he ran the funeral plan business and held the role of commercial director.

He added: “Many of today’s consumers are led by the choices presented to them on the internet and in the mass media. This explains why national providers, with generous marketing budgets, are increasing market share. But it’s not inevitable that big business will dominate.

“Small, independent firms are uniquely placed to be leaders in all types of funerals, thanks to their reputation for personal service and care and position in their local communities. With the right support and strategy in place, we can help SME funeral firms thrive. I’ll be talking about this on the SAIF stand at NFE and look forward to answering questions from funeral directors.”

 

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