Trend Watch: Add Even More Personalization Capabilities to Your Funeral Home
Posted July 10, 2017
6 min read
“As the funeral industry changes and evolves, personalization has become one of the trends that shouldn’t be ignored,” says Kristin Rappaport of AP Lazer when we spoke with her about the company’s offerings—including casket engraving, custom monuments, pet markers, and much more.
These are just a few of the ways funeral directors are creating personalized items for families using laser technology.
“It’s true families want unique ways to honor their loved ones, resulting in a funeral that is not much of a funeral at all, but more of a life celebration, and personalized laser engraving is one way to do that,” says Rappaport.
In our Q&A session with Rappaport, she spoke to us about the benefits of personalized laser engraving, what makes laser machines unique, and other factors funeral professionals should know about when offering these kinds of custom memorials and keepsakes to families.
Here are the highlights from our conversation.
Q: In simple terms, AP Lazer provides laser engraving equipment. How does this work, for those unfamiliar or only slightly familiar?
Kristin Rappaport: A laser works similarly to a printer. Simply put, a user creates a file then sends the file to the laser. Instead of printing ink, the laser alters the surface of the material, most often by removing/burning the surface.
This is called an engraving; dozens of materials can be enhanced with a laser. Wood, metal, granite, brick, fabric and glass just to name a few. In addition to engraving, a laser can also cut some materials such as wood and acrylic. A laser does not alter the structural integrity of the material it engraves, making it a great tool for adding personalization and customization to nearly any item.
Q: To that point, so many items and materials can be custom-made/engraved for families: cardboard, glass, caskets, brick, metal, granite memorials, and more. What are you seeing as the most popular commemorative memorial product right now?
Kristin Rappaport: Right now, memorials are probably the most popular to personalize. Memorialists have been providing granite monuments with some level of personalization for hundreds of years. As technology evolves, people are demanding a new level of personalization, and that is where a laser comes in. Photos, text and other detailed artwork can be engraved onto black granite to keep memories alive forever.
Imagine visiting a loved one at a cemetery and being seeing high resolution photos instead of traditional sandblast artwork. It’s almost as if you are viewing a photo album of your loved one. Many funeral directors are quickly finding their way into offering memorials because they are very profitable…Commemorative memorial products are becoming popular too, as families are wanting to add special touches to a funeral service, or provide family members their own special keepsake.
Q: Speaking of personalized keepsakes for those attending a celebration of life, is this increasing in popularity?
Kristin Rappaport: It’s becoming a popular trend to give funeral attendees a little something to take away, a trinket or keepsake to keep someone’s departed loved one in their hearts after the funeral. Families also see it as a nice gesture of thanks for their support.
A laser engraving can add a personal touch, making a keepsake even more special. We’re liking things like mini glass hearts, river rocks, and even a wooden bottle opener. All of these can be laser engraved.
Q: And how is this used with pet memorialization?
Kristin Rappaport: With so many options for pets available, the lack of memorialization options for our furry friends who have left the earth is surprising. Many vet clinics offer cremation services, but for the most part, owners aren’t given many other options for dealing with the loss of a beloved companion. You can personalize granite pet memorial products, wooden memorials, glass and crystal, and more.
Q: Another item gaining attention is laser-engraved memorial tiles. What should funeral professionals know about these?
Kristin Rappaport: There are so many possibilities for a simple granite tile. Granite is very easily engraved and produces a beautiful finish. Engrave any photo, text or other artwork to create a lasting, impressive and affordable product.
These tiles can be used in a variety of ways: consider gifting a few to each family to thank them for their service, offer them for purchase to family members as well as attendees. A beautiful tile can make quite a statement on a shelf or fireplace mantle; you can bet that everyone will be asking where such a unique tribute came from.
Q: If you had to estimate, what kind of revenue could funeral professionals see from this kind of offering?
Kristin Rappaport: There really is no limit to the kind of revenue you can generate with AP Lazer! A single laser engraving on a memorial or two casket engravings have the potential to pay the monthly lease of an AP Lazer. (And that’s’ our largest model.)
Not only can you add massive value to your current products (memorials, urns, caskets, memorial keepsakes) but you can diversify into new markets and offer products entirely unrelated to the funeral industry. Funeral directors have spent many years building loyalty and relationships in the community. People love personalized gifts to remember the special events in their life: the birth of a child, christenings, birthdays, retirements and weddings just to name a few.
The average shopper spends $830 on gifts each year. Imagine if 250 of your customers spent just a quarter of that with you. That’s an extra $50,000 in additional revenue in just one year! (More than enough to pay for your laser machine!)
Q: Anything else that funeral directors should know when considering this kind of option to continue to deliver innovative offerings to families?
Kristin Rappaport: We understand that a large piece of equipment can be intimidating. We want all funeral directors to realize their potential and understand that they can take their business and personalization to an entirely new level…AP Lazer is making it possible to engrave every memory and every dream on every surface!
Free Up Time So You Can Focus On Your Families’ Experiences
CRäKN is your go-to, cloud-based solution to help your funeral home staff collaborate better, faster, and with less effort than ever before. That frees up time for you to spend focusing on your families and personalizing their experiences. As just a few examples, with CRäKN, you can:
- Automatically notify staff and vendors through email or text whenever a service is planned;
- Communicate and collaborate across all your locations;
- See (and manage) your digital Whiteboard—at anytime, and at any place.
About AP Lazer
AP Lazer’s patented open architecture machine design allows for laser cutting and engraving of wood, plastic, stone, glass, metal, and more with no weight or size restrictions. See more about how AP Lazer can offer you the ability to take your personalization options to the next level at http://aplazer.com/funeral/
Photo courtesy of AP Lazer
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