South Africa

Uber for undertakers: Funerals services join the digital revolution

The creators of Sendoff want to take the hassle out of planning a funeral, and allow for the mobile choosing of a casket, flowers, transport and more.

In a rapidly changing age where almost everything is going mobile, and a business without an online presence is as good as dead, the death industry was not to be left behind.

Dealing with the death of a loved one is awful enough, but it is what goes into planning the entire send-off that can prove even more stressful, which is why app-developer, Sendoff, came up with their new Funeral App.

The app allows the user to digitally plan the entire service, from choosing a casket or urn, arranging flowers, transport and catering, at the tip of their fingers.

“The app also has checklists detailing all the steps needed to properly plan a funeral and links to our website with a wealth of data around how to do anything related to a funeral” Zolani Matebese, chief executive officer (CEO) of Sendoff, says.

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He admitted that death was a difficult subject to discuss.

If you have just experienced a bereavement, Matebese says, it could be the worst time to start finding out.

“Before Sendoff, you would call and have to visit one or more funeral parlours in person, relive the trauma of the recent bereavement by explaining what has happened and what your wishes are and be funnelled and pressure sold into whatever service made sense for the funeral parlour at that time. You never really know if you’re doing all the right things, how to compare offerings for value and it is a vulnerable, scary and traumatic process,” he said.

Matebese said they created the app to digitise the entire process of arranging a funeral, including arranging for a body to be picked up from a home or hospital.

He said the app was extremely easy to use and that other than enabling the user to arrange a catered event with an oyster bar, users working in cities will be able to plan a funeral or send a loved one’s body back home to the rural areas.

Matebese said though the target market was the 30-35 age group, the app was not intended to break traditions where families come together for moral support and arrange the funeral.

He said days where aunties and uncles planned funerals were diminishing and that this responsibility now fell on the younger ones.

Thabisile Sethaba, chief operations officer (COO), said with the Covid-19 pandemic, the app cuts out travel and contact, particularly for the elderly.

She said the app, free to download and data cost-effective, was available for arranging any funeral service in Gauteng in the Google Play store from May, in the Apple IOS and Huawei App Gallery stores from 5 June.

Sethaba said nationwide availability for the app, which she said was a world-first, is expected in September.

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