March 26, 2010, 12:00 AM

YouTube videos reduce return rates for a distributor of office furniture

Offering product videos on YouTube has reduced the rate of product returns for office furniture distributor OFM Inc.

Zak Stambor

Managing Editor

Offering product videos on YouTube has reduced the rate of product returns for OFM Inc., a distributor of office furniture that sells to online retailers and other merchants.

OFM has produced more than 90 videos since early 2009 that retailers and consumers can watch on the company’s YouTube channel, or that retailers can offer on their sites. Since then, the average return rate for furniture featured in the spots has declined to about a half a percentage point lower than OFM’s typical return rate of 1.5%, says Abel Zalcberg, the company’s founder and CEO.

“We get a lot of returns without us having done anything wrong,” he says. For instance, customers might return furniture because they did not receive the exact color they thought they were getting based on a print ad. “Now with videos, at least they are getting better information about color,” Zalcberg says, adding that the videos can be viewed in high definition.

The videos typically last between two and three minutes, though some can last at least twice as long, and feature not only product descriptions but instructions about use. The video host in one spot, Abel’s son Blake, demonstrates how to use the levers on an office chair.

Retailers that sell the company’s furniture include CSN Stores, No. 63.

“OFM has done a great job of utilizing social media platforms like YouTube to help customers and end-users interact with their products in a fun and engaging way,” says Dean Stier, marketing director for National Business Furniture, which sells OFM furniture to institutions and individual online shoppers. The retailer offers OFM videos on its site; a product video for an OFM ergonomic executive conference chair was located below the printed product information.

Besides Zalcberg’s son, an OFM salesperson also helps produce the videos. The two of them can produce five per week, Zalcberg says, a process that might take up to eight hours for filming and editing. “As we get better, we are starting to make them funnier and funnier,” he says.

The more than 90 videos already produced feature about 900 products, as OFM includes multiple items in each single video.

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