Product testing is a very vital stage in the research of any product by a company.
Product testing is basically a research methodology that allows companies to conduct both qualitative and quantitative analysis regarding the behavior and impact on customers. Product testing can also be understood to mean the study of influences upon consumer behavior and the analysis of market trends.
Regardless of whether the product is a consumer non-durable or a software product, it is vital to make your audience consume it in order to accurately monitor their response to your product. These responses can vary from the customer’s reactions to product usage, the ability of the product to affect the sense of smell of the customer, among others.
The reason why 95% of product brands fail is that often, a brand pushes for a product to launch without first analyzing the product’s effect on its users, without finding out if the product is a good fit for your customers and without some input from your prospects, even the most experienced decision-makers struggle to make the right decisions. Product testing is a great way to resonate with your audience and also to meet your goals in case you have a resonate idea you want to bring out.
Product testing is the most effective way to get customer sentiment and find the best and most likely customers for your product. It is also a great way for your target audience to participate, given the many options that are presented to them to provide feedback on. Product testing allows you to compare such matrix as the following to help determine the product concept that customers and prospects like best;
Quality of product most purchased
Value of product most liked
Approaches to product testing
There are two approaches or types of product testing; CLT and IHUT. The two methodologies are not so different, but they have a number of small differences to tell them apart.
IHUT- In-Home Usage Test
In IHUT studies, the product is usually tested within the consumer’s home. This type of approach requires the company in question to ship the product to the target audience’s home,
from where research is carried out. IHUT allows consumers to prepare and consume the product from their homes, after which they share their experiences during and after the test. These tests are done mostly via online market research platforms and via mobile. This approach is perfect for products that require time to use or consume, such as hygiene products.
This approach is also suitable, and it provides more accurate insights for durable and non-durable products as the customers get to use them how and where they are supposed to use them.
CLT- Central Location Test
As the name suggests, this approach requires customers to be recruited and engage in product research in a very controlled environment. The aim of the CLT is to have consumers share their experiences after product testing is done in either a laboratory or a mall. This type of approach uses traditional market research companies for efficiency. CLT approach is more impactful in that, and the tests are carried out with a moderator’s observation. This allows the companies to conduct research directing it towards the behavior of their consumers.
Product clinics for durable goods
Central location product clinics are the best techniques to use on durable goods when product testing. Such products as washing machines, automobiles, and refrigerators can employ this method during their product testing phases. In a product clinic, the test product, a car, for instance, is placed in a central location facility together with major competitive automobiles. The potential buyers and target consumers to that type of car are then brought in to view, evaluate, and examine the displayed cars.
Importance of Product testing
Product testing is the surest way to achieve clear-cut product superiority. It uses a brand to engender the loyalty of your customers, build brand share, and also to boost profitability for the company in question. Product testing is the best way for companies to build brand and product recognition, especially at a time when competition among companies and bigger businesses has become very rapid and stiff.
Product testing is becoming very vital to companies, and most especially to…
small companies and start-up companies that are dying to get their products in the market. The following are some of the importance attributed to product testing;
Product testing helps measure the effects of aging on products, also known as shelf-life studies. This is important, especially for technology-based companies and industries, to measure the effect of time on these products. Accelerated life testing is what tells apart products that can stand the test of time from those that can’t. Product testing helps to improve product performance as well as customer satisfaction in that; it helps to maintain the superiority of the product especially at a time when customers’ tastes are always improving
Achieving product superiority over other competitive products; It aids in monitoring of potential threats from the competition. When you do product testing on something, you are able to identify its flaws, this way, and it’s easier to compare its use in a range of real environments and settings. When you are able to monitor the potential threat levels from your competitors through product testing, you are able to understand their strengths and weaknesses alike.
Product testing ensures safety in that it guarantees the product is safe for general consumption. It is the surest way to ensure consumers deliver quality and safe products to their customers and the best way to earn the customers’ trust in your products.
Other importances of product testing are;
It helps solve problems with the end product and reproducing the types of damages found from the consumption of consumer’s for old products.
It validates the suitability for the end-use of the product.
It demonstrates proof of concept for new products when new product development is done.
It provides evidence of product liability, product claims, and patterns, among others, in legal proceedings.
Product testing is sometimes a verification that the requirements of a regulation, a specification, or a contract are met.
It also provides a basis for technical communication as well as a technical means to compare different options.
Advantages of product testing
The product testing process allows companies to implicitly gauge the effects of such factors like the brand name, packaging, and also price effects on target customers. This is done against perceived product quality for maximum customer satisfaction. There are a number of advantages to product testing for companies and businesses:
It makes it easier to convince people to back your product concept
Often, people want to see numbers before they are convinced to make an investment in a certain product. As such, product testing enables you to get the large numbers you need; nobody can argue against hard numbers. It is also easier to identify which of your products best resonate with your target consumers to be in a better position to persuade other stakeholders to get behind these choices.
Frequent testing allows an easier and faster reaction to change.
Agile market research is the best way to frequently and actively collect data. This can be done by sending surveys to your target customers regularly without necessarily relying on a third-party organization’s insights and data. This way, you are able to react more quickly to changes in your market.
You are made aware of the features that need improvement.
At times, consumers may like one of your products but still prefer a simpler variation of that product, maybe for its utility. Other times the customers love the products but are a little concerned about the privacy policies, which is where product testing comes in. Product testing enables you to put together the best features of each option, as suggested by your target consumers, to make one great product.
You’re aware of where your product concept resonates.
Product testing allows you to filter the responses you get. As such, it is easy to determine how different people feel about your product concepts based on their ages, gender, and location, among others. The information you collect then helps you determine and match the ideal market for you to launch your product brand.
Product testing methods
The phase for product testing comes after the implementation of the product requirements. The methods for product testing vary depending on
the category of the product. Goods that are consumer packaged, for instance, recommend in house usage testing while durables recommend clinic testing. There is a standardized monadic system that is designed for in-home usage testing. This method allows testing of all products in the exact same way, which then allows results comparison over time and tests.
Waterfall methodology- This methodology allows testing on products to be carried out once product development is complete. The waterfall methodology determines the product’s release to the market.
Agile methodology- This methodology allows testing to be done as soon as a functioning requirement has been built. This is done regardless of the size of the product and the functionality requirements.
What necessitates product testing?
There are a number of reasons that necessitate product testing and research for companies and businesses.
Poor customer feedback:
If your customers have had a bad experience with your product on another feature, it is important to carry out product testing before proceeding with the launch. Once the customers have shared their feedback with you, it is important to consider the feedbacks to validate the important ones and invalidate the major ones to help minimize risks even in a growing market.
Development of a new product:
When you are developing a new product that you want to be released to the market, it is paramount to test it with your target audience before mass production. This aids in ensuring that the reactions to the product are positive such as in regards to packaging, smell, and also the taste of the product.
Development of a new feature:
Developing a new feature on an already successful product can be stressful. This is where product testing comes in. Before proceeding with the direct implementation of the new features you are incorporating, it is important to do a product test to allow your target audience to react to the new feature.
Unachieved product goals can be very frustrating
When your product has not met the expectations you had in mind, it gets difficult achieving your targets. This is usually a suggestion that there is something wrong with the product. Product testing helps you figure out what exactly is amiss with your product, be it the flavor, product name, or even the design of the package, among others.
Getting ready for product testing
The general anatomy for product testing includes stages in three phases; before consumption, consumption, and after consumption.
Identify the target audience:
Product testing requires a very specific type of audience, which is why it is important to identify the audience you want for your product usage before starting to test it out. This is done after a lot of research and after thoroughly understanding the market need for your product or service.
Select the type of product testing:
Based on your product and your objectives, it is easy to determine the approach you want for your product research, either CLT or IHUT. If your company is a traditional one, the CLT approach will work better. This approach requires that you call a client to avail himself to a central location where you test a product and have them complete a survey. If your company is a modern one, the IHUT approach is the most recommended. This approach requires the company to send the prototypes to the audience at home. The audience then shares back their experiences with the product, without any pressure or distractions.
Define the objective:
This is especially important because it helps in drafting the research questionnaire, especially for CLT approach based product tests.
Releasing a new product to consumers is worthless if the product does not perform exceptionally. This is especially harder for small and brand new companies who have to go above and beyond expectations for their product to be outstanding in a very competitive market. Products that do not perform to the satisfaction of the customers’ standards, the company loses loyalty and customer satisfaction, which strains the relationship between the two parties. As such, it is paramount to have your product testing done, and only by experienced professionals.