Product testing may be the single most important type of research your company ever conducts. Ensuring that your product becomes a top performer in a category is the best way to increase market share, build customer loyalty and jumpstart profitability.
In our 30+ years of experience in market research, we’ve learned: product feedback “in the wild” is almost always the most valuable. Consumers prefer to use products in a natural environment as opposed to testing them out in a lab. That means shampoo in your own shower, food products in your own kitchen. Not only is it more comfortable for the consumer/research participant, but their feedback tends to be more robust, authentic – and therefore, more insightful.
While setting up a home-usage test process might seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be. After all, consumers love getting free products delivered to their doorstep, and most are happy to give candid opinions.
In-home user tests are exactly what they sound like: Your company sends free products to consumers’ homes; customers use the products and provide feedback. Feedback which, hopefully, will help you fine-tune features or predict product acceptance.
When consumers have the opportunity to try a product “in real life,” you gain significant insights that you can’t easily replicate in a lab. Because let’s face it: once your product gets into the hands of consumers at home, it’s a whole new ballgame.
If someone can’t figure out what a strap is for, they might use it wrong. Heck, they may just cut it off! These everyday struggles and resulting workarounds have goldmine potential for your improving your product – if you’re aware of them. It’s the kind of insight only home-usage tests can uncover.
Product tests can be customized to answer specific questions, meet certain goals, or to gain general impressions. A qualified research partner will work with you to determine goals and design the project.
Although each project will look different, typically, you’ll gather consumer feedback in three stages of consumption: before, during, and after.
Here’s an example. A food manufacturer came to us seeking positioning data for a new flavor in an existing successful line of pre-packaged quick-cook meals. In a round of home tests, we asked at-home participants to cook with the product for two weeks.
We sent them three versions of the product along with usage ideas, plus guided questions and a journal for documenting their experience. Upon analyzing the data, we were able to pinpoint which of the three versions stood out, which fell short, and why.
We often partner with national and regional leaders in consumer packaged goods, restaurants, manufacturing, and more to offer in-home product testing.
Despite COVID-19, we can still safely gather home product test data. We regularly use online surveys, video interviews, online focus groups, and telephone interviews. We’re also equipped for many other “social distancing-approved” research methods.
If you can’t perform centralized location product testing or in-person focus groups due to COVID-19, now might be the perfect time to try in-home product testing.
Send us a note to see how we can help!