We love product testing. From testing new and innovative products, to reformulating existing ones, we get very excited about it, especially when those products appear in the shops.
We have a combined product testing experience of around a million years (ok that might be exaggerating slightly, but it’s a lot!).
Therefore, we are sharing 7 TIPS for successful and just as importantly, insightful, product testing.
1. CHOOSE YOUR METHOD WISELY – CENTRAL LOCATION VS IN-HOME?
Most product testing either takes place in a central location or in-home. We use a central location when we need a controlled environment (we know exactly how products are served), or when time or product is limited. In-home testing is most realistic as respondents can try the product at a time and place that they normally would and have longer to consider it. Of course, there are situations where we would ask people to try a product in neither location (for example when exercising!).
2. DECIDE WHETHER YOU NEED TO TEST PRODUCTS “BLIND” VS BRANDED
Do we tell respondents what they’re testing? Well, if you want to find out about pure product performance then no, you should do a blind test. This is often the case for benchmarking or claims testing, as it removes the effect of any branding, packaging and advertising meaning that you know for sure if you’re as good as the competition from a product perspective.
When we do tell respondents the brand they’re testing, we’re looking to find out their opinion of the product offer as a whole. Branded testing is often used for cost reduction exercises to ensure you’re not alienating current consumers.
3. HOW TO CHOOSE BETWEEN MONADIC, PAIRED OR SEQUENTIAL?
Should respondents test just one product (monadic), two products at the same time (paired) or one product after another (sequential monadic). Again this depends on your objectives. A monadic test is generally more realistic, and results are unaffected by what else the respondent has tried. A paired test is very sensitive to small differences between products and used for benchmarking or claims testing, while sequential monadic allows for comparison between products, while maintaining a monadic read for each product (as we can look at scores among those who tried each product first).
4. REMEMBER TO THINK ABOUT COMPLEMENTING YOUR PRODUCT TEST WITH SENSORY OR NEURO
Think about adding in complementary techniques such as sensory testing, which can give you more detailed insight into why some products are preferred over others, and neuroscience which reads respondents emotional response, at the same time as measuring their rational responses.
5. ALWAYS THINK ABOUT LOGISTICS
So many product tests fall foul of bad planning around logistics! Make sure you think carefully about this and plan accordingly. You will probably need to think about the best time to test a product in its shelf life, do you need a chilled or ambient delivery? How should the product be served? How many can respondents test, at what temperature and with what host food/ drink? Of course, these are all things we in the product team are very familiar with dealing with, and we’re always on hand and happy to advise!
6. DON’T FORGET WHO YOU SHOULD SPEAK TO
This basically depends on who your target market is. But there are other considerations – you don’t want to exclude people who may be attracted into the brand by a new offering, flavour or reformulation. What is key is testing among enough people to be sure that your results are robust, and that you can look at any relevant sub-groups if required.
7. CONSIDER ANY REGULATIONS
All market researchers need to think about the MRS code of conduct and consider the implications for their product testing. For example, the consent of a parent or guardian must be sought before interviewing a child under 16 and client goods or services must not be used as incentives!
There is our whistle stop tour of good product testing. If you’d like to know more please contact one of our friendly product testing team or attend one of our free training sessions!Subscribe