Brief Overview Of Product Concept Testing

concept testing

One of the most crucial elements to a successful business is its products or services. No business exists without having goods or merchandise to sell. You could even say that they are the core of every company.

With that said, creating new products or improving existing ones is important for any business to grow, survive, thrive, and succeed. However, products can be a liability (read more) when it becomes harmful to us. Lawsuits will be filed and would lead to the downfall of the company if not addressed promptly.

What makes potential customers find interest in your product is the appeal to it. This “appeal” can be derived from their uses, looks, and ease of use in consuming, or applying them. Appeal plays an integral part when it comes to selling merchandise to customers. Less appealing products are likely to plummet in the market due to low sales, regardless of how useful it is, or how beautiful it looks.

The realization of how important product appeal leads us to do some research before we begin to sell them. Testing the waters before diving in headfirst is what a smart business owner does. Understanding how appealing it is to the target market, and even the general public, is every researcher’s goal.

In this article, we will discuss what product concept testing is, how it works, and the different approaches involved in testing. 

What Is Product Concept Testing?

Product concept testing is a research method that involves asking several questions often from different groups of people who are representative of their niche. The questions revolve around the concepts or ideas of a product in terms of consumer acceptance. They are then answered by respondents and evaluated by researchers for data. The results serve as a base for new product creations and improvements.

How Does It Work

Simply put, researchers gather people from the public and have them answer survey questions. These people are called respondents, and they can be randomly picked individuals who have no prior idea or experience with the products; or people who are interested or have experience. Being a respondent is voluntary, and you can refuse or back out from answering.

The research can either use quantitative or qualitative data collection, but concept testing more likely uses quantitative data collection. Quantitative data collection uses rating in answering survey questions. For example, a customer rates the service of a waiter on a scale of 1 to 5. With one being unsatisfactory and five is satisfactory. Qualitative, on the other corner, use open-ended questions like “How do you find the services of our waiter and why?”.

After respondents answer the survey questions, the data is collected and evaluated. The evaluation phase is the proving ground of any research; it relies on the results on how appealing the idea is towards consumers. Many product concept testing firms can perform the testing in different areas of the product’s journey, namely product developmental stage, promotional campaign, pricing, and distribution logistics. Additionally, there are different approaches in testing concepts, and below we list a few of the frequently used approaches:

Comparison Testing

As the name suggests, the method focuses on the comparison between two concepts. The respondents are shown two different ideas through the survey, and they determine which one is better. The answers in the questionnaires are determined by ranking the two concepts or having respondents choose between them. The questions asked are different areas that the two ideas might clash.

The advantage of this method is how it easily be understood and how vivid the results are. The winner most likely will be the one used as a base when improving or inventing merchandise. Despite how good the advantage is, it lacks context. You would not have any data about why respondents choose a particular concept.

Monadic And Sequential Monadic

In the monadic approach, respondents are separated into several groups and presented with only one concept. The test aims to gather data from a more in-depth perspective on the single concept. Through this approach, questionnaires are less lengthy, making it possible to have more follow-up questions to go deeper into the subject.

The sequential monadic approach has the same idea behind the monadic method; their difference is how they present the concepts. The group of people is broken down into multiple groups, but rather than showing one idea. The approach shows all of it. Between the two approaches, monadic simulates more in real-life situations (link: https://www.samresearch.com/fileadmin/PDF/Download_Area/2012/2012_SAM_Monadic_Monadic_Sequential.pdf) than the sequential monadic. However, sequential monadic allows cluster analysis since respondents have seen all of the concepts at hand.

These two approaches are highly versatile and can be used to ask more follow-up questions by many researchers. Follow-up questions can include information about how respondents feel about the idea shown, what they think about the price, etc. It becomes an advantage because of how it can give more context to answers.

With all that being said, is product concept testing something your business should try?

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