Product Testing is the evaluation step in development phase of new product development. It is therefore defined as a process of measuring the performance of a product. Product Testing is often known as consumer testing where the testing is actually processed by the consumers/ buyers. Product Testing ensures consumers/ buyers to understand why products are beneficial for them. (In Text Referencing)
Product Testing therefore enables to make any critical amendments or modifications before the roll out of a product.
It therefore helps in solving problems with a product. Product Testing is perhaps considered the most important type of research conducted by any organisation. With the help of product testing organisations make sure that they are providing top quality products to the consumers and they also make sure that they are keeping up to date with their competitors. It helps in performing tests whether a product has been designed actually meets the needs of the consumers or not.
Product Testing enables organisations to forecast demand of that product from the consumers.
Research Objectives for Product Testing – Following are considered to be some of the research objectives for product testing:
a) Making sure that there are no issues within the product
b) Keeping an eye on the potential threats of competitor’s products.
c) And also keeping an eye in terms of consumer’s acceptance towards a product
d) Making sure that the products which are being used by the users are safe as well as reliable and does not pose any threat towards them
Key Information we would be looking to find out:
a) The demand of it in different marketplaces
b) Potential type of consumers that are willing to buy the product
c) How can we Collaborate or partner with other brands in order to promote the product
d) We would also be looking to find out what is the customer’s response towards the product whether they are liking it or not
e) And also if there are any errors within the product we can come to know about potential improvements within it
Various stages used in the product testing and their justifications:
It will all begin as in how the company can reach the user group. There are considered to be various ways to reach out to the user groups for example through e-mailing or through personal connection. However in this case the use of e-mailing will be beneficial as it is more flexible, faster as well as cheaper as compared to the personal connection as the latter involves calling, messaging every user which can prove to be costly as well as quite time consuming too. (In Text Referencing)
Another aspect that we need to keep in mind is identity disclosure (In Text Referencing) and how much information we are supposed to provide to the users. And therefore full information will be provided to the users to ensure that the product is used safely as well as properly.
Product Testing Stages:
1) Testing the product – Product Testing would be conducted with the help of monadic tests because with the help of monadic tests the suitable respondents will test a single product for a certain amount of time and after testing will share their feedbacks on that particular product. These tests are considered often simplest. (In Text Referencing)
2) Product Testing would be conducted between the insiders as well as outsiders as it will involve personnel inside the company as well as personnel outside the company to demonstrate a detailed understanding.
3) For how long testing should be conducted – The tests will be conducted for some amount of time as it will result in substantial learning of the product but also I would be using Central Location Test Approach (CLT) because under this approach the tests would conducted under the presence of a moderator. The results are generated quickly under this approach as compared to the in-home use test, the research is conducted within one day, involves direct communication, the participants can ask multiple questions at a time and that is beneficial from a product’s perspective whereas on the other hand in In-Home use test) the products first have to be shipped and then the users will use the product and then will give a feedback which can be quite time consuming. Although CLT approach is very cost effective but with the help of this tremendous amount of people can be interviewed and it also lets an organisation know that how their product will be accepted within the market place. It straight away shows results, shows consumer’s response as well as their reaction on whether they are willing to accept the product or not whole heartedly.
4) CLT Approach allows organisations to hire some amount of consumers/ buyers and who are then allowed to come and take part in the research under safe as well as controlled environments. In order to evaluate the CLT approach the first process will be to identify a target market.
As mentioned above in suitable respondents in concept testing the target market focus would be on customers who might make or break the deal. The need would be to identify the section of the society which would easily be able to relate to the product. In the case of Virtual Reality Technology, such section would be teenagers, especially between the age group of 13-17 years, as these kids are more inclined towards games and are aware of the latest trends and latest technologies.
This will further lead to the organisation recruiting some of the potential target market where they will take part in the research and will give their feedbacks. As mentioned above the research will be conducted under safe and controlled environments and such environments could be a laboratory or a shopping complex where they will come and will use the products and then will provide their feedback about the product.
5) Medium of market research techniques – And therefore both focus groups as well as surveys would be used as a medium of market research techniques as with the help of them we can get to know about different opinions, their preferences, were they satisfied with the product or not, what could be some of the potential improvements we can focus on for the improvisation of the product, whether they liked the product or not, were their expectations met with the particular product etc.
Therefore the above mentioned product testing stages are very critical in order to test the prototype under safe operating environment. After conducting different product testing stages it will give an insight on to whether the customers like the product, whether they are following the instructions or are they using their imagination, do they get tired of it quickly and on the other hand asking them how much are they willing to pay to purchase the virtual reality headset. And also it will provide an insight with so much of competition in the market whether a company actually believes in offering top wide range of products to its customers in order to keep up in the market with their competitors. This will ensure that the product is actually safe for general use and does not pose any threats. With the help of the product testing stages unsolicited feedback can be generated from the customers with new ideas, new features, whether there is a need to change the price or not or any other marketing tactic with the help of conducting post-use surveys or it could be either focus groups. It will also help in identifying defects within the product. Product Testing Techniques will provide a detailed understanding on a product’s endurance within the specific environmental conditions, whether the product is delivering all of the promises made by the company or does it require room for further improvement.
It will also provide an in-depth understanding in terms of the product’s quality and therefore will be very vital as it will demonstrate if the product is superior to other products that are available in the market. For example if the product didn’t last too long than the company have to think of pushing the price down because customers will not be willing to pay a huge amount if the product can’t even last too long. Similarly if the product focuses high on quality and doesn’t have flaws in it then at the same time price can go higher as it will tick all the boxes for the company. Therefore the strategy of pricing as well as the product testing are always a process that should be conducted together.
Limitations of Product Testing
There are considered to be plenty of limitations of concept testing but the most important one’s have to be the cost of it, as well as competitor awareness.
1) Expensive – It is often seen that companies while testing their product concept generally rely of focus groups. And that means relying on focus groups is often considered an expensive process as these focus groups actually cost a lot of money from the companies perspective as they end up paying quite a big amount of money to them. There is one more reason to why it is considered as an expensive process and that is many organisations ensure that their employees are working full time and long hours and generally spending a lot of time on testing the product which ultimately results in employees’ wages costing quite a lot to the company and keeping in mind companies end up paying them on penalty rates or at overtime rates.
2) Competitor Awareness – Competitor Awareness is considered to be another limitation of product testing. For example organisations are always at risk when their competitors are trying to know more about their particular product. It is often seen that many organisations are trying to learn as well as trying to know more about their competitor’s product within the market. And they end up doing this with the help of what different type of business strategies their competitors are using and on the basis of how their competitors are marketing their product. An example can be seen where suppose if the time involved in product testing is a bit long then this actually gives their competitors ample amount of time to research and then actually develop their own products. And after they have known about their competitor’s particular product they can then roll out their products as early as possible.
3) Time Consuming – Another limitation of product testing is that it is time consuming. As most of the organisations often spend most of the time in testing the product because a lot is at stake for these organisations. And another factor is from the consumer’s perspective that they also take some amount of time to get to know about a particular product’s availability within the market which is another time consuming factor.