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Product testing

Developing a prototype and launching production are cost-intensive processes. Product testing helps to ensure that only those products that are likely to be successful proceed to the production stage. In this way, product testing ensure that investments in production are justified and based on informed decisions. Such studies provides the opportunity to verify assumptions regarding product usefulness and its ability to meet customer needs and requirements.

  • Does my product meet customer expectations?
  • How to modify a product so that it better addresses customer expectations?
  • How do customers rate my product compared to competitor products?

Product testing generate the insight necessary to inform the decision-making process at each stage of a product’s life cycle. The product may be modified or adjusted to meet constantly evolving customer expectations.

In general, product testing is used to assess the technical characteristics of a product, such as its scope of application, appearance or taste, without the context of the product’s brand and price.

This means that when respondents compare products, they compare their substance in isolation from its marketing concept. To fully assess the marketing mix (4 P’s: product, price, place and promotion), product testing should be conducted in parallel with brand research, distribution channel analysis, and copy tests.

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The outcome of the test is included in a report documenting the strengths and weaknesses of a given product or concept, as well as suggested changes and modifications. An indirect result of the test is a series of recommendations for product communication. Analysis of customer feedback at the product development stage may provide insight into the most effective manner of communication as well as the message that is to be communicated.

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Product testing is typically conducted using focus group interviews (FGI) and direct interviews as part of central location tests (CLT). Focus group interviews help stimulate respondents’ creativity and promote their openness to new solutions, which is extremely important in the case of customers who approach new products in a reserved manner. Direct interviews are used to gather opinions in the form of indicators and measurable numbers. Central location tests are frequently used in the testing of existing products (e.g. taste and scent tests) although they are also considered to be effective in concept testing.