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An In-Depth Actionable Guide to Product Testing: Importance, Methods, Types, and Best Practices

Learn why product testing is an important part of developing successful products. Discover how it can help you identify strengths and weaknesses, benefit consumers, and improve overall effectiveness. Get valuable feedback on your ideas with product testing.

What is Product Testing?

Product testing, alternatively known as consumer testing or comparative testing, is a methodology employed to assess the potential success of a product within a specific target audience. This process helps you put into perspective metrics like purchase intent and value so you can ascertain who your product attracts and what value it is to them. The product testing procedure is done before the launch of a product. It entails asking existing customers and prospective customers what they think of the idea of the product. There are about thirty thousand products launched each year, and 95% of them fail.

This is not an encouraging statistic especially if you have new products you are thinking of launching. Creating a new product entails a significant investment of effort and resources, and no one wishes for their product to fail. To ensure a smooth product launch and sales, it is advisable to consider investing in product testing. Product testing provides a means of obtaining candid feedback from individuals regarding your new product or service.

Product testing is essential as it enables you to gather valuable insights from individuals regarding the price, efficiency, and value of a product. By conducting product testing, you can identify potential issues with the product or service before its launch, providing an opportunity for necessary adjustments. This form of research provides concrete data about the product or service before its release, allowing you to determine whether potential customers would be willing to purchase it at the proposed price point.

Product testing can help you figure out if there are any changes you need to make to your product. It’s important to remember that product testing isn’t about stealing people’s ideas, but getting feedback on your fully-formed product or ideas.

By doing this kind of research, you can figure out the good and bad aspects of your product, how it can benefit consumers, and how well it works overall. This feedback can help you make decisions about what changes to make to your product, making sure it fits the needs and wants of your customers.

In this article, you will learn:

1. Why is product testing important?

2. How is product testing done?

3. 6 types of product testing

4. Tips for product testing

Why Is Product Testing Important?

Product testing is a tool the development team can use to make decisions about the launch of a product. Product managers, project managers, developers, testers, and managers can use this process to guesstimate the success of a product. This reveals if the product or service appeals to the pain point it was designed for and if clients will value it the way they ought to. Below are some of the important of product testing;

  • It helps you understand the value of your product in the markets and also know more about customers’ needs and preferences. This can help you modify your product or service to suit the target audience more.
  • Gathering information about your product from other perspectives can be instrumental in fine-tuning the product or service. To create a product or service that appeals to the market, you need to first know what the market wants and likes.
  • You can save time during the development stage by being able to point out problems in the product or service through the product testers so you can fix them before launch. Identification of defects for launch can help you save money and time so you don’t mass produce defective products.
  • Product testing can help you highlight the priorities of your target audience so you can use that information to reach your goals for your product.
  • It helps you create and be assured of a reliable product that is fail-proof as this will ensure a high-quality product or service.
  • Putting your product through extensive testing makes you know the effects of aging on your product. This would help you create a product that stands the test of time as you would be informed about the durability of your product or service.
  • To stay ahead of the competition, it is important to test your products to ensure that it is up to par and safe for usage. It serves as a way to conduct quality assurance on the product or service. You should make sure that every product is safe before they’re put on sale.
  • Extensive product testing can also reveal to you if your product or service complies with government policies.
  • If you’re looking for investors, product testing can be a way to get a patent and proof for your investors to show the superiority of your products.

How Is Product Testing Done?

Product testing is not just giving customers or people your products to try. There are some processes to it to make it standard and the results useful. Below are the product testing process;

  • Market research
  • Test product concept
  • Test product prototype
  • Soft-launch product
  • Continually seek feedback

Market Research

You need to research the market to decide who your target audience is and what the market needs. If this may not be easy to do, you can hire a market research consultant or company. They will help you map out the people that need your product and what solution it will be offering. Understanding users’ interests and preferences can help you create a better product.

Test Product Concept

At this stage, you’re creating different product ideas and then testing them on consumers to see which is the winning product. Most times, ideas look good on paper but not all are feasible as products. This stage helps you test your product ideas and concepts before you pick the prototype you’d like to invest in. The goal of this stage is to know which product idea consumers will lean toward the most. You can take surveys to determine that and then do a prototype to send out for testing. You can write down therequirements of the product with a template to make it easier.

Test Product Prototype

A product prototype is the first version of a product made. This is used to test consumers and the consumers are picked based on the metric that will decide if your product is good or not. For product testing to be successful, you need to be sure of the quality of what you’re testing. Popular metrics that can be used to evaluate product testing are;

  • Purchase intent. Are people willing to buy this product?
  • Revolutionary. Do consumers find your product revolutionary?
  • Value. Is the product valuable to consumers?
  • Relevance. Is the product important? Is it needed?
  • Uniqueness. What’s the selling point? What makes it different from other brands?

Soft-Launch Product

A soft launch is launching your products with little to zero awareness so you can get a glimpse of how consumers would react to your products when you fully launch them. This is also a good way to get reviews from the first batch of users so you can know the efficacy and downsides of the product. Balenciaga did this with their Defender’s shoe. It was first released in only two colorways to see how receptive people would be to it. Seeing it did well, other colors were released.

Continually Seek Feedback

Product testing is essential for the longevity of any product line. Even after launching your products, you should still seek out consumer reviews to make the enhancements your products or services may need. According to an e-commerce expert, Annalisa DeMaria, “Consumer feedback is the most overlooked area of product development”.

6 Types Of Product Testing

The type of product testing to decide on is highly dependent on the type of product. Below are 6 types of product testing;

  • Concept testing: This has to do with testing the ideas and concepts of a product to see how well it would do in the market. What type of product is being tested is what will determine if the testing would consist of presentations, customer surveys, or wireframes. Concept testing helps a team know if they should proceed with production after evaluating the customer’s feedback. A good example of this is a baking company that wants to branch into making sugar-free donuts. They can create surveys to ask their consumers how they like their donuts and if they’d like sugar-free donuts. If a lot of consumers show interest, the team may then go ahead to work on the concept.
  • QA testing: this is done after the product has been made. Quality assurance is to certify that the product is of good quality and free of defects. You can have testing teams that test the product based on different scenarios to understand a customer’s experience. QA testing can also be done for refurbished products to ensure that the new features work great before releasing the products to the public. This type of product testing is to pick out the issues in a product before launching.
  • A/B testing: This testing is done by creating two versions of a product. This would help producers decide which consumers prefer more. The differences could be as slight as creating the same product in different colors or with different names. Teams can use A/B testing to pick which of the design choices is better. This would open your eyes to customers’ preferences and choices.
  • Market testing: This type of testing is done to know how well a product will do in the market. This testing can be done by releasing the product to clients in different locations or different age groups to see which ones are more receptive. Market testing can help teams preempt how the market would receive a particular product.
  • User testing: this is done after the product has fully launched. Teams use this testing method to determine if the consumers are responding well to the product. They get information on what the user’s experience is and how they can improve the experience. This testing is used to know what modifications the product needs to improve the consumer’s experience.
  • Regression testing: This type of testing is done after consumers have started using the product. This testing is done to determine if the product needs new updates and adjustments. This testing is done to know if the product can still function as intended if new features are added.

Tips For Product Testing

Many brands often rush to launch their products without proper product testing to gauge their potential success. Even the most reputable brands struggle to bring new products to market without first seeking input from their target audience to ensure consumer interest. However, consumer testing should not be conducted haphazardly, and it is crucial to follow the appropriate steps and best practices. Essentially, consumer testing is the same as product testing, which involves presenting the product to the target audience to assess preferences and satisfaction. To ensure successful consumer testing, here are a few essential tips to follow.

  • When testing different products at the same time, ensure to ask the same set of questions so you can get the correct information that can be comparable.
  • If you’re seeing surveys, ensure to send clear pictures of the procurements so they can see what they need to give feedback on.
  • Ensure that you’re asking the right set of people the right questions. Seek out your target audience for the product and seek feedback from them.
  • Don’t ask more than 30 questions per product so consumers do not lose interest.
  • Compare the feedback you get from the new products with how your former procurements are doing to know if the new product will be up to the competition.
  • Choose the best testing medium for your product, either surveys, market research mobile apps, consignment testing, or freelance market researchers. You can use product evaluation templates to get feedback from consumers.
  • Ensure that you’re running the tests with standard products. Inspect the products carefully before getting them sent out for testing.
  • Guarantee that you’re asking the consumers the right questions that can be instrumental in the development of the product.
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