Customer-centric business practices have been a hot topic in recent years, thanks to the emergence of sophisticated feedback collection and customer experience evaluation tools, online reviews, social media and other factors. However, making sure your product offering is in line with your market is at the core of any successful business, and has been since the first days of commerce.
Product concept testing allows you to put the earliest iterations of your product or service designs in front of a representative sample of your customers, and feed their responses into the design process, adding, refining and removing features. This way, you can make sure you’re on track for a successful product before investing in the more expensive production and testing stages.
Here’s how product concept testing works…
- Choose a data tool that suits your needs
- Find a research panel of potential customers
Recruit a group of respondents who are representative of your target audience and willing to participate in concept testing. Unlike a one-off market research survey, product testing can go on over a longer time-frame so it’s wise to qualify participants who are able to come back for multiple surveys as your designs evolve.
- Come up with some concept options
The beauty of product concept testing is that you’re not limited to a single design or prototype. You can give your panel a range of product ideas to consider when you conduct concept tests. As well as asking them which they prefer, you can use techniques like conjoint analysis to gauge which features are most important and what kind of trade-off customers will be happy to make between features. For example, you may find out that they’re happy with a smaller battery size for a smartphone if it also means a slimmer, lighter device.
- Gauge sentiment, purchase likelihood, price range and more
With carefully-crafted survey questions, you can measure your panel’s responses to a product concept and use it to forecast the chances of a purchase, the price-point they may be willing to pay, and whether your potential product could replace existing alternatives from other brands. By analysing your test results using tools like Predict iQ, you can unearth deeper insights and find new directions for your designs based on AI and statistical analysis.
- Refine and re-iterate
At the product concept testing stage, you have the freedom to iterate and tweak your designs and get feedback from your panel over the course of several rounds, until you hit on the optimum prototype that you’re ready to take into the production stage.
At Qualtrics, we know from experience that the right tools and testing methods can have a transformative effect on your results – and that good quality data starts with the right platform. Make sure you’re offering an easy, intuitive way for customers to share their feedback on your designs and that it’s equally simple for you to circulate material and analyse your results.
There’s much more detail about what’s possible in our Product Testing Ebook