Concept Testing – Concept Testing is a process of using different type of surveys which can then be used for evaluation in terms of whether a consumer/ buyer would accept the product prior to the launch of actual product in the market. In other words it can be defined as a research which enables us to have a good reasonable understanding of a particular concept’s strength, its weaknesses and shows us factors of improvement of a particular concept.
This basically addresses the situation from a consumer’s point of view whether there is an actual need for the proposed concept or not. This concept testing takes place usually before a commodity is marketed.
Concept Testing is a very critical as well as a necessary part of the process for the makers of consumer packaged goods. (In Text Referencing, page 217). When it comes to the evaluation stage of New Product Development the term concept testing arises in the third phase which is known as Concept Evaluation.
Concept Testing also makes a critical addition in terms of its advancement as well as in purifying the conception. As it enables us in measurement of the market share and how much money or revenue the product would generate.
It enables us to predict in advance the demand and demonstrates whether the product is actually in a stage where it could be launched or not. The primary purpose of a concept testing is to refine, develop innovative ideas. And therefore it eventually increases a product’s chances to enter the market successfully without any problems.
Suitable Respondents for the concept test
In this section, the 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 trends and latest technologies. The company can collaborate with gaming parlors and gaming zones to showcase its product. It can organise exhibitions, give demonstrations on how this Virtual reality technology works and thus obtain first hand feedback from people who will be actually using it.
And also as my profile within the company is designing and therefore the interviews would be conducted by asking the persons who will play an active role in terms of decision making process whether a product will be bought and the product’s potential improvements (In Text Referencing).
Basically those people who are into technology, who have a detailed understanding of it as they can give us a detailed understanding on the product’s strength, its weaknesses as well as in what ways the product can be improved. In order to specify these people we can talk about users who have used similar products for example Samsung Users when Samsung partnered with Oculus VR to co-develop the Samsung Gear VR which is compatible only with Samsung devices or users who have played the virtual reality 90 seconds football game where they must score as many goals while using their heads to get points.
Justification of Concept Testing Procedure:
Limitations of Concept Testing
1) It becomes difficult to identify what is being measured – As it is quite common that there are certain aspects involved in concept testing for example the product idea, positioning strategy, language as well as the graphics of the entire concept. It is believed that by some that concept testing should be limited to the product idea (Stanton, et al. 1991), whereas it is believed by some that the concept testing as in the entire thing should be tested including the product idea, strategies, languages as well as the graphics of it. (Page ; Rosenbaum, 1992)
2) Changes in the marketplace – Changes in the marketplace for example if the rules, regulations, legal requirements are changed then there will be a negative outcome as the introduction results will be different from the results of the test. (Moore, 1982)
3) Another limitation of concept testing is changes in the concept – It is seen that if there are amendments within the concept it therefore results in difficulties as it becomes quite hard to know if the changes within the concept have affected the final results of the product or not. (Moore, 1982)
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 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 respondents will test a single product for a certain amount of time and after testing will share their feedbacks. Monadic 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 within 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.
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