Product Benchmarking is the process of consumers assessing your product along with those of your competitors in order to find out where your product ranks is in terms of consumer preference. It is usually carried out in a central location using a representative sample of your target market. A central location test is a way to test products in a controlled environment, test products are prepared and delivered under identical conditions (homogeneous sampling) .
We can find out how consumers rate your product compared to other products on the supermarket shelf through a series of detailed questions that target each products main attributes such as appearance, aroma, flavour, texture and overall acceptance. WSS then analyse the data using statistical analysis to see if there are any significant differences between the products for any particular attribute. If such differences are seen, one product can be considered preferred to the competitor product for such an attribute.
Using this data clients also have the ability to either approach new customers with evidential proof that their product outperforms the competition, or use it in a way to improve their current products. Consequently, clients would hope to see increased exposure to potential consumers and thus an increase in sales. It can also be used for Claim Support, this is especially useful for marketing material such as on-pack claims and adverts. The most common form of claim support is that a particular product is preferred to that of a competitor by 73/100 consumers for example.
A leading savoury pastry brand wanted to determine their position in the marketplace by assessing the performance of their core product lines against those of their main competitors. There was a range of products to assess and a large number of competitor products for comparison.
A series of central location taste tests was commissioned using 100 typical consumers to compare each of the brand’s products with those of their main competitors. To ensure fairness of the test, WSS sourced all products for testing from local stores to replicate the consumer experience as closely as possible. Additionally, coded plates were used to debrand the products and the order of presentation was rotated to ensure against brand bias and order effects.
The products were assessed against a number of key criteria designed to explore consumer liking of appearance, aroma, flavour and texture qualities, along with an overall score for each product.
A report was generated to show the performance of each of the clients’ key product lines compared to those of their competitors. Significant differences between the products were highlighted at 95% confidence to clearly identify where the products differed in terms of consumer acceptance.
Based on the feedback from the research, we were able to demonstrate to our client the exact strengths and weaknesses of each of the products in the eyes of the target consumer. The client was then able to reformulate any products that fell short of expectation, to maximise consumer acceptance.