Consumer testing is a vital part of developing industry-leading products, yet many fledgling brands try to bring a product to market without conducting any. Even established brands can make the mistake of not thoroughly carrying out consumer testing on a reformulated product and become shocked when the relaunch doesn’t go to plan (remember the “New Coke” disaster of the 1980s?).
Thus, without well-rounded consumer testing, you can’t expect your product to be a runaway success. You will be entering the market completely blind and unsure of where your product might be going wrong. As the adage goes, “you don’t know what you don’t know.”
With that in mind, let’s look at the specific reasons you need to submit your new or reformulated product to thorough consumer testing before bringing it to market.
You have to be the best within your chosen segment to be successful, and you need to outperform what’s already out there. But how do you know if you are on the right track without testing your product with target consumers? The short answer is you don’t.
You need to submit your product to a wide range of customer research methods to ensure it will perform as envisioned. You are likely to pursue methodologies such as taste testing and sensory profiling for food and beverage products. By contrast, household goods might be better suited to home use testing where customers can use the products in their intended environments.
No matter what the best type of consumer research is best for your product, comprehensive testing will reveal whether your product idea is living up to expectations and what you can do to improve it. If the initial feedback is negative, you have time to make changes before the product goes to market, instead of going with what could be a failing concept and bleeding cash for years trying to get it into profit.
As we’ve just hinted at, by pouring considerable sums into consumer testing, you are likely to save yourself significant costs in the long run by avoiding a disastrous product launch. Huge sums will go into the manufacturing and marketing of your new product, and they could all go up in smoke if you have to carry out a product recall, for example, when your customers spot something wrong with your product in the real world.
Carrying out customer testing pre-launch uncovers problems before you even begin with your spending campaign. Receiving useful, critical feedback will mean that you can focus more on the specific tweaks that need to be made to your product before you launch, saving you vast sums of money in the long run.
Consumer testing isn’t always about seeing what your product does well. It’s also about understanding how it stacks up against your competitors. When undertaking consumer research with both your product and those of competitors, you can better understand what is truly vital to your target customers and how your product can be tweaked to better meet their needs than what’s already out there.
For example, suppose you find that competitors’ products are more popular because their packaging design attracts more attention on supermarket shelves (rather than its actual performance). In that case, you can focus on improving your product’s packaging to steal market share.
Traditionally, many brands didn’t really consider testing competitor products until after they’d launched their own product, but consumer testing allows you to take a more proactive approach by spotting opportunities to gain an edge over competitors early on.
At WSS, we help new and established consumer goods brands unlock game-changing insights into products through consumer research. We are industry leaders, with over 20 years of studies conducted for some of the world’s leading companies.
So if you want to make sure that a tweaked existing product or a new concept will hit the target before spending a fortune on a launch campaign, make sure to contact a member of our friendly team today to discuss your consumer testing requirements in more detail.