Six Steps to a Successful Product Testing Event

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Consumer testing is an essential step in developing and perfecting your product, whether you’re re-launching a new version of something existing or bringing something entirely new to the market.

Consumer insights enable you to see how your design works in the hands of real people, giving you valuable information about its usability and appeal and helping you to shape it to fit the needs of your target audience.

When it comes to organising a large-scale data collection there can be a lot to think about. Here are six essential features you need to consider to ensure that your product testing event runs smoothly.

Step 1: Plan well ahead

As with any major event or product launch, when it comes to key details like venue, staff and equipment, the sooner you have these confirmed, the better. Think carefully about the facility that will allow your product to be properly showcased and tested and talk to the teams you intend to have running the event to anticipate what their needs might be. Finally, do various dry-runs with any tools you will be using on the day – including your product – to avoid any last-minute glitches or delays which could throw off the whole day.

Step 2: Choose your venue carefully

Although you may have space to carry out your product testing within your business, this is not always the ideal solution. For example, there may be benefits to hosting testing at an unaffiliated location to limit consumer bias (positive or negative) that might be associated with your brand.

This is particularly important if you are conducting quantitative research, as your premises may not be set up to accommodate large numbers of visitors or attract people in off the street. In order to get as many consumers through the door (and exposed to your product) as possible, you would be better to hire one of the many specialist corporate venues in London to host your event.

Finding a testing or viewing facility in a convenient location with good transport links and parking facilities will increase the chance of invitees attending and passers-by dropping in on the day.

Step 3: Prepare a back-up of everything

When planning the amount of product that you will need for testing, always over-estimate. If it’s a physical product, don’t forget to factor in damage or spoilage over the course of the day - you’ll always want consumers to test a fresh sample to see your good in their best light. After all, it will be better to bring some back to the office than run out of samples (or your product equivalent) halfway through your event. You should also think about how you might get additional products delivered to the venue in an emergency.

If you’re serving refreshments, check where the nearest supermarket is in case you run out or realise at the last minute that you’ve forgotten something.

Step 4: Build a team you can trust

Your product is intrinsically linked to your brand, making it understandably difficult to hand the reigns over to someone else to run the event. This can be made significantly easier by working with people you trust, whether that’s internal staff or brand ambassadors who you have an existing relationship with. It’s particularly important that you are on good terms with the person supervising the event so you can feel confident that your products and potential customers are in good hands.

Whoever you choose to work with, make sure they’re given adequate training and guidance when it comes to your products and how you want them demonstrated. Make sure they are comfortable with the brief, are on board with the product, and that you are available to answer any questions they may have before and during the event.

Step 5: Recruitment

Whether you’re carrying out usability tests, focus groups, surveys or a combination of all three, it’s likely that you’ll want to pre-recruit a certain number of participants to ensure that you get a good range of perspectives. Define what your quotas should be for diversity and to reach your target market and arrange for back-ups in case your primary respondents drop out at the last minute.

Think about whether incentivising your respondents could help your response rate. On the one hand, it can generate much more interest in your products and lead to a greater number of testers, but it may compromise the integrity of your results. Consider what niche incentives might appeal to your target audience.

Step 6: Consistent testing

Finally, if you’re planning multiple testing events, make sure that your process is going to be consistent across different dates and venues – it’s essential for collecting reliable and comparable data. You should be able to control every variable apart from the respondents, so consider how to make every attendees experience as similar as possible.

Where you’re trialing different iterations of the same product, try using the same venue and event team to make sure that it (and your consumers) are treated in the same way each time.

 

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Tuesday, 18 September 2018
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