In-home product testing allows consumers to try out new and innovative products from the comfort of their homes. It allows brands to put the power directly in the hands of the consumers and refine their offerings basis the feedback received.
Consumers do not need to be present in an artificial test environment and can easily test the product in their home environment. This approach paints a more realistic picture of consumer satisfaction and the product's usability and helps identify improvement areas. The respondents are selected based on specific criteria and are part of an online panel.
In this article, we will learn how you can leverage the power of in-home product testing to put the consumer's voice at your fingertips!
What is In-Home Product Testing?
In-Home Product Testing (iHUT) is a cost-effective research method brands use to gather feedback about their product before launching it.
How Does In-Home Product Testing Work?
Participants can order their choice of items available for testing from product-testing websites to use at their homes. Brands can also recruit their choice of participants using online panel companies. Post this, the brands gather participant feedback via surveys or interviews.
IHUTs help brands gather realistic feedback and identify product defects before mass production and launch. Respondents interacting and using the product over time provide in-depth insights about how the consumers will feel once they purchase it.
With this information, brands can optimize their product to perform better once launched and reduce potential mishaps.
Why is the IHUT Method Important?
In-home product testing helps brands evaluate these three critical elements- First impression, appeal and purchase intent.
Respondents can answer critical questions about the product before and after sampling the product. You can evaluate if your product meets the consumer's expectations before launching the product.
Other reasons why IHUT is essential are-
- Evaluate and analyze the acceptance degree before and after use.
- Identify and optimize critical areas of improvement
- Measure consumer satisfaction and usability
- Gain awareness about product readiness
Where to Use In-Home Product Testing?
In-home product testing can be used for a multitude of use cases, some being-
- Testing finished product pre-launch
- Testing prototype of a product
- Testing a new version of a product
- Before and After using the product to evaluate customer expectations
- Longitudinal research to measure product endurance
- Assess the price basis usage and features of the product
- To reduce the cost of a controlled testing environment by sending the products to the respondent’s home
Advantages of In-Home Product Testing
In-home product testing is a great way to get in-depth insights about your product before it hits the market. Some of the reasons why you should consider conducting IHUT are-
1. Gather Real-Time Feedback
You can collect real-time feedback as the consumers provide feedback right after using your product. They don’t have to wait before voicing their opinion, making the insights rich and reliable.
2. Variety of Options to Collect Data
Data can be collected via surveys, interviews, polls or telephone. There may be a delay between the usage and data collection. The complexity of the questions also varies basis the duration of usage, the product and the features.
3. Conduct Prototype Testing
In-home product testing enables you to get in-depth insights about your product before it enters the market. You can save time, money and resources by optimizing your product before it’s mass production. You can take crucial data-driven decisions by knowing how ready it is for the market and how your consumers are likely to interact with it.
4. Rigorous Assessment
With in-home product testing, your product will undergo a rigorous assessment before it hits the market. Sensory aspects of the product will be judged, and you will get key insights for - visual appeal, satisfaction, utility, purchase intent etc.
5. Ease of Recruiting Respondents
IHUT only requires respondents to come to specific locations, making it convenient for the research team and the respondents. Additionally, the respondents keep the products as a perk and are more willing to participate.
6. Monitor Product Developments
You can monitor how consumers interact with the product pre and post-launch. You can conduct multiple studies to understand how the consumer's attitude and usage change over time as the product ages.
How to Conduct In-Home Product Testing
1. Establish your goals
Establishing your product testing goals and objectives should be your first step. Decide which features you wish to assess, such as usability, functionality, dependability, or consumer happiness.
2. Encourage participation
Choose a varied sample of volunteers that closely resembles your intended market. They can be hired through various platforms, including social media, online discussion boards, and client databases. Make sure that participants are prepared to offer frank and helpful comments.
3. Make a testing strategy
Create a thorough plan outlining the testing procedure, including the duties participants will carry out, the inquiries you will make, and any additional supplies or equipment they might want. To maintain consistent testing circumstances, provide participants explicit instructions.
4. Get the test materials ready
Amass all the equipment and test prototypes that will be required. This can contain the actual product, directions or user manuals, surveys or feedback forms, and any other supplementary materials.
5. Conduct the session
To conduct the testing, schedule a convenient time to visit the participants' residences or ask them to report online at a dedicated time. Give the product and any necessary instructions to participants before the testing session begins. Encourage them to think aloud and to share their opinions and experiences while observing how they engage with the product and taking notes.
6. Gather feedback
Gather participant input using a mix of observation, interviews, and surveys. Ask open-ended inquiries to elicit thorough answers. Record all comments, both the good and the bad and any suggestions for improvement.
7. Analyze data
Review and analyze the data that was gathered throughout the testing sessions. Search for trends, reoccurring problems, and repeated themes. Based on participant input, determine the product's advantages and disadvantages.
8. Iterate and refine
Make changes to the product using the learnings from the testing. Address any problems or trouble spots that have been found. Adapt the functionality or design based on user feedback.
9. Repetition is required
If necessary, run repeated iterations of in-home testing to collect opinions from a wider sample size and confirm any adjustments made to the product. Refine the product iteratively using the learnings from each testing round.
Competitive advantage is the main benefit of in-home product testing. Building and maintaining a great product is the best way to dominate a market or an industry. Brands that commit to routine in-home usage testing can achieve and keep their product superiority. On the other hand, brands who ignore the suggestions and fail to learn from iHUTs risk going out of business because a competitor has a better product.