Quite simply, the purpose of product concept testing is to determine how interested consumers are in a new product idea.
This information can be used to evaluate the idea and as a diagnostic tool to help identify what consumers do and do not like about the proposed product so that idea can be revised and enhanced to improve its appeal.
The product concepts are typically tested among one of two different sample populations:
1. A nationally representative sample of U.S. households: Concept testing is conducted with a nationally representative sample to quantify purchase interest, provide projectable data that can be used to develop sales forecasts, and obtain demographic data that can be used to identify the target market for the product.
2. Riedel Marketing Group’s proprietary HomeTrend Influentials Panel (HIP): Concept testing is conducted with HomeTrend Influentials Panel to obtain richer deeper insight and diagnostic information into why the respondents are or are not interested in the product concepts and what they do and don’t like about the product concepts. In addition, variations of product concepts can be tested iteratively.
The Concept Statement Includes Graphics and a Written Description
Respondents are shown a graphic depiction and written product description of the product concept.
The graphic may be a free-hand sketch, a more detailed illustration, a computer generated rendering, or a photo.
The written description of the product typically starts with a brief introductory paragraph that highlights most important product benefit or point of differentiation. Bulleted lists are often used to describe how the product is used, how it works, and key product features and benefits.
The amount of information included in the product description depends on how familiar consumers are with the product category. For example, consumers do not need to be provided with an explanation of how a microwave oven works. But a new-to-the-market energy monitoring device would require a more detailed explanation.
A Standard Battery of Questions is Used to Determine Purchase Interest
A battery of four rating scale questions is used to determine respondents’ degree of interest in each product concept. Interest is measured along four dimensions: desirability (need), believability, exclusivity/uniqueness, and purchase likelihood.
A Question to Get At Buzz-Worthiness
Because of the ever increasing importance of product reviews and social media-driven word-of-mouth, I ask a question about how likely the respondentwould be to recommend the product.
Open-ended Questions Answer the “Why” Questions
Members of the HomeTrend Influentials Panel are asked a series of open-ended questions after they have answered the standard battery of questions. These open-ended questions are designed to get at the “why” — why the respondent would or would not be likely to buy the product, why they would or would not recommend the product to family and friends.
Pricing can be tested by using a set of purchase intention questions, each of which includes a different retail price for the concept. The respondent is asked her interest at the highest price point first. If there is no interest in purchasing the product at this price, then she is asked again at successively lower prices to see whether at some price point there is some interest in purchasing the product.
The Product Concept’s Scores Are Compared to Other Housewares Products
To help the client interpret the product concept test scores, I provide normative data from my extensive product concept database.