At the heart of every company are its loyal customers who keep returning to make new purchases and find solutions to their most pressing issues – whether that’s replacing their favorite pair of worn-out shoes or getting better batteries for the electric cars in their offer.
Therefore, if you are to inspire loyalty and boost your customer retention rates, you need to keep offering relevant solutions, which means launching new products fairly frequently – a feat often easier said than done, especially when you consider that only about 5% of those are successful.
The good news is that you can improve product launches and all but guarantee their success through a simple process – concept testing.
Understand concept testing before you commit to it
Before you can even start thinking about market segmentation and target positioning, you need to commit to concept testing. It’s a simple process of evaluating product acceptance prior to launch.
Unlike ad testing, where you already have a product and are simply finding the best ways to market it, concept testing is done during the product development stage. Its purpose is to help you perfect the product (its functions, appearance, etc.) long before it hits the shelves.
During concept testing, you’ll be tweaking your product according to consumer feedback and ensuring that it appeals to broader audiences.
The importance of concept testing
Concept testing is a critical step that can help you remain relevant and competitive in any market. Take a look at some of its main benefits.
- Getting to know your customers’ desires and pain points:
The success of a new launch depends on how well your product meets consumer desires or how well it solves their issues. Through concept testing, you’ll gain a better insight into exactly what your customers are looking for and whether they even need a product like yours.
- Improving your ideas:
Few things can inspire you to develop better products, quite like direct consumer feedback. After all, your end-users know best just how well a product suits them and how it can be improved.
- Understanding the product/service value:
In order to attract the customers’ attention, a product or service needs to deliver some value. It needs to be functional, easy to use, and efficient. Concept testing allows you to see just how valuable your products/services are, which, in turn, helps you assess your product differentiation and improve your marketing down the line.
- Testing market readiness:
Finally, concept testing enables you to gauge market readiness. Sometimes, even the most innovative solution isn’t what your audiences are looking for at the moment, meaning your new product would be likely to fail. If the market is ready, you can safely proceed to the launch.
How to start concept testing
The importance of concept testing is undeniable, but how do you start applying this approach? Fortunately, the process is rather simple.
Prepare a prototype
To start concept testing, you first need to have a concept and its prototype. Whether you want to launch a physical product or a software solution, you need to have something that your audience can interact with.
Ideally, the prototype should be as close to the actual product as possible, boasting most (if not all) of its physical qualities, functionalities, and more.
Test with broader audiences
Even though you might already have a target market in mind for a new product, it’s a good idea to perform concept testing with a broader audience at first. You might find that a different market segment than you thought is more interested in your new offer.
After testing with broader audiences, you can then create focus groups to gather more qualitative data that prepares you for the ultimate product launch.
Although open-ended interviews and freely generated feedback can prove to be indispensable, it’s always a good idea to gather some structured data during your concept testing. The simplest way to do it is through surveys. Ask concrete questions about product performance, effectiveness at solving a
problem, functionality, and more. The more concise your questions (and answers) are, the easier it will be to make any necessary changes before the launch.
Continue testing through the development
Finally, concept testing isn’t a one-and-done deal. You need to continue testing through the entire development stage – from the first prototype to the final product. The more thorough your testing, the easier it will be to launch a product that mesmerizes your audiences and increases your revenue.
Concept testing is a critical process that can ensure that new product launches go by seamlessly. Don’t leave your launches to fate – find out exactly what your target markets think about a product/service long before you release them to the general public.