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4 Market Research Methods Commonly Used for Product Evaluation

Evaluating a product before it’s introduced to the market minimizes business risk, safeguarding companies against changing market and consumer variables that could damage even the best of ideas. But it should also be a part of ongoing market research efforts, as well. People buy different things for different reasons, at different times and in different places. Their needs vary and change according to their experiences and resources, and the only way to stay informed of what any majority segment of the population will want at any given time is to ask for feedback. Take a look at four market research methods used to evaluate both new and existing products:

There are basically two factors to consider when evaluating a product:

  1. Do people need it?
  2. Can (or does) a company make a profit selling it?

There are numerous market research techniques that businesses can use to gather information to shed light on these questions. In this blog, we’ll consider four of them.

Concept testing is an important step in product development, occurring before an actual product is manufactured and distributed in the market. Companies use concept testing to help them determine whether or not a new product idea will generate enough consumer interest to make its production a profitable enterprise. It frequently involves a survey that either describes a single product concept or compares two or more similar product concepts (sometimes simultaneously, sometimes sequentially, and sometimes using a hybrid version of the two). Based on the feedback gathered, companies can choose to proceed (or not) with further product development.

Another step in product development is product testing market research. In this instance, an actual prototype of the product concept is provided to research participants so that they can use (or consume) it. They are then asked to share qualitative and/or quantitative feedback examining their reactions and thoughts about its usability and features. Product testing can occur privately in a respondent’s home or in a controlled testing facility. The data generated, like that from concept testing, can be used to maximize the product features with the greatest positive response from testers and to minimize the features that are perceived as less favorable in the effort to improve the product’s overall desirability before reaching the market.

A more in-depth measure, sensory research can be used to explore the sensory reactions consumers have while using or consuming a product (whether new or being reimagined in some way). With sensory research, respondents are asked to evaluate a product using one or more of their five senses (sight, taste, hearing, touch, and smell). The benefit of using sensory research during product evaluation is the fact that various environmental factors can be rigidly controlled (lighting, temperature, etc.), allowing respondents to focus only on their senses while experiencing a product so that they are able to relay even deeper insight into the features most affecting their experience with it.

Of course, customer satisfaction is always a good measure to use for product evaluation. Usually, satisfied customers are ones that have found little or no fault with your product(s). A quick survey to see just how satisfied your customers are with a product or service easily indicates whether you have a lot or a little to adjust with it.

Robust market research measures yield actionable insight and are critical to product evaluation and development and enable companies to make better business decisions and improve their ROI. To learn more about the benefits of partnering with an experienced market research partner to get the most out of your own product evaluations, please contact our team at Research America.

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