Why Testing Products In Concept Stage Should Be Part Of Your Product Design Budget

by | Sep 15, 2016 | Market Research

In the consumer goods field, developing new products is a crucial part of keeping ahead of competitors and expanding business. Yet failing to test at the concept development stage can result in wasting money on a product the market doesn’t truly want. Here’s why you should always test new products at the conceptualising stage:

First: What Exactly Does Concept Testing Entail?

In the early days of mass-market consumer goods, concept testing consisted of creating prototypes and testing these with focus groups. This was never a particularly affordable or effective research approach. Focus groups are time-consuming to organise, and most companies desire rapid product development so as not to fall behind current market trends.

The newer approach is to test a concept before even making a single prototype. This quicker, earlier testing is crucial because it helps product developers ensure that ideas are worth investing time, money and other resources in.

In testing a product during the early conceptual stages, businesses can pool product ideas stemming from:

  • Customer suggestions
  • Staff recommendations
  • Market desires and trends
  • Competitive product creation

Once all ideas have been vetted and approved by senior project managers, product development teams can collect feedback from consumers. Today, with digital product development frameworks readily available, it’s easy to quickly test concepts digitally. This simplifies refining product ideas and the selection process.

Why It’s A Good Idea To Use Digital Concept Tests

Affordability is part of why doing early concept testing for new products is sensible. Digital concept testing has made testing concepts possible for even small brands that don’t have major budgets. Brands can simply create visual conceptual designs and diagrams and share these via digital testing platforms with consumers who provide real-time feedback.

Consumers’ insights being so readily available, product stakeholders can quickly determine whether the market is likely to embrace a product in its developed form. Some of the useful insights you can gain via digital concept testing include:

  • Whether or not consumers understand your product concept
  • Whether consumers are likely to purchase the finished product
  • Whether your product is sufficiently distinguishable from any existing competition
  • Whether the product is relevant to consumers’ needs or not

Early-stage digital concept testing thus gives you the means to find valuable answers that will give a clear indication of whether or not your product will be successful.

Working Testing At The Concept Stage Into Your Product Development Budget

If you’re at the early stages of product development and are in the process of allocating budget, prioritise return on investment. Testing concepts at the early stage is affordable thus there is no excuse to run with a concept that has not yet demonstrated the potential to yield high return of investment.

Even though many businesses choose not to invest in early concept testing, make sure you do so you can reap the full benefits of early consumer insights.

Interested in finding out how this can be applied to your business? Contact us today.