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Concept Testing and Product Testing

Market research 04 12
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Customers are becoming more skeptical as well as careful with their purchases. This is making it difficult for many companies to have a successful launch of their new products and services. While the company’s interest in new products and service is high, the possibility of success remains low and doubtful.

Moreover, with thousands of companies competing in the same industry, the companies face crowded markets, price pressure from the competition, and online channels along with consumers who are difficult to motivate.

On the other hand, new products and services can help increase market share and grow revenues. At the same time, it gives new customers access to a new market.

This contrasting aspect of the process of developing and launching new products/services makes it difficult but also equally important. This makes the testing concept and products a key point in the process. When done appropriately, it improves the probability of a successful launch.

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What is the importance of testing?

The process of development and launching involves various stages of improvement to achieve a product of the greatest potential.

Testing gives you ideas on where to focus the resources to develop projects with high potential. This implies that concept and product testing aims to identify the concepts and products that generate interest among the customers. As a result, you determine which project does and does not require development and marketing expenditure.

There are three development stages in testing:

Concept Testing involves the evaluation of ideas for a product before the prototype or product is developed. It tests the concepts rather than the products.

Product Testing involves the evaluation of new prototypes and products. The testing is carried out in a laboratory or in-home location.

In-market testing involves the evaluation of newly launched products and services in markets. The products and services are put out in the marketplace to gauge customer response.

We will be focusing on Concept Testing and Product Testing.

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Conducting Concept Test

Concept testing involves two tests: The Monadic and Sequential Monadic Tests.

Monadic Test: In this test, each respondent is given one concept to evaluate. As a result, you get an unbiased response because there is no other concept to influence the participants. However, to test multiple concepts you need a large sample size which makes it costly.

Sequential Monadic Test: In this test, each respondent is given several concepts to evaluate. The concepts are given one at a time. You can evaluate multiple concepts with a small sample size which also makes it cost-efficient.

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Concept Test Questionnaire

A concept test consists of

  • Introduction of the Concept
  • Description of the product
  • Product benefits and uses
  • Product varieties and size
  • Picture of Product

Ensure that the concept is written in a simple manner for the customers to understand. It should provide all the necessary information but it should not be overloaded. It should be easy to read and comprehend so that any consumer can read and grasp the concept.

A concept test questionnaire consists of questions based on the following measure

  • Purchase intent of the respondent for the product as well as for the varieties of the product
  • Purchase quantity, i.e., the number of products the respondent would buy on their first purchase of the product.
  • Purchase frequency
  • Value for money in comparison to the benefits or usefulness of the product
  • The uniqueness of the product
  • Believability, i.e., whether the concept is credible to support that product’s claims
  • Brand Fit, i.e., whether the concept matches the customer’s idea of the brand

These measures are essential insights to provide you with helpful data and also indicate an issue that may not be suitable for the product and brand.

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Concept testing for Product Development

Concept testing is widely used for making decisions regarding developments of products the customers may like. The test can help you identify the features that customers prefer or don’t prefer before developing and launching a product.

The other way concept testing can help in product development is by improving product positioning and packaging.

Product Packaging Test: You can add questions regarding the packaging of products in your concept testing. The test may include questions on name, colors, description, package image, etc. By testing the customers you can identify the design of packaging that attracts the customers the most.

Product Positioning Test: This type of test involves identifying how you can position a product to achieve a high level of purchase intent. Let’s say, you are surveying for a new health drink. Some customers may evaluate the product for its health benefits and some may like it for the taste. The different ways of positioning a product help you identify which way will appeal more to the customer.

A precisely developed concept testing will help you determine how much effort and resource you need to focus on the product development. It saves you from risking resources on a concept that may fail. It also brings forth the concept idea with the highest potential of success.

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What is Product Testing?

Unlike Concept Testing, Product Testing evaluates the actual product and not just the idea of it. Product testing helps in evaluating a customer’s interest in buying a new product/service. It also provides you ratings on the characteristics of specific products.

Companies target the customers who are interested or have experience with the product when they want to conduct Product Testing. For example, a new computer game is better tested among customers who are gaming enthusiasts.

It is always better to include customers who are familiar with the products of the brand. They can better indicate whether the new product is as good as the current product or not.

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Types of Product Testing

Concept to product test: In this testing method the respondents are asked to try the product based on the concept that they liked. This test can be conducted at the early and later stages of product development.

At the early stage, you can determine which variety of the product is most preferred by the customers. You can focus on developing a particular variety.

At the later stage, you can evaluate how the actual product will perform against the expectations from the concept.

Reformulation Studies: This test involves comparing the new version with the original/current product.

You may have changed a feature to improve the quality or lower the cost of the product. So, you can determine how well the new product is performing in the market by surveying the current and potential customers. It can help you determine if the customers are happy with the new changes or are refusing to use them.

Discrimination Test: In this test, you can gauge if the customers can distinguish between two variations of a single product. The customers surveyed to see if they can identify the change between the new product and the current product. If a fewer number of respondents can notice the difference in the products then the change poses a low risk and you can continue with the change.

Location for Product Testing

Product Testing is often conducted in person because the respondent needs to understand the product. Locations where companies generally conduct product testing include a central location or in-home.

Central Location: For situations when products for the test need to be prepared, a central location is used. A professional interviewer controls the entire study. They ensure that the conditions required for the product test are met properly.

In-home: This test involves the respondent experiencing the product for multiple days. The customers can learn about the working and operation of the product and also obtain opinions from other members of the house.

An in-home location test is better than a central location test. A customer may like the product when they tried it at the central location but later at an in-home test, it may be revealed that they were not satisfied with the product. Testing products in-home allows them to experience the products in multiple ways and conditions.


Product Testing Questionnaire

The questionnaire for Product Testing consists of either Hedonic Rating or Diagnostic Ratings.

Hedonic Ratings: In this test, the respondents examine the subjective or sensory experience of the product. This implies that the customers answer questions based on specific characteristics about the product. The rating scale for Hedonic Question is often a 6-point or a 9-point scale.

Diagnostic Ratings: In this test, you can examine specific characteristics of the main elements of the product. The customers may be asked to evaluate smaller more specific elements of the main element.

Diagnostic Questions use the JAR or Just About Right scales. Either side of the scale defines if the attribute is “too much” or “too little” with “just about right” at the middle of the scale.

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Concept Testing can prevent you from making a bad decision regarding product development. The data you collect from concept testing can show you the right and the wrong decision about updating your product, changing price, or launching a new marketing strategy. As a result, it prevents you from exposing the company to any financial loss.

Product Testing involves the process of evaluating the characteristics or performance of the product in the marketplace. The customers are surveyed to test the safety, quality, and performance of the product.

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