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Every year, over 30,000 consumer products are launched, with 95% of them failing.
It’s no surprise that a good product feature testing process is critical for retailers, especially if they want to increase customer loyalty and revenue.
Because product feature testing takes time and resources upfront, retailers frequently avoid it. However, if you want to create the best products for your target audience, you must test them first.
It does not need to be overly complicated or costly. Here are the various methods and processes you should be aware of if you want to set up a test process yourself or hire a company to do it for you.
Product testing is a research methodology that involves investigating potential customers’ reactions to a newly developed product or service before releasing it to the market. Typically, a sample of your target audience uses, tests, or consumes the product and informs you of their thoughts. As part of the product testing process, you collect and analyze both quantitative and qualitative data.
Additional read: Product testing vs concept testing
Product feature research is important for a variety of reasons.
The best product managers foster a product testing culture that keeps the entire team informed about product functionality and user needs at all stages.
However, there are various schools of thought:
1. Product teams that use a waterfall approach typically conduct initial market and product concept testing, then do not test again until product development is complete.
2. Continuous testing is used by agile product teams to gather information at each stage of the product development process. They test early ideas and markets, prototypes and MVPs, and continue to test features after release as part of a continuous discovery process.
Rather than waiting for a fully developed product, agile product management teams test every functional piece for quality during the development phase, comparing new product iterations as they progress.
1. Lean startup methodology encourages testing cycles based on ‘build, measure, and learn’ principles. Lean teams use a continuous feedback loop to test everything they build and use the results to improve the next iteration.
Whatever method you choose, keep in mind that testing should be a part of the entire product lifecycle.
If you only test features right before launch, it will often be too late to make significant changes to your product timeline, leaving you with a difficult choice: go back to the drawing board and delay release, or go ahead with a product that may not resonate with your users.
Product testing can be used to achieve a variety of objectives, including:
Check to see if a new product development program is on track.
Waiting until the end of the development stage to test whether your product lands with the people you want to market it to is one of the worst things you can do when developing a new product. The most successful products are tested regularly throughout the development process to demonstrate proof of concept and ensure that the final product is exactly what the customer desires.
Product marketing does not end when the customer leaves the store or receives the product. If you want people to come back again and again, or to tell their friends about your product, you’ll need to validate its suitability for the end user. As a bonus, testing your product with different segments of consumers will teach you not only how the product works, but also how different end categories of customers use it.
One of the leading causes of product failure is a failure to adequately communicate the product’s purpose to the market. Product testing can help ensure that customers understand what your products will do for them and which products are the best value for money.
Too often, new products are recalled or must be developed due to problems that are only discovered after they have been sold. By having the end user try out the product and provide critical feedback, product testing can help to avoid costly errors or oversights.
If you’re selling a new product or service, you should double-check the claims made during marketing campaigns. So, before advertising your product as the cheapest, fastest, or best in class, put it to the test with your target audience.
The cost of developing or redeveloping a product can be prohibitively expensive. Frequently, features that customers do not value are added, or minor changes are made that have little impact on the bottom line. You can ensure that every penny spent on research and development adds value by testing your product before it hits the market.
Product feature testing assists you in identifying and analyzing all of your product’s features so that you know exactly how valuable your products are. It also benefits designers because the more you know about your customers, the more effectively you can design a product that meets their needs, and the better job you’ll do of keeping them satisfied with your offerings.
The most important aspect of conducting product feature research is that it requires a significant amount of time and effort from both internal and external researchers (also known as “consultants”). This type of research takes time, but it is well worth the effort when it pays off.