6.3.1 What are product testing strategies?

The purpose of product testing is to see the usability of the product before you begin to manufacture the end product. It is important to make a distinction between the different types of testing applied at different stages of the product development process. This helps the development team to understand the purpose of each test and consider how data is to be captured. Different testing methods will have different objectives, ap-proaches and types of modelling. Four general types of testing are described in more detail; these are exploratory tests, assessment tests, validation tests and comparison tests.

Why is product testing important?

According to researchers product testing is the single most valuable marketing re-search that most companies ever do. The great value of product testing is, perhaps, best illustrated by some of its many uses. It can be used to:

  • Achieve product superiority over competitive products
  • Continuously improve product performance and customer satisfaction (i.e., to maintain product superiority, especially as consumer tastes evolve over time)
  • Monitor the potential threat levels posed by competitive products to understand com-petitive strengths and weaknesses
  • Cost-reduce product formulations and/or processing methods, while maintaining prod-uct superiority
  • Measure the effects of aging upon product quality (shelf-life studies)
  • Implicitly measure the effects of price, brand name, or packaging upon perceived product performance/quality
  • Provide guidance to research and development in creating new products or upgrading existing products
  • Monitor product quality from different factories, through different channels of distribu-tion, and from year to year
  • Predict consumer acceptance of new products.1 

1 InnoSupport: Supporting Innovations in SME. 6.2 Rapid Prototyping and Product Testing Strategies. 2005