If the first step in creating a business is an idea, the second is product testing. At conception, every idea will sound remarkable and revolutionary. Still, it is through product testing that you discover the viability of your concept, how it will be received by the market and what challenges you might have a hard time overcoming.

Product testing is essential before launching a new product, identifying your target audience and developing your marketing strategy.

This article explains all you need to know about product testing, its benefits and how you can do it to achieve the best results.

What is product testing?

Product testing assesses a product's performance, functionality, safety, quality and viability before it hits the market.  

Through several techniques and methods, manufacturers can understand if their concept can survive in an increasingly competitive market, identifying potential risks and addressing issues that may arise after launch. 

Testing is an essential step in the product development process. It is an opportunity to receive valuable feedback from potential customers, ensuring that your idea will meet market needs and expectations and be safe and reliable. 

What are the types of product testing?

The type of testing you perform will depend on your product and your business needs. For example, a physical item, such as a toy, will need to be tested for durability, safety and quality. On the other hand, user testing will be essential for a digital product like an app or software. 

Here are some of the types of tests you can perform:

Funcional testing

This type of test verifies if the product works as planned, meeting every requirement set by your company or market needs. To do that, tests need to evaluate every function or feature of the product individually, ensuring everything is working correctly.

Performance testing

As the name suggests, performance testing assesses how a product performs under different circumstances. 

These tests are designed to identify in what situations your product might have performance issues. For example, if your product is a car, you should test it in rain conditions or high traffic so you know it can perform under any circumstances. 

Usability testing

Testing your product's usability is essential if it is an app or software. This test will observe how users interact with your product and assess if there are aspects that might lead to confusion or problems.

Safety testing

Security and safety are crucial with any product. When launching a product such as cosmetics, perfumes or even medication, safety tests are necessary to ensure customers can use it without problems. 

Compliance testing

Products need to meet industry standards and government regulations or guidelines. This type of testing will assess if your product follows these requirements. 

Localisation testing

Your product might be exported to different countries or sold to other cultures. This type of testing verifies if every language, culture or region will have the same understanding of what you are offering. If that's not the case, you might need to change your product name, the design, how it is sold or more. 

It is crucial to perform this testing if you intend to grow your business beyond borders. 

Regression testing

If you've made changes to your product since it was first tested, regression testing will ensure they caused no further problems to features that were working previously. 

Acceptance testing

This type of testing is essential for the launch of any product in any sector. A successful launch will depend on how your target audience sees and is interested in your product.

Testing your audience's acceptance means your future consumer will need access to your product first, so they can try it and give feedback. For this type of product testing, samples are a great way to go about it, offering future customers what you plan to sell.

A/B testing

When you have two versions of the same product and want to find out which one performs better, you'll have to do an A/B test. This type of test compares how different groups react or interact with different versions of the same product, giving you a better idea of how to improve. 

When should you perform product testing?

The most crucial moment to test your product is before it is launched. However, changes might be an excellent opportunity to see how your product performs, your target audience responds to changes and how the market will accept alterations.

You can also test your product constantly to identify opportunities for improvement. If you believe your company can grow and your product can reach a larger audience, performing tests can provide you with a course of action.

Here are some key moments in which you can perform tests:

Design phase

You should perform product testing when developing your idea to identify potential flaws or weaknesses in the product design. 

This can prevent costly redesigns and ensure that the final product meets all the necessary market requirements. 

Manufacturing phase

In this phase, it is important to test materials, components and the production process to identify any issues affecting product quality. 

Launching phase

Once the product is ready, future customers can try it and offer feedback. This will indicate potential issues that could arise during use.

With customers assessing the product in real-world conditions, you will better understand how they like it and how to sell it. 

After making changes or updates

As we explained, after you make changes or updates to your product, it is important to perform testing to ensure every aspect and feature continues to work. This can help identify any new issues that may have been introduced as a result of the changes. 

How to perform product testing using samples?

Distributing samples is an efficient way to encourage feedback from potential customers and assess your product's quality, performance and safety. It is important to note that this is not a formal method of product testing but an opportunity to verify how your audience will receive a new launch or an update. 

Samples can significantly improve the way the market views Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) such as food products and cosmetics. People are more likely to buy an item they try first. When it comes to performing product testing for marketing purposes, understanding the expectations of your future consumers or their interest in your idea is essential. Offering them samples will provide you with more accurate feedback. 

Before distributing samples, you should perform a rigorous evaluation of your product. Once you have satisfying results, you can reach out to future consumers and have them try your product.

Determine the purpose of your test

The first step in product testing using samples is to determine the purpose of this assessment. This involves identifying the questions the testing is meant to answer, such as whether the product meets specific performance standards or is safe for use. 

Determine your audience and sample group

Once your purpose is well-defined, you need to select the people who will try your product and give you feedback. 

The group should be large enough to ensure the results are statistically significant but small enough to be manageable. They should be representative of the audience you wish to reach. 

Develop a testing plan

The next step is to develop a plan that outlines the testing methods you will use and the procedures for collecting and analysing the data you will receive.

For example, you might ask people to answer questions or assess specific product features. 

Your plan should also include details of how your samples will be distributed and testers' criteria to evaluate the product. 

Distribute samples

For the purpose of product testing, your samples should be representative of how the product will be sold. The same goes for its distribution.

For example, if your product will be sold online, your samples should also be distributed online. This will give you a better idea if your sales strategy works and a better understanding of how customers will receive your product.

It is also important that the packaging is the same as people will eventually buy. The entire experience for customers must be the same as if they were going to purchase the product. This will give you much more precise feedback. 

Collect feedback

After the samples have been distributed, it is time to collect feedback. You can do that through online forms, surveys, focus groups or other market research methods.

At this time, your questions should be well-defined and clear, giving you a comprehensive understanding of how your target audience will respond to your product. 

Analyse results

After collecting feedback, the next step is analysing the results. The information you gather might identify defects or potential problems, which can then lead you to make changes and improvements.

Final thoughts 

Product testing is an essential part of the success of a product. In more rigorous steps, tests will ensure your idea is ready for the market, meeting safety and quality requirements. From a marketing perspective, performing tests with samples will guide your sales strategy and help you understand your audience better.

Distributing samples to potential customers is an excellent way to gather honest and precise feedback on your product before mass-producing an idea. 

The ideal way to perform product testing is to define a purpose, a target audience and a sampling strategy. It is also crucial that you have a way to collect and analyse results.

Ensure that your product testing exercise is a success is by engaging with a professional product sampling agency that can fulfil your sampling needs and define a clear testing strategy that will provide you with valuable information.