How to Test a Product: The Ultimate Guide for Success

According to research, around 30,000 new products are launched every year, and of those 95% end up failing.

All too often, in a bid to recoup investment or to beat off the competition, brands rush new products to market with testing whether it resonates with consumers, or indeed whether the product is something that people actually want. But, even the most experienced decision-makers struggle to make the right calls without input from their target audience.

Whether you’re looking for the safest bet or wondering if a risky concept might actually pay off, product testing can help you find a concept that meets your goals and resonates with your audience. With a product concept test, you can gauge customer sentiment and find the proven winners in a pool of different product ideas.

Product testing gives your target audience a range of options and asks them to provide feedback on each one. With product testing, you can compare metrics like purchase intent, quality, and value to find out which product concepts customers like best.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at why you should test your product concepts, how to conduct an effective product assessment, and what you can do to get accurate feedback from your respondents.

Testing a product effectively is crucial for any business that wants to launch a successful product. With up to 95% of new products failing each year having a robust testing process can help you avoid costly mistakes and ensure your product resonates with your target audience.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about product testing, including:

  • What is product testing and why it’s important
  • Different types of product tests
  • Who to test with
  • How to conduct tests
  • Key steps for effective product testing
  • Examples and case studies

What is Product Testing?

Product testing refers to systematically evaluating and analyzing a product to assess its quality, performance, functionality and ability to meet customer needs and industry standards.

It is a key part of the product development process allowing you to gather insights identify issues and refine the product before launch. There are two main approaches

Quantitative testing – Focuses on measurable metrics like speed, durability and error rates.

Qualitative testing – Assesses more subjective elements like usability ease of use and overall design.

Why is Product Testing Important?

There are several key reasons why properly testing products matters:

  • Reduces failure rate – Testing minimizes the risk of failure by revealing flaws and potential issues early.

  • Quality assurance – Ensures the product meets standards, leading to higher customer satisfaction.

  • Competitive edge – Identifies your product’s strengths and weaknesses compared to rivals.

  • Cost efficiency – Finding issues early prevents expensive fixes down the line.

  • Customer-centricity – Direct customer feedback helps create something people truly want.

  • Brand reputation – Rigorous testing aligns the product to your brand promise.

Bottom line, testing saves you time, money and helps build a product your customers will love.

When Should You Test a Product?

While testing is advisable through all stages of development, certain tests make the most sense at specific points:

  • Concept stage – Focus on concept and prototype testing to gauge interest.

  • Development – Conduct regular usability testing to refine the product.

  • Pre-launch – Confirm quality standards and specifications are met.

  • Post-launch – Get feedback from real customers to optimize the product.

  • Existing product – Test new features and run regression testing to maintain quality.

The key is to continually gather insights through testing and not just rely on a single grand reveal.

How to Test a Product Effectively

Follow this step-by-step approach for foolproof product testing:

1. Define Goals and Metrics

Be clear on what you want to achieve. This could involve evaluating functionality, usability, performance or other attributes. Define specific, measurable goals and success metrics.

2. Determine Testing Scope

Decide which product features, elements or use cases to focus testing on. Limit the scope to what’s most important to test now.

3. Choose Your Testing Methods

Select the right testing methods for your goals. Possibilities include surveys, focus groups, usability studies, A/B tests and more.

4. Recruit Test Participants

Find participants who represent your target audience. Offer incentives if needed to get the right mix.

5. Set Up Testing Materials

Prepare any necessary prototypes, devices, lab environments, questionnaires or tools needed to conduct the tests.

6. Run the Tests

Conduct the tests, recording quantitative data, user feedback, observations and more. Follow scripted scenarios but be flexible.

7. Analyze Results

Evaluate data collected and review findings to identify issues, defects and areas for optimization.

8. Make Recommendations

Suggest changes to fix problems found, enhance quality and better meet user needs. Prioritize by importance.

9. Retest and Refine

Conduct additional testing to confirm changes address issues. Continuously iterate to improve the product.

10. Launch and Monitor

Once standards are met, launch the product and keep gathering real-world user feedback to further optimize it.

Who to Test Products With

Choosing the right test participants is vital for getting feedback that translates to your real target audience. Consider:

  • Existing customers – They offer insights on new versions or features.

  • Internal stakeholders – Get cross-functional input from within your company.

  • General consumers – Unbiased opinions from everyday users.

  • Industry experts – Especially important for specialized or technical products.

  • Beta testers – Enthusiasts who test pre-release versions of consumer products.

  • A mix – Test with different groups in each stage for diverse perspectives.

Product Testing Methods and Types

Here are some of the top product testing methods to consider:

Concept and Prototype Testing

Early testing focused on evaluating the appeal, look and feel of an initial idea or prototype. Common techniques include:

  • Concept statements – Evaluate product descriptions with target users.

  • Prototype surveys – Get feedback on 3D prints or digital renderings.

  • Mockups – Test visual designs and user interface elements.

  • Focus groups – Discuss reactions to a prototype in an interactive setting.

Alpha and Beta Testing

Real-world testing of products still in development, done either in-house (alpha) or with a limited external group (beta).

A/B and Multivariate Testing

Comparing different versions of a product or webpage (A/B) or multiple variables (multivariate) to optimize conversion and user experience.

Usability Testing

Observing target users interact with a product to identify challenges and areas for UI/UX enhancement.

Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Questionnaires measuring user satisfaction levels and areas for improvement. Often done via email, online or over the phone.

In-Field Testing

Real-world, in-context testing with select testers over an extended period to assess everyday product performance.

Lab Testing

Controlled testing of products in a simulated environment to benchmark technical specifications.

Regression Testing

Re-running previous tests whenever updates or changes are made to ensure no new issues were introduced.

Choose the techniques that allow you to efficiently test the desired elements at each stage of development.

Product Testing Best Practices

Follow these tips for effective, meaningful product testing:

  • Define clear goals upfront for focused testing.

  • Use both quantitative and qualitative data for comprehensive insights.

  • Involve real users early and often for authentic feedback.

  • Start testing small with lean prototypes first.

  • Iterate based on results rather than treating testing as a one-time event.

  • Automate repeatable test cases to enable ongoing regression testing.

  • Test holistically across features, platform and use cases.

  • Compare with competitors to determine differentiators.

  • Foster a culture of continuous testing and improvement.

Product Testing Case Studies

Let’s look at some real-world examples of successful product testing:


The email marketing platform conducted field testing by providing access to 30 customers for a 6-week period. Observing real usage revealed UX issues and led to a simpler navigation menu.


LEGO brings new products into the homes of families to evaluate play experiences. Feedback has led to development of new lines like LEGO Friends to appeal to girls.


Amazon relies heavily on A/B and multivariate testing to optimize its webpages. Testing headline variations resulted in a 20% sales increase for a holiday promotion.


Over 5,000 prototypes for the original bagless vacuum cleaner were tested in real homes over 5 years before market launch. Rigorous testing ensured it met standards.

These examples demonstrate that hands-on testing with real users fuels major product improvements and innovation.

Key Takeaways

Testing is a pivotal part of delivering successful products that meet customer needs. To recap:

  • Continuously test throughout development from concepts to post-launch.

  • Leverage both qualitative and quantitative testing methods.

  • Involve your target audience early and often.

  • Let testing data guide design and development decisions.

  • Keep iterating based on test findings rather than treating testing as a one-time event.

  • View testing as an investment that saves time and money in the long run.

Rigorous product testing provides insightful feedback to help refine prototypes, confirm quality and performance, and ultimately launch a product that resonates with your users’ wants and needs. Failing to adequately test increases the likelihood of issues slipping through the cracks.

Use the guidelines provided in this guide to make product testing a

how to test a product

How to put together a successful product assessment

Now that you know why it’s important to test your product concepts before settling on one, you’re ready to put together your test survey. For accurate and actionable results, follow these 4 steps:

Choose product concepts to test

While you can test any product concept you want, it’s best to choose stimuli that you’re already somewhat confident in based on an informal survey of coworkers and friends. To make sure your survey results are useful, choose products in a similar stage of development. If you’re testing a finished product against a product you’re still working on, the winner is obvious.

To make the testing process more manageable for you and your respondents, limit the number of stimuli in your survey. The maximum number of stimuli you should include in your test depends on whether you plan to use a monadic survey design or a sequential monadic survey design.

A monadic survey design divides up your respondent pool and presents each respondent with a survey asking for feedback on a single stimulus. When you’ve gathered enough feedback on each stimulus, you can pick a winning concept by aggregating the feedback from all your respondents.

So, if you have a sample size of 500 respondents, you ask 250 of them about one product option and 250 of them about the other.

Here’s an example of a product testing survey with a monadic design.

This survey design lets you ask more questions about each stimulus, which lets you figure out more about how individual features resonate, and which shortcomings might prove difficult in the future. It’s also more likely to result in a relatively short questionnaire, which benefits your survey’s quality of data and completion rate. However, since you’re only showing each respondent one stimulus, you’ll need to target a larger audience. This can prove expensive and it might not be as easy to execute.

A sequential monadic survey design presents every respondent with the same survey that asks for feedback on multiple stimuli. Once you’ve collected responses from a statistically significant number of respondents, you can pick a winning concept by looking at the most common reactions to the stimuli.

In this type of survey, if you have a sample size of 500, you’d ask all 500 about both product ideas.

Here’s what your product testing survey might look like if you use a sequential monadic design.

This type of design lets you target a smaller audience than a monadic design, which makes it more cost-effective. However, if you want to keep your survey to a manageable length, you won’t be able to ask as many questions about each stimulus—meaning fewer insights about the specifics of each product.

Learn more about the pros and cons of each design, and how you can set them up in SurveyMonkey.

How To TEST ANY BUSINESS OR PRODUCT IDEA With REAL Customers → 3 Simple Steps

How often can you participate in product testing?

You can actually pick a product from one of their leading brands, they will send it to you. You can normally try out new samples every two weeks. Read my review of PINCHme for more details. 3. Adidas Product Testing

What are the benefits of product testing?

Product testing helps companies make better business decisions about their product. Conducting a product test can help them determine which consumer demographics appreciate their product most, which features resonate best with them and how much they may be willing to pay for it.

How does product testing work?

Product testing is a research methodology allowing businesses to collect qualitative and quantitative information about consumer’s potential consumption/usage behavior, preferences, and reactions on a product. Your product may be a software product or a consumer non-durable; it does not matter.

How do you product test from home?

Answer: First, you need to sign up with a product testing website. You will then receive a screener email to verify that you are eligible for the program. The company will contact you if they find you to be eligible for testing its product.

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