Over the past few months the ways we conduct product research have changed, due to Covid-19 restrictions traditional product testing methods such as hall (marketplace) testing have been placed on hold. As a result we have had to look for new ways to effectively assess product reformulations, line extensions, NPD and product quality, in a safe and effective way.
We have found that in-home usage testing (IHUT) has been an excellent alternative to traditional research during these times, as the benefits of IHUT become more widely realized we believe it will become a key pillar of product research approaches going forward.
In light of this we have taken some time to evaluate a few IHUT projects we conducted over the past few weeks for food and personal care clients. To highlight the benefits of product testing in the consumers home we’ve decided to compare it to hall (marketplace) testing in this blog. Hall or marketplace testing involves the off street recruitment of consumers to evaluate products in a controlled, specified venue. The benefits of IHUT extend well beyond hall testing & are applicable to most research approaches, here’s what we’ve seen so far..
1. Data Quality & Participation
Many of the features within our app have been specifically designed to monitor the quality of consumer responses, including a record of the time a consumer spends completing a survey. Using this data we were able to determine that on average, consumers spent 12 minutes completing an in-home usage tasting survey versus the 9 minute average spent on surveys completed during an off-street recruited hall test.
We also found was that consumers provided much more detailed responses to open text questions than they would in a traditional hall test. Interacting with consumers at home, in an environment they are comfortable in allows for respondents to give a more detailed response to open-ended questions. When asked the reason for their overall preference, off-street hall testing resulted in an average of 6.79 words per respondent, while in-home testing resulted in an average of 11.85 words per respondents. This represents a 75% increase in the level of detail in the responses.
An increased level of detail was also evident when consumers were asked if they had any likes/dislikes about the product they were testing. This metric registered an increase of 149% in the level of detail given.
2. Wider Geographical Reach
Conducting IHUT via the Eolas app allows for a greater geographical reach. A recent IHUT survey was conducted with 100 consumers spread across 21 counties, while off-street recruited hall tests are typically only conducted across 2-3 main cities.
Conducting in-home usage testing via the Eolas app allows for a greater market reach, while removing the costs associated with renting venues. For example conducting hall tests in the UK may not always be feasible due to costs etc. however, through the use of the app consumers in the UK can participate in research from the comfort of their own home and at a time that suits them.
3. Understanding the natural consumption experience
98% of consumers felt the experience of product tasting at home felt natural. Conducting an-in home usage testing survey allows for a more tailored approach versus the rigid time constraints of a hall test. If your product is typically consumed as an afternoon snack or in the evening after dinner, then a hall test conducted before lunch may not be the most ideal approach for your research needs. In-home usage testing evaluates your product in the natural consumption moment, providing insights on consumer experience as they actually occur.
4. Multiple Applications for In-Home Testing
In-home usage testing (IHUT) is a flexible and easily adapted approach which can be tailored to meet specific research requirements – whether it’s NPD, product reformulation, product benchmarking or product quality, you can quickly and easily access real consumers. IHUT also allows for quicker reporting turnaround, as the app is interfaced with our Flexicollect portal it removes the need for manual data entry, once a response is received the results are available immediately.
5. Access the right consumers & create a positive user experience
Overall, consumers recorded a very positive experience of product testing at home using the Eolas app. Consumers felt more comfortable being able to carry out the research in their own home and at a time that suited them. Off street recruiting relies on the right consumers being in the right place at the right time; IHUT removes this challenge with the ability to target real consumers in multiple locations when it suits them.
95% of consumers found the experience of completing an IHUT survey on the Eolas app to be easy [91% very easy & 4% somewhat easy], here’s what they had to say:
With the ongoing restrictions IHUT is a great way of gathering richer data from consumers in a safer way. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.