DIY has been a hot topic in the market research space for a number of years, ever since the first truly user-friendly questionnaire design tool was developed. Though DIY is a fabulous way for experienced researchers to get their results quickly, there are many benefits to working with a trusted partner who has specialized for decades in specific research techniques. Yes, we’ve been doing in-home usage tests in Canada for nearly 40 years!
In the case of in-home product usage tests, experienced partners provide number of value-added processes that go beyond simply taking over the nitty-gritty details.
Surprisingly, sending 100 diapers, frozen sausages, or bottles of beer for 100 research participants is never sufficient! When conducting a product test, our experience across hundreds of categories has taught us how many additional packages are required in order to ensure the necessary end sample size is achieved, and that every participant receives a good quality product. The number of extra products required even depends on the product category so guidance from your partner will help to ensure waste from providing too many products is minimal.
These extra products are necessary for various reasons. The most important reason, of course, comes down to completion rates. Fortunately, since people have already completed a screening questionnaire, the completion rate for a product test will be much higher than a one-off questionnaire. However, it still won’t be 100%. Thus, 130 products might need to be sent out in order to generate 100 completed product assessments. And of course, additional product will be necessary as a few products may have been damaged on route to the facility, or a few research participants might lose, break, or mis-use something and require a replacement in-hand quickly. No matter the case, a good partner will ensure the right amount of product is made available – not too much and not too little.
- Product codes
Obviously, products that are tested unbranded must be individually coded with letter and/or numbers so that every participant can provide feedback specific to the product they received. This is particularly important when research participants receive multiple products that look the same, or when there are multiple groups of people each receiving a different variant. However, did you know that both unbranded and branded products must be labeled with an individual reference code? In fact, this is often the only way to ensure a research participant has actually received the product. A great partner has techniques in place to accomplish this coding quickly and efficiently, thereby getting you one step closer towards ensuring the validity of the research process, and one step closer to ensuring research participants receive the incentive they deserve.
Every product must have an ingredient list. Although the research screener is intended to identify people with allergies and prevent them from participating in the study, an ingredient list provides a second level of safety for research participants who may have neglected to mention or recall a specific allergy. The best ingredient lists will also mention whether products are kosher, halal, or vegan. Further, some people have moral or ethical issues about eating or using products made using animals or products that are harmful to the environment, e.g., palm oil.
In fact, for safety reasons, most research associations include an ingredient requirement in their standards documentation. And for those who realize how important accessibility is, including an ingredients list could facilitate the participation of people who are disabled. An ingredients list should never be seen as an annoyance. It’s necessary for safety and accessibility, and demonstrates to participants that you value their participation and deserve their trust. A great partner will ensure ingredient lists are available for every case where it’s necessary, whether for a package of cookies or a bar of soap.
Oh, shipping! Once a research project has been planned and designed, one of the last steps for clients is to ensure the product is shipped to the field company so that it can be prepared, coded, and distributed to research participants. Unfortunately, a rush on the client’s part doesn’t always translate into a rush on the shipper’s part. Products are rarely shipped overnight so a great partner will take care to build time into the plan to allow for slower than anticipated shipping.
If you’re pondering how to run an in-home product test with diapers, frozen sausages, or bottles of beer, please get in touch with us!. We’ve been there, done that, solved that problem long ago! We’re ready to make it easy for you.
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