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What happens when a brand creates a new product for the market that is superior to the competition? Will consumers recognize the superiority of the product and will that translate into sales? 

A large kitchen appliance brand approached us to conduct a product test with the goal of validating their product versus the competition and identifying any areas for optimization prior to launch

Problem

Our client developed a new product rooted in the best features of other products in the category, resulting in superior features designed to bring the kitchen experience to the next level. The client team had already undertaken many phases of consumer and market research to develop this appliance. They now needed one final round to validate if the appliance was preferred to the in-market competition, and to explore any refinements that could be made to heighten consumer acceptance even more. 

The best way to test the product was to have consumers physically interact with the prototype, as well as five competitive appliances in person, imagining if they were shopping for a new kitchen appliance. Given the challenge of placing large appliances, a central location test was the most efficient way to get a quantitative sample size, as well as host a qualitative discussion about the products.

Result

The comprehensive research approach resulted in confirmation that the new product was preferred by most consumers. The subsequent qualitative conversations also lead the client team to uncover some areas for optimization that would further drive preference versus the competition. The in-person research allowed the marketing team to hear how consumers talk about the new product so that they could effectively communicate its key features and benefits when they launch the product in-market.  

Notably, because the quantitative findings were collected in real time, the qualitative discussion could be appropriately guided to the products’ most loved and most polarizing features and benefits. In the end, the client walked away from the research with hard numbers around overall preference and preferred features, as well as reasons for preference and ideas for optimization.
 

Solution

C+R conducted an in-person quantitative directly into qualitative product test in a central location. The large kitchen appliances were delivered and set up in a room large enough to accommodate the research, and in a way clients could observe consumer interactions with each one. Consumers open to the product category and design, and in the market for the appliance, were pre-recruited to the facility to evaluate the six appliances. Across six sessions and two days, over 140 consumers evaluated all the appliances in random order.

Survey data was captured through tablets and tabulated in real time. Consumer responses, as well as their demographics, were also captured in real time allowing us to create group discussions rooted in the topics we wanted to explore more – whether it be talking with acceptors or rejectors or a mixed group; those with kids, without kids; etc.

Each of the sessions started with a self-administered evaluation of the appliance among a large group of consumers and ended with a focus group conversation among six hand-picked respondents and our moderator. The discussion flowed from the pre-drafted discussion guide but was modified each session based upon who was chosen for the group, and the results surrounding the product preference and top benefits. Though the clients left the sessions knowing exact preference for their new product and optimizations that could be made, the study concluded with a cohesive story report weaving the qualitative and quantitative findings together for the client.