New Product Concept Testing is a Critical Component to Product Development
A fresh idea culminates from hours of brainstorming and is both professionally and intellectually satisfying. With a new concept in hand, the next stage of product development is product concept testing. There is a significant amount of product concept testing to invest in to determine your idea’s viability and how potential customers will receive your products. Several proven steps will help you deliver a dynamic product and engage your target audience.
Understand the Overall Impact of Your Product Concept
The first step toward realizing your concept is to gain an in-depth understanding of the potential impact your product would have on the marketplace. Developing this knowledge will involve basics, such as research and development costs, required time investments into CAD designs and testing, and the marketing investment to bring in initial sales revenue. Additionally, some pointed questions will reveal the realistic trajectory of your product idea:
- Is this a minor revision to an existing product or a more substantial change in the form of an entirely new concept?
- What is fueling the new idea? Was it customer requests, an internally communicated idea, or did you notice a substantial gap in a product market?
- Are the timelines to produce the product in an as-is state realistic?
- What portions, if not all, of the product development could be outsourced to a design and manufacturing consultant?
These questions will help you identify the places where your idea can quickly gain traction in a precisely targeted marketplace. The answers will help open the door to open-ended conversations with all of your potential project stakeholders: from investors and internal teams to customers and industry experts. This initial stage of inquiry provides a better sense of your product’s progress and whether it stays on target to meet anticipated functionality and sales goals.
Prepare Consistently Design Surveys to Solicit Stakeholder Feedback
An important factor in new product concept testing is getting helpful and complete feedback from all potential project stakeholders. There are various ways to solicit product concept feedback, including on a single product concept or multiple possible product concepts. You may also ask respondents to compare multiple concepts and select the one they like the most, along with a detailed explanation of why they made that choice.
A crucial aspect often neglected in product surveys is a checklist that rates each idea based on the product’s usability and how competitive its features will be on the market. This checklist should be created in a ranked-choice format, which allows responders to rank the critical areas of the conceptual product in order of effectiveness and importance. Also, checklists garner an increased response rate and will encourage feedback throughout the product development cycle.
Establish a Continuous Cycle of Testing and Feedback
Consistency is a fundamental element of success, and it’s critical to stay consistent in everything done during concept testing. Establishing a well documented and transparent cycle of testing and engineering feedback will provide you with the data you need to keep stakeholders in the loop. In turn, your stakeholders will give valuable input towards the progress the design team is making, allowing them to make necessary changes before committing to a product prototype.
A well-documented testing and feedback procedure will give your design team the tools they need to be proactive in building a better product. You can revise your vision as necessary to meet the expectations of customers. At the same time, designers can utilize powerful CAD drafting tools to continuously adjust and test specifications, ensuring products remain viable and realistic to manufacture. All of this contributes to getting you into the prototyping phase of product design for final testing and feedback.
Using Prototypes to Mold the Final Product
The last and most significant stage of new product concept testing is the accurate production of your design’s physical representation. Prototyping can be an efficient, inexpensive way to translate a digital CAD drawing into a real, physical product that can be interacted with and tested with production-grade material. The prototype phase is the most significant test of your design, confirming it for production or sending it back to the drawing board.
The primary challenge in turning a CAD design into a prototype is finding a manufacturer that can do so without breaking your budget. Finding a U.S.-based manufacturer that specializes in working with custom product development will accelerate your prototype through to the market, with the care and collaboration it requires.
How Can A Consultant Help My New Product Concept Testing?
Collaborating with an experienced short-run manufacturer will keep the momentum going on your new idea. Adding a team of experienced engineers to your product development team will provide the necessary collaboration for a successful product concept testing plan and anticipate market needs and advantages. A proven partner will give you the confidence that the project is meeting benchmarks for both quality and time-to-market.
PRL is a full-service product development company that specializes in all aspects of production, from design to product fabrication and prototyping. Our experts are here to guide you through the full product development process, including the ideation, design, creation, and management of your product idea.