Before the pandemic, in-person testing for product development was the norm: i.e., testing products, services, and concepts before release.
During the pandemic, In-Home Usage Tests (IHUTs) grew in popularity, even though they aren't a new concept.
IHUTS, or HUTS (Home Usage Test), are ideal for market research to determine how people utilize products where they live.
There are a few different variations on the name, which include:
• HUT (Home Use Test)
• IHUT (In-Home Use Test)
• Home-Usage Test
• In-Home User Test
Many market research companies were able to continue with in-home product testing by integrating the paper surveys accompanying the products with digital ones to get back the results they were looking for remotely and securely online.
If you're interested in conducting an IHUT of your own, there are a few questions you should ask yourself:
• What are my objectives?
• How many people would I like to test my products?
• How long should they be tested?
• Will this test be incentive based?
IHUTs are great for any industry. They allow businesses to test anything from consumer packaging to product testing, making sure the instructions make sense and that it tastes good if it's a food product.
Some companies partnered with consumers during the pandemic via services like Zoom to oversee and take part in product testing to get real-time feedback vs. an online survey after the fact.
One of the great things about IHUT is that you can gather feedback in various ways: online, in a video call, on the phone, or in person, if applicable.
It also offers the participant the option to try whatever it is their testing for a length of time that works best for the brand. If they are testing a new bread flavor, for example, the feedback time would be shorter than, say, if the person used a different type of deodorant for a month.
IHUTS allows you to get a better idea of how your product may perform given a variety of factors:
• First impression
• Possible improvements
• Purchase Intent
As you're conducting your market research, you may find that participants are using your product in a way you hadn't originally thought of, and it differentiates your product from competitors.
Utilizing market research, and allowing participants to use it in their homes, can provide invaluable data to improve your brand and marketing strategy.
Continuing to conduct research by sending out upgraded models to previous testers and having them review via online surveys is a great way to measure the value of your product to the end user.
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