The process of designing and launching a new product or service is equal parts exciting and scary. Of course, you’re looking forward to seeing your inspired ideas and hard work come to fruition, but without knowing exactly how (or if) the public will react can be a little nerve wracking. Although there are no promises when it comes to the success of a new product, a good concept testing process can help ease some of the uncertainties and give you some better insight into how the product will perform and what you can do to help it along.

The key to effective concept testing is knowing what you’re looking for during tests. Not all feedback is created equally—some pieces of information will hold more value than others.
When entering the concept testing stage of your new product, here are a few questions you should be asking.

Is It Necessary?

The first thing you need to establish is whether there actually is a market for your idea. It doesn’t matter how brilliant or innovative a concept might be; if there is no want or need for it on the market right now, it might be a tough sell. Your concept testing should include focus groups of people you perceive to be your target audience. During these focus groups, don’t just ask them if they like the product; ask them if they would actually buy it. Those two questions might seem similar, but they may yield very different answers.

Is It Functional?

Once you’ve established whether there actually is a market for your product, the next phase of concept testing should focus on design and user experience. Your product has to work, it has to be reliable, and it has to conform to the way your audience thinks. Your concept testing might include different versions or iterations of the product to see if there is a preference. Once again, don’t simply ask those testing the product if they liked it. Even asking them if it was easy to use might be too simple. Ask what about the product was easy and what wasn’t. Ask what made sense and what was difficult to figure out. Ask what’s missing. Ask what would improve it. Concept testing is your time to try to find everything wrong with your product so that you can improve it as much as possible.

Is It Good Value?

Finally, you can have a great product that fills a void in the market, but if it isn’t good value, people won’t buy it. Conversely, if you try to sell it for significantly less than people would be willing to pay, you could lose money for no reason. Use your concept testing process to determine how much value your audience would place on the product, and what would be the threshold for them to consider buying it.

Concept testing can be a long process—and at times, a defeating one. No one wants to hear everything that’s wrong with their best idea! But it’s a time to learn, grow, and perfect your product so that others will love it as much as you do.


Kelton, a market research firm in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and London provides actionable strategic plans with a range of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies like brand tracking, customer journey mapping, market segmentation, concept testing, omnibus surveys and many more. Visit for more info.