At-home testing involves placing a product in a respondent’s home and asking them to use it in the manner they normally would. Depending on scale it can either be classified as a qualitative or quantitative technique – although, as a quantitative tool, samples tend to be in the hundreds not thousands.
What are the aims of At-Home Testing?
As an approach, it aims to identify the nuances that, often in relation to a product launch, can mean the difference between success and failure. Its effectiveness is borne of the fact that it places usage in the wider context of that respondent’s lifestyle – so gives a realistic read on how a product/service should perform in the ‘real world’.
How is At-Home Testing undertaken?
Researchers use a variety of techniques to record usage and reactions to the products being tested. Modern approaches would prioritise observational methods as these keep respondents in ‘automatic mode’ and therefore give the most meaningful account of the product’s appeal.
Auto-ethnographic techniques are a useful way of observing in-home usage and we find WhatsApp conversations a natural means of maintaining dialogue during the fieldwork period.
Despite natural time pressures around getting results, it really pays dividends if the testing lasts for as long as possible – the general rule of thumb being the longer the test, the more behaviour resembles real life. For consumables, this allows you to see if the researched items become a fixture in the respondent’s daily life. For durable goods, you get to see how these perform over a longer timescale.
What’s an example of At-Home Testing?
For a leading food retailer, we tested a new range of scratch cook short-cut products. In the first instance we compelled usage but, having handed over a batch, left the respondents free to use as they chose. This gave a telling read on the winners and losers – winners saving time but not compromising the health benefits of scratch cooking.
What is At-Home Testing?