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The Value of Road Testing Your Product With a Prototype

The Value of Road Testing Your Product With a Prototype
12/12/2018

Taking your product from an idea to market can seem like an overwhelming task with many pitfalls on the way but there are certain steps you can take that ensure all your hard work, investment and vision come to fruition. In this post we will share the huge gains to be had from testing a prototype and making this step an essential part of your products journey to market.

Why road test at all? When you are keen to get your product completed it’s easy to miss this step. You have faith in your product and you don’t want to add unnecessary time or money to the process. The problem is though that when you steam ahead without this input you miss vital feedback that could potentially make or break your product’s success with your target audience.

You could potentially waste huge amounts of money and time manufacturing a product that won’t sell because of problems that were overlooked, ignored or not even seen. By putting in place a testing procedure with a prototype, changes and improvements can be made before mass manufacturing. This results in a better more appealing product being manufactured and distributed, leading to more sales. To avoid this step is essentially short sighted.

How to test your prototype Road testing is an opportunity to make your product the best it can be. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to get the most out of the experience. Here are 3 tips to follow which will help you to optimise the road testing process.

Find the right people – you will have an ideal customer for your product, if you put together a focus group make sure it is made up of the people who would actually buy your product in the first place. Realistically it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, your ideal client is the only real opinion that matters. Ask the right questions – before you begin the testing process, spend some time nailing down exactly what you need to know and planning questions that will help you ascertain the answers. Ask a combination of open and closed questions, the open variety give the user the opportunity to expand and give yiu deeper insight into their experience. Stay neutral – you have your heart, soul (and your finances) invested in your product so it is easy to become emotionally affected by the answers and potentially resist recommended changes as a result. For long term success it in important to let go of any attachment and keep an open mind. Real life experience of road testing Take the experience of Matt Hulbert MD of Ojee Golf and his golf accessory product; The Talon. They outsourced their manufacturing to Nexus IE after spending months manufacturing on a small scale in the family home. By taking this big step up they were able to get professional guidance, resources and support through the upscaling of their business.

As part of this we took them through a tried and tested method of product testing that resulted in a valuable change to the final product.

They discovered that some users were having issues around the way in which the product attached to the grip-butt of the golf club. They were then able to take this information to inform the next step and we helped them to re-engineer the product, eliminating the issue.

They admitted the process wasn’t easy, having to go back to the drawing board certainly took the wind out of their sales but they were wise enough to take our advice as experts in manufacturing. Additionally they were driven by a desire to deliver the best possible product and to do this they needed to listen to the feedback and made amendments.

The TALON Mk2 was manufactured as a result of the testing process and is far more superior, meeting the unique needs of Matts target audience perfectly.

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