The choice of testing methodology depends on many different things. On the whole, a Central Location Test (CLT) may be all you need if you want to determine things such as:
- Can consumers tell the difference in taste between two formulas??
- How visually appealing is a given sample?
- Do consumers have any problems opening a new type of package?
- Which of a large series of flavors are most popular?
But if your business issues are more complicated, you may need to place product with consumers and let them experience it over time, in the natural setting where they would use it if they had made a purchase, and where other family members’ opinions can influence purchase likelihood.
Home Use Testing (HUT) can be essential if your issue involves:
- Reliability of outcomes when consumers prepare the product for themselves
- Use up rate over time
- Drop in interest over time as the novelty wears off and routine sets in.
Of course, it’s always possible to design a test that combines different aspects of both CLT’s and HUT’s. We have had a lot of success in placing a product in a CLT situation so that we capture all of those initial reactions. Then we send the participants home with the sample to be tested and a mobile research login. Over the course of the placement period, we ask participants to log in a given number of times (depending on the length of the placement and the complexity of the tasks to be reported on). Then we end with an in-home interview that captures all of the participants’ reactions and can uncover issues we might not have thought about until we see the product in place.