Human Interaction = Authentic Feedback

The Pre-launch phase is where the magic happens

Through a recent study, we found that about 70% of brands engaged reported that they "frequently perform formal product testing that includes surveys, data analysis, and reports". Out of that same group of brands, 80% stated that they see their product testing process changing, innovating, or increasing in the future.

With the average product development timeline spanning between 11-14 months, adding another step in the process is a big ask. However, without pre-launch feedback from pre-launch testing, you could be launching a product into the marketplace that doesn't meet the standards or preferences of your target audience.

At MESH01, we are leading the charge in pre-launch product testing. Our platform is designed to open up a direct channel of communication between your brand and your core customers. By utilizing this opportunity, you can obtain the feedback you need to make sure you're launching the right product, at the time, and in the right place.

The Human Touch

By interacting with people outside of your company, you can add a critical layer of authenticity and reassurance which can be invigorating at this point in the process. Up until now, only your colleagues have had the chance to become acquainted with your new product. No matter what their feedback is, be it good or bad, it's all biased.

Yes, you are the experts of your brand. You know what fits into your product assortment and what this new product needs to be. But, outside of the obvious, you're likely too close to the product to be able to identify its pros and cons.

By using the MESH01 platform, you can interact with the people who represent your core customers. This will allow your brand to get hands-on experience before the product hits the market and its fate is determined. This can help you make any changes you need to if needed. It can also save you time and money. But the biggest benefit of doing this is that you can rest assured that you'll have a successful product launch.

Talk To The Right People

A byproduct of relying on your core customers to engage in pre-launch product testing is brand loyalty. These people recognize that you're relying on them to help your brand launch a successful product. As the people who use these products, they want to help you. It's human nature. Enlisting them to test out something that they and only a handful of others will get to see, is something of an honor.

At MESH01, our tester community is comprised of product experts, product users, and people who rely on your product. They are the ones who can test your new product in the way it was intended to be used in the environment it is intended to be used in.

A Single Platform to Drive Product Feedback, Innovation, and Speed-to-Market

Product testing has been a part of L.L.Bean's product development process for more than a century. Before they come to market with a new or updated product, they make sure to identify pain points or room for improvement so that they know that their product will succeed in the marketplace. Part of that process has always been listening to the feedback of their core customers.

Over a decade ago, L.L.Bean partnered with MESH01 to elevate their product testing process. They wanted a single platform that would drive product feedback, innovation, and speed-to-market. The MESH01 platform provided that solution and became an integral part of their product development process.

Today, we continue to work with L.L.Bean. As eCommerce continues to strengthen its foothold as the preferred method of consumer shopping, they have utilized our platform to continue to bring the right products to market. Collectively, and through successful product launches, both brands have seen the importance of human interaction before launch.

Let the Countdown Begin

Once you've completed the pre-launch product testing phase and adopted any necessary changes, you're ready to launch. This is the part where, if you've followed the process, and listened to your customers, all of your efforts will pay off.


For the first half of 2024, we're going to be releasing informed content related to the Product Development process. We feel that there's never been a better time than right now to share the tenets of this process, as well as our experience with it and how we're prepared to help your brand take it on, head-on.

Subscribe to our blog to make sure you stay informed.

All Hands on Deck

MESH01 Product Development Planning

The planning phase of the product development process is infamous for being complex and - at times - difficult to dial in. This is where you need to start working with suppliers and manufacturers to get your product made on time and at the right price points. During this step of the process, you'll have full control of the "where" and "how" aspects, but the "when" resides with which suppliers and manufacturers you decide to work with.

When Will the Product Launch?

When you reach this point in the development phase, you'll already know when you want your product to launch. In larger organizations, this is often determined by the seasonal product development calendars. However, you will be partnering with suppliers and manufacturers, so that can change. It's important to find the right resources that:

  • Fit within your project budget
  • Meet your capabilities and capacity needs
  • Have excellent quality control
  • Are environmentally responsible
  • Can meet their deadlines on time

Another important factor in choosing the right group to work with is being able to build a lasting relationship. You want to make sure you're working with resources that you can rely on for future products as well. This saves time and money, overall.

Where Is Your Product Being Sold?

Aside from your customers, no one knows the market better than you. With market trends changing and buying patterns shifting, now is a good time to consider where you want to place your product. You already have a good idea of where your products have performed well in the past, this could be a good opportunity to expand into other areas.

With the changing retail environment, you've probably already figured out that a large portion of your sales and promotion of your product will happen online. But, are your plans for in-store, brick-and-mortar options? Are you a big box brand? This is the time in the product development process when you need to start planning for the anticipated channels.

How Are You Navigating to a Successful Launch?

If you've figured out the when and where you can take on the how with confidence. There are a lot of things to consider during this step and a majority of them rely on outside sources that can meet your demands. Some things to consider are:

  • How is the product being manufactured?
  • How are you marketing it?
  • How will it be packaged?

This also requires you to start working more closely with other teams inside your company. You'll need to make sure you're working with your purchasing and manufacturing departments. Members of your marketing and sales team will play a crucial role in taking this milestone.

Other Things to Consider

With all hands on deck at this point, you've got a lot of departments within your company helping to make this venture a success. Each department has its role to play - from sourcing to packaging to marketing and social media efforts. This is where all of the pieces fall into place.

Currently, two of the largest factors in manufacturing are country of origin and sustainability. Each project provides an opportunity to revisit where your product is being made, how it's being made, and what it's being made from.

Overall, a major factor in the planning phase is timing. Internally, everything needs to line up just right. This is why it's important to make sure you're keeping lines of communication open. Nobody enjoys a day full of meetings, but they provide opportunities to address changes or delays.

Externally, vendors need to be prepared for your product. At a minimum, this includes making sure there is shelf space allocated. This could also include product training, changes to websites, as well as marketing and social media campaigns. That said, timing and communication are crucial.

Attention to Details

Aside from staying informed and making sure all the key players are talking to one another, the planning phase is where you find out how well you did in completing previous phases in the product development process.

For example, one supplier may not be able to deliver on time. Another supplier might be able to get you your product on time, but it might cost you more money. This is where the research phase and any feedback you collected during the design phase can pay off in spades.

Once you figure out all of this, you're ready to bring in your core customers for the next phase: Pre-Launch Product Testing.


For the first half of 2024, we're going to be releasing informed content related to the Product Development process. We feel that there's never been a better time than right now to share the tenets of this process, as well as our experience with it and how we're prepared to help your brand take it on, head-on.

Subscribe to our blog to make sure you stay informed.

Product testing has never been more important

product placement is a big factor in success

In the decade leading up to the pandemic, many retailers began growing their online presence while shrinking their physical footprint. This allowed them to reach more customers. Then, when the pandemic hit in 2020, and stores were forced to close their doors, online shopping took over almost completely.

Big chains and name-brand retailers were already poised for this change. But it took smaller, mom-and-pop shops a considerable amount of effort to set up online stores so that they could continue to run their business.

Fast forward to today and though the pandemic is mostly in our rear-view, online shopping continues to dominate in places like the US. However, with the promise and allure of in-store shopping returning, big and small brands alike are committed to keeping a physical storefront for people to walk into and browse.

Online vs. In-Store Shopping

Two major differences between online shopping and in-store shopping are store hours and product availability.

When you shop online, you can shop whenever you want. There's no need to wait for the store to open in the morning. Additionally, if something is out of stock at one store, you may be able to find it in another store. This makes online shopping appealing because it's more convenient.

The flip side of that coin is the waiting game. When you order something online, you need to wait for it to be delivered. Amazon has tried to combat this reality with same-day and next-day shipping through their Prime program, but it's still not instant gratification.

Additionally, shopping in-store is an experience. We're physically involved in the act. It also allows for the opportunity for up-sales, things we see and buy when we're browsing.

That said, is the presumed death of the shopping mall a sign of what's to come? Are consumers over the whole in-store browsing thing?

A recent article titled "'Death of the mall is widely exaggerated': Shopping malls see resurgence post-COVID, report shows" argues that not only are malls bouncing back, but - because of that - so is in-store retail shopping. Either way, if in-store shopping is making a return, as a brand, it's going to be important to make sure your product has a spot on their shelves.

Believe it or not, that's fairly easy to do. It's just going to require you to take a couple of extra steps.

Shelf Space

One of the more obvious changes regarding in-store, physical shopping is that retailers are keeping less stock on hand. This includes limiting the variety of products they are keeping on their shelves. This might sound counter-intuitive to drawing people into their stores, however - this is a smart decision. By limiting SKUs in their stores, they don't have to invest nearly as much as they would have just a few years ago.

This method also gives the sales associates an opportunity to direct you to their store's online shop, where they're more than likely to have a larger variety of sizes, SKUs, etc.

With product placement already being a factor in your success, as a brand, what do you do to maintain your presence on a store shelf in the physical world?

The short answer is that you make sure the product that is on those shelves is what your consumers want. The best way to figure that out is by talking to those consumers during the product development phase so that you can ensure you're bringing a product to market that they want. This will also entice a store to stock your items in both their online and physical locations.

Product Testing = Product Placement

MESH01 efficiently connects brands to their core customers. This allows both parties to start a conversation around needs and wants regarding the brand's product offering. By tapping into this experienced and beneficial resource, your brand can bring a product consumers want to market and earn that physical shelf space.

Put simply - demand generally means sales. If a retailer sees this demand they are more than likely to stock that product on their shelves. This gives you two channels to sell your product and a greater presence.

Through concept testing and pre-launch product testing, you can work with your core customers to refine your end product. The MESH01 product testing platform, combined with our team of product testers, helps you start the conversation and keeps it going. This allows you to work out the kinks before your product hits the market.

In 2023, we surveyed an extensive group of product professionals about product testing. This group included people from marketing, sales, product development, and consumer insight professionals. In that process, we found out that 70% of those brands currently use physical testing, surveys, and data analysis for product testing. Additionally, 80% of those brands see those processes evolving and increasing.

Looking at those statistics, it is hard to ignore that the future of product development includes concept testing and pre-market testing. With the MESH01 product testing platform, we make these additional processes easy to incorporate into your timelines. This is the epitome of working smarter in 2024.


To learn more about MESH01 and how our platform can help your brand, connect with us today!

Turning Concepts Into Reality

The design phase of product development is where your product concepts become a reality. In this part of the process, you get to finally see your idea come to life. In the design phase, your team pulls together all of your ideas and the information you collected during the research phase and turns it into something tangible; something people can react to.

Some teams can finalize a design in no time at all. But others - especially when the product you are creating is new and innovative - will take time. Product teams will also require feedback from outside sources. In this case, the best feedback will come from your core customers playing the role of product testers. Their knowledge of your brand and familiarity with the product you are creating will ensure that their feedback is both authentic and valuable.

Internal Workshopping

Workshopping your design concepts internally is an opportunity to look at a few different iterations of your future product. At this point, you want to determine if these concepts represent your brand and fit into your product lineup. You also want to make sure that they:

  • Fill the need in the marketplace
  • Consider trends that you observed
  • Meet the standards of the end user
  • Represent what your customers really want

All four of those points are important goals to meet. However, the last one is the one that will determine if your product will be truly successful or not. After all, you can meet those other three points, but if your customers won't accept your new product, it runs a higher risk of failure in the market.

Through workshopping your team can create concepts that can be shared with your core customers through concept testing.

Environmental Responsibility

A lot of attention has been focused on environmental responsibility in product design. This has led to innovations in materials, processes, and manufacturing. These advancements have been adopted to have minimal impact on the planet but could have a large and positive impact on your brand.

Though these concepts will relate more to the product planning phase, being conscious of key topics like sustainability and choosing to use renewable materials can have a positive impact on the success of your new product and your brand as a whole.

Patagonia has been at the forefront of sustainability for some time now. They have made conscious efforts to make sure the materials they use have the lowest impact on the environment. This includes recycling, investing in new and sustainable materials, and where they are sourced. These efforts have also provided opportunities to utilize new, efficient methods for manufacturing goods that include these materials.

Speaking from experience, we understand that these concepts cannot be adopted by a company overnight. But we believe it's worth considering their benefits. After all, they are an investment in our planet for our future. A brand that recognizes its responsibility to the environment can also be appealing to consumers. Furthermore, adopting practices like this during the design phase will allow you to approach the planning phase from a well-informed standpoint.

Concept Testing

Concept testing is one of the most effective ways of enhancing your product development process. Not only can it keep the project on track to meet your deadlines, but it can help your team distinguish between a product idea and a product idea that your customers will love.

At this stage, it's more than likely that you won't have a working prototype to share with your customers. By embracing technology, you can provide them with 3D renderings. These concept renderings can be presented on their own, or in multiples. They can also be changed on the fly as feedback comes in. What once was a task that could affect your overall timeline can now be done online in a few hours through digital product creation.

Your customers are a direct line to your success. Involving them during this critical step of the product development process can benefit you during this project as well as future projects.

Communicate

At MESH01, you can leverage our concept testing platform to communicate directly with your key customers while still in the product development stage. This opportunity allows you to both identify the needs of your product's design and construction as well as validate your market opportunity. Through tester feedback, you can easily ensure that you're bringing the right product to the market at the right place and time.

Once you decide on your well-informed final design, you're ready to take on the planning phase.


For the first half of 2024, we're going to be releasing informed content related to the Product Development process. We feel that there's never been a better time than right now to share the tenets of this process, as well as our experience with it and how we're prepared to help your brand take it on, head-on.

Subscribe to our blog to make sure you stay informed

There are ways around AI and bad feedback.

AI generated image depicting a robot writing an online review. MESH01

Even though it has been around for some time, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a hot topic for the last couple of years. What has been considered a time-saving and valuable tool, AI can create and influence written and visual content with very little human input or interaction. From the world of academia to the medical world, and from marketing and advertising to making movies, AI is everywhere.

Where AI has proven to be a valuable tool, it has also proven to be a point of contention with people questioning its impact and authenticity. One place in particular is Amazon where more and more reviews are being identified as being written with AI. These occurrences not only misinform potential customers but can have an impact on sales and future product development.

This is a prime example of bad feedback.

However, love it or hate it, AI is here to stay. In the right hands, it can be a benefit. It's when it's being used nefariously that it can create conflict. That said, there's no reason for it to negatively impact your brand.

Feedback

Sales are a key indicator of how your product is performing. Feedback is the key to knowing if your customers are accepting your product. Online reviews are crucial feedback in our modern world.

However, AI is actively skewing online feedback that brands receive about their products by writing fake reviews. Also, it's becoming more difficult to identify if an online review is being written by one of your customers or by AI. This inability to confirm authenticity can have negative impacts on your business. That includes product development, product marketing, and product success.

It can also derail plans for product lifecycling as well as keep you from being informed about any areas of improvement for your product. Looking at it from the other angle, these AI-generated reviews can also keep you from knowing how well your product is being received.

It's all a big mess that makes it very difficult to run a business. However, there is a way to limit and/or eliminate the impact of AI. By helping you talk to your target customers, the MESH01 platform can provide the perfect workaround.

Talk to the Right People

Our platform allows you to communicate with an informed team of testers that you hand-pick. These people are your target customers. They know your brand and know your products. Moreover, because they have brand loyalty and familiarity, they're more apt to give you honest and impactful feedback.

This feedback can then be bounced off of what you're reading on Amazon and Google; essentially acting as your control group. With that big picture, you can make informed decisions on the future of your products in the marketplace as well as future projects that lead to successful products.

With the MESH01 platform, you can clear a path through the negative aspects of AI to the right feedback which will lead to brand growth and success.

Connect with us today and let's see how we can keep your brand on track.

Figuring out where your product will live is a key to brand success.

MESH01 Developmental Cycle Research

Knowing what’s going on in the world that your brand lives within might seem like a no-brainer. This intuitive research phase is such a critical step in product development. One that requires your undivided attention.

Market Research Provides Insight

Even if your brand has been in the market for a while, things change all the time. In our post-pandemic environment, it seems like everything has changed. Brands are taking the opportunity to update or reinvent themselves. Consumer habits have changed which has impacted timelines and trends. If you're planning to launch a product now, there's nothing more important to its success than doing research.

What research will uncover:

  • Demand. Is there a place for your product in the marketplace right now?
  • Trends. How are people adopting and using specific products?
  • New Concepts. Is there anything new and innovative out there?
  • Manufacturing. Has there been any change in sourcing and manufacturing?
  • Improve vs. Introduce. Do you need to launch a new product or improve on an existing one?

All of these things will help to influence how you move beyond the research phase in the Product Development cycle.

Feedback Provides Product Direction

Collecting and utilizing feedback is part of the research phase. Feedback provides you direction; a place to jump off from while you're diving into the world of research. At MESH01, our platform allows you to access feedback from three crucial points in a product's lifecycle:

These three phases of the product lifecycle represent the beginning, middle, and end of that product's development and can provide some of the richest data. Why? Because that data is feedback provided directly by your core customer. They're the people who are buying your product and have an affinity for your brand. They are your biggest supporters (and sometimes critics) and ultimately want to see you succeed because they benefit from your well-thought-out products.

Once you digest and apply the right feedback, you're ready to begin the design phase.


For the first half of 2024, we're going to be releasing informed content related to the Product Development process. We feel that there's never been a better time than right now to share the tenets of this process, as well as our experience with it and how we're prepared to help your brand take it on, head-on.

Subscribe to our blog to make sure you stay informed.

Ideas are the beginning of everything.

Ideas are the beginning of the Product Development process.

Creating a new product for your brand might mean updating something already in the marketplace. It could also mean that you're introducing something new. No matter what the situation is, it starts with an idea.

New product ideas can be something you thought about in the shower. Or they can be something you've rolled around for a while and are finally ready to bring to the table. Either way, the ideation phase is the first and most important step in the process.

Feedback is a critical piece of this phase.

Embrace Feedback

The ideation process can be time-consuming. It's also very easy for this part of the process to take a project off-course. Thankfully, this early in the project timeline, taking a little more time isn't as critical as missing something down the line. This is where feedback can play a major role in crafting that idea into something you can work with.

The type of feedback that you can pick up at this part in the process is free of the market static. Workshopping your ideas with the right people isn't the same as reading reviews on Amazon. The feedback you receive during this time is going to be the most reliable source of information you receive, outside of your company.

By consulting with a team comprised of your core customers, you're able to gather information from people who are already familiar with your brand. These are people who have real-life experience with the idea for the product you're sharing with them. More than likely, they also will have insight into similar products already on the market. Their input is valuable because of its raw authenticity.

The MESH01 platform takes feedback and puts it all in one, organized space. This makes it easy for you to go through and find the pros and cons of your idea. What's more, this feedback is coming from your core customers - our product tester team. These are the people who are using your product as it is intended. So, even at the ideation level, they're the people you want to be talking to as they're ones ripe for vetting your new product concept.

Concept Testing

Whether you've worked with MESH01 in the past or not, we're here to help you hit the ground running. Our concept testing platform is designed to help your team distinguish between a product idea and a product idea that your customers will love. It's the purest form of validation. This is also the perfect time to identify product trends that can help influence this project as well as future projects.

Utilizing the MESH01 platform and our tester community, you can confidently push past the ideation stage of product development. You'll move on with something that meets or exceeds the demands of your core customer base. Then it's on to the research phase where you'll find out if there's a place in the market for what your idea will become.


For the first half of 2024, we're going to be releasing informed content related to the Product Development process. We feel that there's never been a better time than right now to share the tenets of this process, as well as our experience with it and how we're prepared to help your brand take it on, head-on.

Subscribe to our blog to make sure you stay informed.

Product Development Begins When Product Development Ends

Product development is cyclical. When one project ends, another begins. Though no two projects are exactly the same, using information and feedback from past projects, as well as applying the basic steps of Product Development will lead you to a successful product launch. This is how you stay relevant in the marketplace and grow as a business.

Enterprise level support

The Product Development Process

The Product Development process generally has seven steps:

  • Ideation
  • Research
  • Design
  • Planning
  • Pre-Launch Product Testing
  • Launch
  • Feedback

Each phase of the Product Development process serves an important purpose. They are designed to inform you along the way. Skipping a step could delay your project and put you back to square one. Additionally, sticking to one phase for too long can have the same outcome.

Take for instance the market climate your product could launch into. Commonly identified during the research phase, you could be launching your product in a saturated market. Without working through the research phase, you would never know if it was going to get lost in the mix.

There's no singular answer to how much time you should dedicate to each phase. With timelines forever shrinking and demand forever growing, we recommend that you make the best of that time in each phase.

Navigating Through The Phases of Product Development

Think about product development in terms of navigation. The process itself is your map on this journey. At the beginning of the project, you have a start and finish. Your timeline is your clock and you want to get to that finish line before time runs out. As you go through the steps of Product Development, gathering information and feedback, you carve your path to the finish - or, in more relative terms - a successful product launch.

Since the Product Development process can differ from company to company, brand to brand, it's important to understand each phase so that you can extract its benefits; to your benefit.

Even though the process is cyclical, it's important to remember that it should always be evolving to fit the needs of your brand. The steps in the process may remain the same, how you apply them is greatly influenced by the information you collect and the feedback you receive.

What's that about Pre-Launch Testing?

Though it's not part of everyone's Product Development process, pre-launch product testing can be critical to the success of your product. Here at MESH01, we pride ourselves in providing a platform that can get that crucial information to you on time.

We understand how important it is for you to get feedback from your core customer base before you put your new product to market. Pre-launch testing allows you to tap into our massive tester community and interact with those core customers. Through hands-on testing, they will provide you with the feedback you need.

Each one of these steps relies on you bringing in your expertise and any past information you've collected to help you pass each milestone. Additionally, to launch a product that is destined to do well in the market, you need to consider the feedback you receive.

At MESH01, our platform is deeply rooted in Product Development. It gives you the ability to collect information in the form of pre-market feedback as well as post-launch feedback. This feedback is where ideas like new products come from, how to decide the lifecycle of your current products, and so on.

In Detail: The Phases of the Product Development Process

To kick off 2024, we wanted to share with both our brand community and tester community the facets of each step in the Product Development process.

Pulling together years of experience from a multitude of industries, we will focus on each phase in the process by sharing a new post with you throughout the first half of the year.

With all of this, we intend to inform you, guide you, and remind you that we're here for you, each step of the way.

Work Smart. Not Hard.

Managing Data and Reviews

The product development process is both fast-paced and, at times, intense. In the end, if you've done a great job, you'll have created a great product your customers will love. But that doesn't mean your role in the process is over. Once your product hits the market, it's time for the next litmus test. That comes in the form of post-launch feedback. This information is going to be a primary driver of how your product performs in the market.

But managing that data can be a bear.

Customer reviews. Online feedback. Scouring Forums. It's a lot of data and going through all of it is time-consuming. The process is only made more complex by having to sort through the information and distinguish the good feedback from the fodder. All the while, more keeps coming in as the market reacts to your contribution to it.

But all hope is not lost. The MESH01 platform can help you connect with your core customers and define which feedback is beneficial. It allows you to compare the feedback from your target customers to the other feedback you're receiving from outside sources and make decisions based on your findings.

The Social Impact

Consumers make most of their purchasing decisions based on the reviews they read online. In a perfect world, those reviews and feedback would all be either constructive or positive. Unfortunately, that's just not the case. More often than not, you'll find yourself spending hours weeding through online reviews, only to end up with a handful of beneficial feedback that you can use to influence your next project.

Furthermore, it's hard to gauge the actual success of your product with so many voices coming at you all at once. Sure, sales numbers are a surefire way to find out if your product is being received well, but how does that alone help you decide if your product needs improvement? How does it help you decide what your next project should be?

While managing all of that open-market feedback, consider tapping into your target customers through a product testing platform. After all, the most important feedback will come from them. Those people are familiar with your brand and your products and would jump at a chance to interact with you.

The best way to do this is through the MESH01 platform.

Our Platform

The MESH01 platform is designed to help you get the information you need and process it all in one place, at one time. Our platform allows you to interact directly with your core customers. By managing the engagement process, you can ask them questions, ping them for particular feedback, and eliminate the bloat.

Furthermore, if your product hasn't hit the market yet, you can utilize our tester community to provide you with pre-launch feedback through pre-launch product testing. This hands-on process allows you the opportunity to talk to the right people to get the information you need in a timely manner and make any changes you may need to before launch.

At MESH01, our aim is to help you not only sort through this information but to find the feedback you need to make your next move. With the product development process being cyclical, saving time by using our platform allows you to make important decisions regarding your next product quickly, and from an informed standpoint. Managing your data through the MESH01 platform allows you to work efficiently as well, which ultimately helps you bring your next product to market while you're still hot.


See how the world’s top brands are using product testing to go to market with confidence. Download our White Paper and find out how effective and efficient Pre-Launch Product Testing is.