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!