What Types Of Products Are Available For Testing?

Product testing, whether in Ireland or anywhere else, is an important method used by companies to determine customer reaction to their products and to help them adapt in a competitive market. Depending on whether you fit a company's criteria for testing a specific type of product, a variety of consumables can be tested - from personal hygiene products and pharmaceuticals to vitamin supplements and foodstuffs.

Products to be tested

People from all ages and social backgrounds are asked to test products and to record their results through online survey websites, group panels or trials related to a particular brand or product type.

Generally, what kind of company you decide to join will determine what type of products you will be testing, but your feedback will be invaluable nonetheless in helping manufacturers improve their products for consumers.

Product Testing with Online Survey Groups

There are a number of different product testing companies based in Ireland that are always on the lookout for new people. These include online survey companies; Ipsos MORI, Toluna and Irish Opinions. Companies find product testing through online surveys useful in order to obtain important information to help gauge public opinion and understand general market conditions. As with their online surveys, these organisations usually offer rewards for your opinions such as money or gift vouchers and many even allow you to keep their products after the testing process has finished.

Types of Products Tested with Online Survey Companies

There are many different types of product that need to be tested ranging from foodstuffs to household cleaning and personal care products - whatever brands or products you use in everyday life. Consider your daily deodorant, or the cereal you eat, both were most likely first tested by someone like you before being sold to the general public. Consumable products are offered for testing on a regular basis and this type of test is generally the most common conducted through online survey companies.

How to Join an Online Product Testing Group

One of the most common ways in which people start out testing products is by joining an online survey panel. After you have registered with a company's website, you will be asked a series of questions to determine which demographic you fit into regarding your age, gender, product preferences and so on. This will allow the company to send you particular products that are suited to your personal and general requirements and will result in more accurate data being presented. Normally, you will be selected for product tests during the completion of specific surveys, but please note that not all surveys (indeed only a small proportion of those you complete initially) will lead to a test. However, over time, active members should find that more will come their way.

If and when you do happen to be selected, the products in question will be sent to you together with some instructions and you will begin the testing phase. You will need to carefully follow these instructions in order to obtain the best results. Depending on the exact nature of the product - whether it involves personal hygiene, household care or cosmetic treatments - you will most likely be required to test it on a daily basis within your own home and then record your results before filling out a further online questionnaire. You will often be allowed to keep the products when the test is complete.

Product Testing through Panels and Focus Groups

Another type of product test relates to group panels and focus groups where volunteer testers share their results through online forums or meet at social events with family members, friends and acquaintances who might want to get involved too. A number of panels and focus groups are based in Ireland such as the Buyers Club and Clicks Research. As with online survey companies, these organisations often allow you to keep the products you test, or even offer monetary rewards and vouchers for all your hard work.

Types of Products Tested through Panel and Focus Groups

Group tests and product trials often focus on more specific products (e.g. cosmetics, sun protection and vitamin supplements) which are usually aimed directly at women of different ages. Instead of the more general method of testing everyday products through online surveys, testing products in a more controlled group environment helps the company to cater for the specific needs of a particular demographic of people. This ensures the product appeals to this specific group, and helps maximise its performance and profitability on the market when released to the general public.

Product testing make-up

Leading international companies based in Ireland such as the Brand Institute focus on surveys specifically related to healthcare field (i.e. new medicines and supplements) whereas Clicks Research offer panels for testing new ready made meals, slimming and anti-ageing products. These panels allow manufacturers to ensure that their products maintain the highest quality and safety standards.

How to Get Involved with Panel and Focus Group Tests

If you want to join a product testing panel or focus group, then you usually need to apply on their website in a similar way to online survey groups. Once you have been accepted, and have filled out a form to determine into which demographic you fit, you will be sent some appropriate products for testing.You will chart your initial reactions towards the product through to your final views by answering specific questions and expanding on your findings in detail as and when required. Social events organised by some of these companies allow all kinds of people to meet in person, share their views and compare test results at their specially organised meetings, however, other panels simply operate online.

Beware of Online Scam Product Testing Companies

While most product testing firms are legitimate businesses, there are some online companies that try to take advantage of unsuspecting people. Unlike reputable companies, these websites usually require payment in order to join and state that they offer higher monetary rewards or more expensive products to test such as the latest I-Pad, laptop or TV. As electronics and white goods manufacturers generally employ expert testers to work directly in the field the development, it is highly unlikely that home product tests of this type will ever be genuinely available.

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It's therefore always best to conduct some research and check a company's credentials on forums and special websites designed to alert people to scam websites. If there are a lot of complaints related to the company with a large number of people warning against joining, then it's probably much safer to find a more established and respected company. Another tip is to always read the terms and conditions on a website to ensure that there are no unfair hidden clauses that could lose you money in the long term.

The Advantages of Becoming a Product Tester

Whether you decide to register with an online survey company or a local panel/focus group based in Ireland, there are a number of ways you can get involved in product testing. There are also many associated benefits. Companies need and appreciate your participation and not only will you be rewarded for your efforts, you will also have the satisfaction of knowing you have made a difference. Indeed, the more experienced you become, the more tests you will be asked to undertake and the more money you will be likely to save. In addition, you could also find yourself socialising with many like-minded people.