Testing Market Interest in a Simulated Environment

The Call

An industry leading durable goods manufacturer wanted to evaluate their method for collecting consumer feedback on products currently in development using a simulated purchase environment. The core research questions were centered around understanding if the consumer experience was a positive or negative one, and how that impacted brand perceptions and trust. The simulated purchase environment they used for testing was unique and was hypothesized to lead to negative consumer sentiment given the eventual disappointment that they couldn’t actually buy the not-yet-released product they encountered online. Working together with Catapult, a research program was designed to replicate the manufacturer’s online test environment within a survey tool to determine if their simulated test environment was eroding brand trust.

New Product Development

Our Response

Four purchase pathways were monadically tested and included a combination of a standard online checkout process or the simulated checkout where respondents were met with a notification that the product isn’t available yet. Two brands were used in the testing: the manufacturers flagship brand or a made-up brand. A series of diagnostic questions were administered, and the results were analyzed by comparing the different purchase pathways.

The Celebration

Our data showed that respondents greatly disliked the simulated test environment where it was revealed that the product they wanted to purchase was still in development. However, as strongly as they disliked the simulated process, none of the negative sentiment carried over to the brand itself. A series of recommendations were presented to the manufacturer to improve the simulated purchase experience. Our client is already implementing the changes to their process and looking forward to continuing their simulated testing environment in a more consumer-friendly way.

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