In-Home-Use-Testing 101

An in-home-use-test (IHUT) consists of a company testing its product/services in a consumer’s environment, such as in his or her car, office, or household. The IHUT concept differs from focus groups, as IHUTs promote a more natural testing environment as opposed to a focus group, which takes place in an artificial test environment.

What is an In-Home-Use-Test?

How common are these tests?

IHUTs are a typical practice for organizations who market products and services to specific consumer bases. The IHUT methodology allows companies to understand consumer reactions and real-time feedback for new product lines, product changes, or products that are already on the market. In-home testing can be utilized at any point during the product launch cycle, but ideally, it is primarily used shortly before products or services are ready for launch to the mass market. 

What is the benefit of conducting an IHUT?

IHUTs provide companies with the ability to measure customer experience (CX) without all the flash of the in-store experience interrupting the consumer’s interaction with a product or service. Testers are able to review the various offerings of a product or service and provide feedback in their own environment- ultimately reducing the effects and risks of extraneous variables, while promoting honest insights. In-home testing also shows the entire customer interaction with a product or service , which allows greater knowledge of what works and what needs to be changed prior to the product or service going live on the market.

Additionally, testing a product or service via survey methods isn’t always as effective or accurate at garnering feedback as an IHUT. In surveys, consumers typically are unable to fully conceptualize the benefits of the product through the answering of multiple questions. Therefore, respondents may say that they are “likely” to buy a product in a survey, but when it comes time, the sales data may show otherwise. As a result, in-home testing is a preferred method to use in this case, because when a consumer uses a product in a real-life scenario, he or she is able to better understand the product’s capabilities. While the costs of in-home sessions are greater than surveys, the value of the feedback received in IHUTs far outweighs this fact due to a company’s ability to further appreciate a user’s organic interaction with the product or service.

Do IHUTS only work for certain products or services?

All in all, many different companies and products can take advantage of the IHUT methodology. Companies should keep in mind that the product/service being tested should fit inside a house or the environment in which it’s tested , the product should also adhere to local shipping regulations and be ideally be valued under $1,000. 

Companies should also consider testing a product or service that consumers will interact with on a consistent basis. If it is a product or service that a consumer would only use a few times a year, IHUTS tend to be less applicable. For example, if a product is seasonal, such as a space heater, it should only be tested when use would be typical (wintertime in this case).

Lastly, the test item or service should be a something that a consumer would use organically. There is sometimes pressure on companies to make the user participate in multiple activities and milestones that most likely wouldn’t occur organically just to get feedback. However, this is ineffective at accurately conducting an IHUT can negate the purpose of the test. The product or service offered needs to be something that consumers will use on their own. 

How does My-Take help with IHUTS?

The hardest part of an IHUT, or any recontact study, is the retention of users. Since My-Take is set up with its all-in-one agile platform, we can manage everything involved in the IHUT process efficiently, unlike other providers who tend to outsource tasks. We take your study from start to finish, beginning with recruiting and planning to the final report, incentives, and follow up. Since the IHUT process is done within the My-Take system, our team has secure authority and control over all of the data and members of the insight community. We also remain flexible and have the ability to cater to any company’s needs.

Our system keeps members engaged and allows researchers to follow up quickly after an IHUT. We require a double-opt-in when recruiting, which leads us to higher response rates, since we verify our lines of communication. We can also launch multiple activities to test recruits prior to an IHUT to ensure sure members actively participate.

My-Take’s insight communities allow for moderated member interactions through user-generated discussions or comments, giving a sense of community to the study. We retain these recruits following the IHUT by continuing to engage them. For example, if an IHUT ends and questions remain, we have the ability to send communications to consumers in order to gain additional insights. Typically, users may feel alone in these types of tests, but an insight community allows them to reach out to others in the study, discuss and/or troubleshoot any concerns they may face. Our platform promotes friendly competition with our leaderboard feature that assigns points to users for activities they complete. The point system encourages member engagement, as well, through gamification of studies. The My-Take platform allows users to stay active in-between activities, boosting the relationships among testers. These organic interactions are invaluable.

Interested in conducting an IHUT study? At My-Take, our team of professional researchers delivers insights that drive smarter decision making and helps companies market more effectively. Contact us to find out how we can help your organization through customer-informed decision making.

Posted by Kait Hanerfeld