Research and develop ideas, new products and services

Concept development and testing


Concept development and testing is a crucial stage in the new product or service development. It takes place early on in the process and helps to identify key perceptions, user needs and wants associated with the product or service.

What is concept development?

Concept development involves coming up with a detailed description of an idea, explained from the perspective of your customer. A concept typically highlights the best features of the proposed solutions in terms of:

  • convenience
  • usability
  • quality
  • functionality
  • performance
  • price
  • values
  • experience

When developing a new product or service, it is common to work with a large number of concepts and only develop the select few that show the most promise.

What is a new product concept?

A new product concept is basically a blueprint for your idea. When developing a new product concept, you should:

  • describe it from your customers' point of view
  • list features and benefits of your product that may appeal to customers
  • research and determine your target audience
  • conduct focus groups and thorough market research
  • consider resources required for designing, manufacturing and delivering the product

Once you develop your product concept, you should test it rigorously with your intended customers to determine its viability.

What is concept testing?

Concept testing is a process that helps you assess the customer reaction to your proposed product or service prior to introducing it to the market. It typically involves surveying potential users for their opinions on the concept. For example, you may want to ask them:

  • Are they interested in the product?
  • How much do they like the product?
  • How desirable do they find the product's features?
  • What features do they like most/least?
  • How well would the product compare to other brands or a similar product?
  • What price point would they find appealing?
  • What would they like to change about the product?

You may want to present several different concepts to determine which ones the customers find most desirable.

Benefits of concept development and testing

Developing a product concept may take time, but it is extremely important for the success of your project to define your concept clearly, test it rigorously and avoid making assumptions about the product's feasibility.

Concept testing will help you evaluate objectively which product ideas are likely to yield the best results. It may also help you to:

  • estimate the concept market potential
  • prove the viability of the concept
  • eliminate poor concepts
  • identify features that customers find most desirable
  • develop and further test your prototypes
  • segment your potential customer base
  • identify the appropriate price point and position for your product
  • estimate sales and potential return on investment

Find more guidance on the development process from Innovate NI and watch their short animation to ensure your idea is developed and tested thoroughly.

Remember that concept development and testing is just one of the steps involved in the new product or service development. For an overview of all the stages, see new product development process.