Product Testing, also called consumer testing or comparative testing, is a process of measuring the properties or performance of products. Product testing is any process by means of which a researcher measures a product's performance, safety, quality, and compliance with established standards. The primary element which constitutes an objective comparative test program is the extent to which the researchers can perform tests with independence from the manufacturers, suppliers, and marketers of the products.
Product testing seeks to ensure that consumers can understand what products will do for them and which products are the best values. Product testing is a strategy to increase consumer protection by checking the claims made during marketing strategies such as advertising, which by their nature are in the interest of the entity distributing the service and not necessarily in the interest of the consumer.
Product testing might be accomplished by a supplier such as Ipsos, manufacturer, an independent laboratory, a government agency, etc. Often an existing formal test method is used as a basis for testing. Other times engineers develop methods of test which are suited to the specific purpose. Comparative testing subjects several replicate samples of similar products to identical test conditions.
Product testing might have a variety of purposes, such as:
- Decide if a new product development program is on track: Demonstrate proof of concept
- Provide standard data for other R&D, engineering, and quality assurance functions
- Provide a technical means of comparison of several options
- Provide evidence in legal proceedings: product liability, product claims, etc.
- Help solve problems with current product
- Help identify potential cost savings in products.
Product tests can be used for:
- Subjecting products to stresses and dynamics expected in use
- Reproducing the types of damage to products found from consumer usage
- Controlling the uniformity of production of products or components.