New Product Concept Testing

There were many outcomes in the dental and healthcare field as a result of the 2020 Covid-19 Pandemic. Many offices had to close their doors for a while or they had to reduce operating hours. Many dental professionals had to figure out ways to perform dental treatments while keeping patients’ health in mind. They also had to adhere to federal and state regulations regarding personal protective gear (PPE). With the cost of PPE skyrocketing, a manufacturer was interested in exploring the idea of a low-cost approach to reducing aerosols through an evacuator used chair-side in the mouth.

Like all new inventions, the manufacturer has some key questions:

  • What are customer perceptions of the concept?
  • Would they consider purchasing over other alternatives?
  • What would they be willing to pay?

The New Product Development team commissioned Dental Research Specialists to assist with the concept test. Based on the range of questions to be answered, the team designed and conducted a two-phase concept test.

Phase 1- Online Survey

The Dental Research Specialists team developed an online survey that was a combination of scaled and open-ended questions. The survey examined concerns regarding aerosols in the dental office setting, what is important to them with aerosol reduction products, and the products that they were currently using. During the survey, a concept was presented to participants via a combination of a video and text. The participants then evaluated the concept on a wide range of attributes as well as provided input on a reasonable price for the product. While the concept had yielded both advantages and disadvantages in Phase 1, the team decided to move forward with development.

Phase 2- Field Evaluation

The product development team commissioned Dental Research Specialists to manage the product field evaluation. A survey was developed that was comparable to the concept test–it examined a wide range of attributes to determine if the actual product use was different from perceptions made during the concept phase. Dental Research Specialists recruited participants and shipped the product to 50 dental practices for evaluation. The results of the field evaluation showed a decrease in several key areas. Areas that were potential concerns from Phase 1 materialized into actual concerns when using the product. The purchase intent also dropped in scoring from the concept test to the field evaluation.

Results of the Concept Test

Dental Research Specialists has conducted well over 200 field evaluations. While the overall product success is based on many variables, the purchase intent score generated during product evaluation has been a very good indicator of product performance success in the market. Based on experience with Purchase Intent scores from the concept test as well as the field evaluation, the recommendation from Dental Research Specialists was to reconsider launching the product. The team did move forward with the launch, and the acceptance in the market has been significantly lower than the team anticipated.

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