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  • 🥗 Product Testing 101: Building Products That Sell

🥗 Product Testing 101: Building Products That Sell

Hey there,

Welcome to another bite to chew on.

When it comes to product testing, a ton of questions swirl around in your head that can be overwhelming.

How do you think of new products?

What’s the best way to test those new products?

What is all of this going to cost me?

Before we answer those…

We’re building a resource library on our new site, but before that’s completed, here’s access to some we’ve made so far!

We know it can be intimidating and confusing, so that’s why we're going to answer how we’ve addressed these questions at Obvi and how we would do things if we didn’t have the resources we do now.

Let’s get into it.

Products Begin at Conception

So number one, what should you even conceptualize? 

If you're starting a brand, you have to obviously find a hole in the market. 

Say you have passion in something.

Let's take our example at Obvi for supplements.

Our inner monologue was, “All right, we like supplements and we’re familiar with the business. Let’s start our own instead of working for other people.”

There's a supplement for everything these days... 

How could we change one to make it better, more interesting or intriguing, etc.

We landed on collagen. We said, “Okay, collagen is 90% unflavored. So that means that flavored collagen only has a 10% market share. Can we do a better job at that?”

You have to ask that question. What can you do better?

Going a step further, you have to truly believe that you’re the answer.

We had about eight years of experience in supplements at that point. 

We knew with our branding and technical expertise, we could do a good job on our own.

You’ve seen how that has worked out so far.

If You Don’t Ask, You Won’t Know

So that's part one, finding the hole and understanding where you could capitalize on it. 

The second part of product testing comes from when you've already launched your brand or company, and you're thinking of what new products to come up with. 

We’re big believers in not using your intuition for product ideas.

Use your customers. 

If you're thinking of renovating, testing or trying a new product, simply ask your customers.

We've said this so many times, and we’ll keep on saying it, but send a survey out and ask your customers what they want to see.

Create a drop down or an open ended question, and then drill down further to get a top 3 list of prospects.

Then, go out there and actually try and make them.

Our Answers at Obvi

Our top three answers when we were first looking at new product ideas were:

  • Fat burners

  • Multivitamins

  • Apple cider vinegar gummies

We made all three. 

Burn, our fat burner was the quickest for us to formulate and make. 

It crushed on launch and continues to do extremely well because of the continuous community support.

Our multivitamin and apple cider vinegar gummies both have similar stories and are doing great.

All of that success came from simply asking our customers what they wanted.

How Could I Do That?

The next thing to consider is:

How do you know a new product is going to work just because someone wants it? 

That's not necessarily enough to drop the MOQ cash (we’ll talk about that later).

So here's what we suggest everyone do: 

You should have a running log of this anyway, so if you don’t, start now.

Every month, we fill our entire orders and run a pivot on the lifetime history of our customer base, sorting them by the total amount of money they've spent.

We take our top 25-50 customers, and say,

“We're coming out with a new product. We want to give it to you for free to test and give us feedback.”

These are people who have spent the most money with Obvi, of course they are going to want to try something new.

Real life, high-level and loyal customers giving us direct feedback.

We tell them to absolutely rip it apart, no need to be nice.

Include some sort of feedback survey or typeform directly in the package you send the sample in with a QR code or link to make the system as frictionless as possible.

We ask questions like:

  • What did they feel?

  • What have they changed?

  • Sweetness levels?

  • Does it match the claims?

Name a better way to get feedback than your customers? We’ll wait.

If you want to go even further down the rabbit hole with this, 

take this product testing phase feedback and start working on the ad creatives and marketing with their direct words to cut down on the time before launch.

We think it's better than a focus group.

When you're starting a business, no one can afford them. it's just not possible. 

Your customers are the most focused individuals who know your product, right? 

Use the resource you’ve created.

Guys, we just started… We don’t have that kind of loyal customer base, yet.

If that’s what you’re saying in your head right now, here’s another method you can use:

Non-customers can also be a source of feedback if you use your data correctly.

If you have emails for those who have come to your site, but not purchased anything:

Send out surveys, emails, even offers to join in on the product testing of your new product if you really need the numbers.

Feedback on what ISN’T working can be just as valuable as what is working.

Why didn't they make a purchase? What were they looking for that you didn’t have? What would have made their experience better? 

All questions that can help you improve or start this product testing loop over from the beginning.

If you don’t have a substantial customer base or enough customers/non-customers to pull data from, you need to focus on growing your business.

Read our LAST NEWSLETTER for more insight into growing your businesses and whether going paid or organic ad would be better for your brand!

Where to Go From There

That's truly our methodology. 

We take that customer feedback, and share it right straight to our manufacturer using Google Sheets. 

They take that feedback into account and make the next round of samples. 

At that point, we want to make sure we have speed and efficiency, so we usually test the next round of samples through our HQ and office. 

If it meets what everyone has said, we’ll make a run of it. 

No matter how big we get, we'll still order some things in small qualities to test.

Monetary investment is really industry specific, so this will vary for you.

To give you some idea of what this all might cost, for Obvi, our MOQ is 500 units. 

Our average unit cost is $10, so the bare minimum cost to go and see if something's going to work will be around $5,000. 

A fact you’ll have to accept is: some things just don’t work…

We honestly still have products from two years ago that are probably about to expire. 

We’re still testing products from a year ago, thinking of different angles, etc.

Tool of the Week

When we noticed our email and SMS strategies were out of sync, we decided to make a change.

We unified everything with Sendlane, streamlining how we interact across channels.

Here’s what happened after the switch:

- We began tailoring messages based on what we learned about our customers' preferred channels.

- Our emails shifted from generic blasts to targeted, relevant content.

- SMS became more than just promotions; it turned into a strategic follow-up tool based on user actions.

The result?

No more data delays or guessing games. We see who does what, and why, and adjust in real time.

If you're looking to sync up your communication channels effectively, Sendlane is 100% the way to go.

Learn how to use your most important intent signal with Ron’s presentation with Jimmy Kim, Founder and CIO of Sendlane, from the Whalies:

Here’s some upcoming events we’re hosting to get firsthand experience how others have tested their products:

Here’s our latest podcast episode:

Thanks for Reading Along

Beyond that, there's not much else. 

Product testing should start at the customer because that's the end consumer. 

If you start something where it's supposed to end up, you're probably going to have the highest affinity of it working.

Keep in mind that product testing isn’t a cut and dry equation, it’s more like a theory.

Sometimes a new product will crush, and sometimes you’ll still have samples of a product two years later…

Take your time, find your market gap, and use your customers to make testing products as efficient as you can.

All the best,

Ron & Ash