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What is the “product placement”? A case study

The product “placement” is a fundamental moment of a home product test: the products to be tested are delivered to the respondent’s home, accompanied by adequate instructions regarding the order in which products have to be tested and a questionnaire to be completed after each usage.

Home placement is used when there are several products of the same type to be tested and compared: in this case, it is convenient to deliver all the products to the home of the respondents who were recruited for the test. The “placed” products – that is, the products delivered to respondent’s home – are always all of the same type because the test implies a comparison, and they can be either de-branded (i.e., without brand label and in anonymous packaging) or branded.

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“Placement” methods

Product placement can be carried out in different ways:

  • A parcel containing the products can be delivered to respondents’ homes: in this case respondents receive the different products, test them in the required order and for the required time (for example, one week for each product), complete the online questionnaire after testing each product. Sometimes, to collect the data, you may have telephone interviews instead of online self-completed questionnaires.
  • The products can be delivered to respondents’ homes by an interviewer who delivers the product, then returns for the post-use interview and delivery of any second product. The procedure is repeated for all the products to be tested. In some cases, it is possible that the interviewer deals exclusively with the placement of the product, with the respondent who self-completes the online questionnaire.

Product placement can also take place at a central location: in this case, respondents are required to visit the central location, pick up the product, test it for the required time, self-complete the online questionnaire at the end of each test. Of course, this methodology is recommended when there are few products to be tested.

Different methods for the same methodology

These different methods do not affect the methodology: it is always a home usage test. But when is one method better than the other?

The interviewer is used when for some reason an administered interview is preferred to a self-completed questionnaire. Furthermore, the placement of the products through the interviewer with respect to the delivery of the products by courier guarantees that the respondent tests the products in the right order, without errors or confusions that could be possible when the products to be tested and compared are more than two or three.