If you were to ask the average person what sensory testing is, the majority would look at you quizzically and respond that they do not know. However, if you were to ask a product developer they are likely to be able to tell you instantly, because they use this service all the time. As the name suggests sensory testing involves checking how consumers perceive products using their senses.
Types of Sensory Testing
There are several types of sensory testing. People interact with their surroundings mainly using the senses of touch, smell, sight, hearing and taste. There are other senses, but these are the main ones.
Any firm that wants to market a product successfully needs to be aware of this and develop products that please the senses of consumers.
Testing helps firms to understand what pleases consumers and what turns them off. This helps them to produce products that appeal to people on every possible level. The aim is to make a product almost irresistible, and pleasing every sense goes a long way to doing exactly that.
Sensory Testing for Food and Household Products
Clearly, this type of testing is more important and relevant for certain kinds of products. Consumers who are buying food are very strongly guided by their sensory experience. If they have a good sensory experience of a product, they will want to buy it again, if they have a bad one they will leave it on the shelf. An ice cream that has a smooth, silky texture and melts in the mouth will sell much better than one with a powdery or crystalline texture that melts in the bowl.
The same is true of beauty or household products. No one wants to apply a product to their skin that smells like wet socks. Even if that product makes their wrinkles vanish instantly they will not buy it and use it if it does not smell right. The same is true of household products they have to smell right, as well as be easy to use and effective.
Sensory testing takes time and requires a range of experiments using specialist equipment. For this reason most firms, wisely, leave this testing up to specialist consumer testing firms.