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Case Study: In-Home Testing Highlights Operational Expertise

Central Location Testing (CLT) and In-Home Use Tests (IHUT) are two research methodologies that require plenty of advance planning and preparation prior to execution in order to anticipate potential issues and ensure project success. The MMR Research Operations Team is a highly experienced group of senior professionals with a hands-on, detailed oriented project management style. We understand how to avoid mistakes that can be made with these kinds of use tests, such as recruiting sources, labeling and shipping, or data entry. Our team is responsible for attending to all the details, thinking as both researcher and respondent, and working with our clients to keep them updated throughout the entire process.

Business Context / Question

Recently, a national consumer products client wanted to introduce a new line of children’s vitamins, but wasn’t sure if all three planned varieties would perform satisfactorily. In particular, the client wanted to evaluate the overall likeability, product attribute ratings, comparability and purchase intent of the three new products being planned for launch. This was an ideal question for in-home testing.


As with all our projects, MMR Research proactively planned and implemented project protocols to ensure seamless execution. We created a traditional in-home product test for Moms with children age 4-12 years. Respondents were recruited via a national online sample provider, and each evaluated one of the three vitamin products. Test products were shipped to MMR Research for labeling, packing and shipping to the IHUT respondents. For three days, the Respondents gave one vitamin each day to their children, then completed an online survey evaluating the children’s reactions to the new vitamins.

Many times in home use tests, once the packaging is removed from products, they are very difficult to distinguish between the options. The MMR Research Operations team carefully controls test products, keeping everything separated and in secure locations. Random, unique codes are assigned to each product so only MMR Research staff know which product code belongs to a brand.

Once all the products have been sorted and assigned codes, trained, supervised staff carefully pack and prepare products to ship to respondents. Detailed instructions are included in these shipments, which include reference to the product code as a triple quality assurance check.

Actionable Results

The client was pleasantly surprised that all three products received similar evaluations in terms of overall performance, likeability, and attribute ratings. Additionally, all three varieties met or exceeded Consumer Product Goods industry norms for the all-important “purchase intent” ratings.

As a result of the IHUT, several key opportunities for product improvement were recommended. More importantly, this approach allowed the client to feel confident in its national product launch, knowing that none of the planned varieties would be likely to fail. And, in fact, all three were successfully launched into the USA market.


IHUTs are a great way to capture in-the-moment feedback from consumers because they allow consumers to use a product or service in its natural setting or environment. They also let respondents use a product/service over a period of time where additional feedback can be collected. Making sure that the respondent understands the purpose of the research, their role and expectations prior to starting the test, expediting the packing and shipping of the test products, handling respondent questions/concerns, and ensuring these use tests are all conducted at highly competitive costs are some of the areas in which MMR Research excels, and why our clients continue to honor us with repeat business.

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