How startups test their market

Companies have products tested without contact

Brand manufacturers and retailers can have their new products tested via the Utry.me platform - contactless and corona-compliant. The start-up's business is booming.

André Moll likes to describe his start-up Utry.me, founded in 2018, as a “digital Haßloch”. He is referring to a municipality in Rhineland-Palatinate where manufacturers test new products with the Society for Consumer Research before they hit supermarkets nationwide. According to its founder and CEO, the online counterpart is the world's first tasting market without prices and has been used by consumers and the branded goods industry in particular since the corona pandemic.

Test branded products that actually interest you

The motto of the young Munich company: "Pull instead of push, community instead of subscription". That means: Instead of the previous concepts that offer “surprise packages” (push) as a subscription, Utry.me users order branded products that actually interest them. “With our model there is no wastage for the manufacturer. The products reach customers who also want to test them, ”explains Moll.

On offer: food, beverages, cosmetics, food supplements, etc. For a service and delivery fee of 24.90 euros, users can put together a package with a significantly higher merchandise value, test the products in peace and express their opinion. "The price is of secondary importance later, if the product is convincing," replies Moll when asked why the price remains invisible. The UVPs are stored in the ordering process so that the maximum package value is always comparable.

"The price is of secondary importance later if the product is convincing."

Started two years ago, the online shop experienced a real boom during the pandemic months. Utry.me recorded a growth of more than 100 percent compared to the beginning of the year; the number of registered users grew from 13,000 in January to more than 30,000 at the end of July. The number of manufacturers offering their new products for testing on the platform increased from 150 to more than 200. Not only the branded goods industry, but also Edeka and the drugstore chain dm are already testing their own brand products via Utry.me.

Testing products in times of Corona

The reasons for the success? The start-up is currently closing gaps in demand. The test shop offers consumers inspiration and variety as well as manufacturers and retailers the opportunity to partially replace broken down marketing and market research tools. “The crisis is making it extremely difficult for new foods and luxury products to find their way into the markets. Trade fairs as an important source of inspiration have been canceled, promotions in the supermarkets have been dropped in order to avoid direct social contact, ”explains Moll. Significantly more potential users also had time to frolic on the Internet in peace and look out for news.


Social marketing instead of teleshopping

In order to take advantage of the momentum, Moll and his team have been regularly organizing a social media version of good old teleshopping since April. Together with manufacturers and pleasure-loving influencers, he presents new products in Instagram live shows. The products presented go online at Utry.me at the same time and can be ordered to your home as a test, once per household. Between 5,000 and 10,000 Instagram users tune in on average. A TV spot with more than 30 million gross recipients has also been running since July. The start-up intends to use this to increase its level of national awareness.

Utry.me offers various market research options for the participating manufacturers. By means of a multi-level query, in addition to future purchase intentions and price acceptance for a product, target groups and trends can also be analyzed, for example broken down into a specific product group or region. The optimization of the products is also to be promoted through user surveys. The questionnaires are sent digitally and have a response rate of up to 25 percent. "The direct purchase coupled with quantitative and qualitative consumer research convinced us of the method," says Verpoorten.

Point of sale influences the consumer

Berlin Organics has also identified advantages for addressing target groups. CEO Klaas Koolman suspects an advantage of digital market research, because “the selection of the point of sale already results in a pre-selection of the population to be found and thus a distortion. In addition, it can be assumed that respondents at the point of sale may answer differently than they might do at home in front of the computer screen ”.

The target group is limited to online-savvy Utry.me customers, says Dennis Lange, Head of Marketing at Bio-Zentrale, on the other hand. However, the platform is a good first indicator of whether a product is arriving and successfully triggering an initial purchase impulse. “Our two new veggie burgers in the Classic and Smoky BBQ flavors were particularly well received by Utry.me customers and were therefore sold out quickly. These positive results let us now hope for positive sales in the food retail sector, ”says Marketing Manager Dennis Lange.

According to the company, it has received interesting results on which customers are interested in the products. These are valuable for the target group definition of the individual products, marketing and sales communication.