Next-gen Product Testing

Showstopping Product Testing With Showcase

Here’s a scenario. You’re walking out of the mall, recent purchase in hand, and you see someone with a clipboard walking straight towards you. Do you a) sprint towards your car and avoid conversation or b) happily spend 10 minutes talking about why you bought that product? Chances are you picked ‘a,’ as would most people. People who complete surveys are not typical, which makes it difficult for qualitative researchers to understand why consumers choose certain brands.

SHOW-Brainer Alternative

Dana came to Wharton with a mission to transform qualitative research. She began validating ideas from the ground up — seeing if students in Huntsman Hall would take a free granola bar off a table, in exchange for completing a survey. Showcase Insights soon evolved from this, in the form of a custom-built vending machine that provided product samples in exchange for survey completions. Users simply scanned a QR code, received their product of choice, and completed a survey via Showcase’s mobile app. The survey completion rates for the vending machines were an impressive 75%, compared to a blended industry average of 33%, as users were not eligible for sampling another product unless the survey was completed.

Unboxing How It Works

Users pick around 7 items from a menu of products, including snacks, beverages, and personal care items, filtered by their preferences. A box is curated, packed, and shipped directly to users’ homes, where they have a week to try the products and complete their surveys. Since the user screening process is already complete, each survey only takes around 3–5 minutes to complete. If a user completes their surveys, they are eligible to receive another box of new products. To date, Showcase has tested over 50 products with more than 25 brand partners. They seem to have found the treasured product-market fit as well, with 54% of their users claiming they’d be disappointed without Showcase.

Brands that Showcase has partnered with

Sounds Great, What’s In It For The Brands?

Showcase orchestrates the user recruitment, shipping, distribution, and data collection & analysis for brands. The team currently works directly with brands to craft the surveys, but moving forward, plans to productize the survey process.

Plans For The Future

Showcase Insights is early in pioneering this new method of conducting qualitative research. Their success with brand partners derives from their ability to orchestrate product shipping, recruit users, and analyze data seamlessly on their platform. Showcase’s marketing research services are needed now more than ever, as traditional in-person qualitative research methods have been disrupted due to COVID-19. And while there’s no direct competition right now, other players such as Sampler (and even the likes of Amazon) have entered the adjacent product sampling markets with similar models. As such, it should come as no surprise that Showcase is currently raising another round of funding, just 6 months after raising money from Dorm Room Fund and Rough Draft Ventures.



MBA Candidate @Wharton | Scout/Writer @ReadStartU | Contributer @TheStartup_

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David Klippel

MBA Candidate @Wharton | Scout/Writer @ReadStartU | Contributer @TheStartup_