Boots Volunteer Panel – Product testing

What is the Boots Volunteer Panel?

A testing panel for Boots’ own brand products, the idea behind it is to help the company test and develop their products before they go on sale. The safety of the products is assessed before they are sent to panellists.

What type of products are available to test?

The products comprise of skin care, cosmetics, sun care and toiletries. It is worth noting that the trials include Soltan, Soap & Glory, Botanics and Champneys products as they are manufactured by Boots. So far, I have taken part in trials for eyeliner, foundation, eye pads and night cream amongst many other products.

What does product testing for the Boots Volunteer Panel involve?

You will be asked to use the product in place of your usual one, usually for a set time period. The products arrive in plain packaging, so panellists are able to form an unbiased opinion on them whilst taking part in the trial. After a period of 6 months Boots will divulge the details of the product by email, if requested.

How will I know when products are available to test?

The company will email questionnaires to the panellists who fit the criteria for the trial. These questionnaires serve to screen out unsuitable candidates and can sometimes be a bit lengthy. The trials are allocated on a first come first served basis, so it pays to be quick. Boots will email successful panellists and the products arrive in the post a few days later.

Is it worth it?

Yes. It is nice to try a new product out and have the chance to give feedback in the product development stage. Don’t expect a large quantity of items though, as trials are not very frequent. I usually receive 2-3 products a year.

How do I join?

Apply to join here. At the time of writing, registration is closed – it is, however, worth checking the page periodically.

Anything else I need to know?

The company also recruits people to partake in sessions at their evaluation centre in Nottingham. These trials are worth joining if you live nearby as Boots pay up to £125 per session. Further information can be found here.

Boots also have a review panel for other branded products that are sold in Boots. See my write up here.

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Alba Science – Product Testing

Alba Science is a contract research organisation that designs and conducts safety and efficacy tests of products on the consumer market. The products that are sent to the home user panel have been safety tested – the aim is to gather consumer opinions and feedback to support marketing claims.

Alba Science Product Testing
Alba Science Product Testing

What type of products are available to test?

Alba Science specialises in cosmetics and toiletry products. Most of the products arrive in plain packaging and many of them are already on the market.

What does product testing for Alba Science involve?

Panellists need to read the trial information leaflet and test the product according to the instructions. After the product has been trialled, there is a follow-up questionnaire which usually takes about 3 minutes to complete. The questionnaires consist of multiple choice questions and there is an opportunity to write feedback in your own words at the end.

How will I know when products are available to test?

The Company emails home testers a description of the trial and a questionnaire to fill in, to apply for the trial. Trials are also posted on the website. The company notifies successful candidates by email and the products arrive by post a couple of days later.

Is it worth it?

Yes. I have had an amazing variety of products to try from Alba Science. They have ranged from shampoos to eyeshadow and the trials are plentiful. I have saved a considerable amount of money by taking part in the trials as I have not needed to buy as many toiletries and cosmetics as I normally would.

How do I join?

Panellists must be aged between 18-70 years and be in general good health. There is a short questionnaire to apply on the Alba Science website. Click here.

If you are interested in product testing – check out my overview of a variety of companies here.

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Clicks Research – Product Testing

What type of products are available to test?

The trials are mainly of cosmetic products, which are usually manufactured by premium brands. Most of the products either arrive in plain packaging or with defaced labels so the testers are able to form an unbiased opinion on the product being trialled. I have received some lovely as well as unusual beauty products from Clicks Research over the years, including hair serums, nail treatments and body wraps.

Clicks Research Product Tests
Clicks Research Product Tests

What does product testing for Clicks Research involve?

You will need to test the product according to instructions and fill out a couple of short questionnaires relating to the trial. It is important to make a note of the day you receive the product. This is because the Company asks for this information when you complete the first questionnaire. It is also worth keeping a note in your diary as to when the next part of the questionnaire is due as Clicks Research does not email panellists in advance.

How will I know when products are available to test?

When a new product becomes available, Clicks Research emails panellists trial information and a short questionnaire to apply for the trial. These trials fill up incredibly quickly and you need to respond within minutes to secure a place. Therefore, it is a good idea to use an email address that you check regularly.

Is it worth it?

Definitely! The products are high quality and the questionnaires are short, most take 2-3 minutes to complete and you get to keep the products afterwards. There are also opportunities to complete surveys and earn points which can be exchanged for cash.

How do I join?

Click here. There is a lengthy profile questionnaire when you join. This enables the Company to tailor trials according to your skin, hair and body types as well as your demographic profile. It is worth completing and keeping it updated in order to receive more trial invites.

If you are keen to learn about product testing – check out my overview of a few different product testing companies here.

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The Insiders – Product Testing

What is The Insiders?

The Insiders is an influencer marketing network that relies on ‘word of mouth’ to review and promote products.

What type of products are available to test?

The products vary a lot, and they can be almost anything from a mobile phone to a case of soft drinks. Previous campaigns have featured brands including HP, Neutrogena, Samsung, Gillette, and Purina amongst many others.

The Insiders Product Campaign
The Insiders Product Campaign

What does product testing for The Insiders involve?

The products need to be tested according to instructions provided. After a few days the company will send an email detailing the tasks that need to be completed. These tasks can include writing reviews, posting on social media and leaving comments on the website. Finally there is an ‘end survey’ to fill in.

How will I know when products are available to test?

The Insiders emails panellists when a new campaign becomes available. Current trials are also listed in the ‘Campaigns’ section of the website. When you join a new trial there is a rather lengthy questionnaire to complete. This can be a bit annoying as many of the questions have already been answered in your profile when you register.

If you are selected, you will receive an email and your product will be in the post shortly afterwards.

Is it worth it?

Overall, yes. The trials can be fun to complete and don’t take up too much time. The Insiders also run competitions within their campaigns and panellists are eligible to receive rewards for best social media posts or best reviews.

Some of the more expensive products have to be paid for or returned to The Insiders. Personally, I don’t take part in these trials as in my view the incentive to do the trials is getting a free product.

How do I join?

Register here. After entering your personal details, there is an option to link your Facebook account followed by three short questionnaires about your demographics and online/offline activities.

Also, check out my overview on product testing companies here.


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Senses-club – Paid surveys & Product Testing

What is Senses-club?

Senses-club is a French company that focuses on fragrances in household products and toiletries. Its aim is to gather consumer opinions on new product concepts and ingredients. Whilst it is primarily a survey company, there are frequent product trials.

Senses-club Product Testing
Senses-club Product Testing

What are the surveys like?

The surveys consist mostly of questions about your opinion on fragrances. They used to be very lengthy and tedious but have improved considerably in the last couple of years and are rewarded quite generously with Amazon or Debenhams vouchers. Nowadays they take around 5-6 minutes to complete. There are also screening questionnaires for product tests.

What type of products are available to test?

The trials consist of testing laundry and cleaning products, as well as toiletries – these can range from shampoos to perfumes. Pretty much anything that is fragranced and used in the home is fair game with this company! In the past, I have trialled quite a few fabric conditioners and floor cleaners. The products arrive in plain, unbranded packaging.

What does product testing for Senses-club involve?

The products take a little while to arrive as they are posted from France. The Company normally ask panellists to test the product a minimum number of times and to fill in a questionnaire after the trial is complete.

How will I know when products are available to test?

Senses-club emails panellists a short product trial recruitment questionnaire. There are no points given for completing it but if you are recruited for the trial you will earn points towards an Amazon or Debenhams voucher and receive a free product to test.

Is it worth it?

Yes, it is a great way to discover some new fragrances and it can be fun to participate. Also there are often extra campaigns which Senses-club invite panellists to join. Recently, for example,  I answered a few questions about our washing machine use and received two £50 payments from them for doing so. My only criticism of this company is that they seem to rely on machine translations to communicate so the emails and trial instructions are not always clear.

How do I join?

Potential panellists must be female and between the ages of 18-65. If you are lucky enough to fit this criteria, apply here. Check out my overview of other product testing companies here.

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Amazon Vine – Product Testing

Does Amazon have a review panel?

Yes it does, its name is ‘Amazon Vine’ and whilst I am not yet a member of it, I have been writing product reviews on their site for the last few years and have now reached a ranking below 10.000. This might not sound very impressive, but most users start off with a ranking in the millions.

How do I join Amazon Vine?

Membership is by invitation only. The only way to get into Amazon Vine is to write quality reviews, climb the rankings and wait for an invitation. To climb these rankings, the aim is to receive as many helpful votes as possible. The key to getting these ’helpful’ votes is to write clear, detailed reviews that assist the consumer in making an informed choice as to whether the product is suitable for their needs or not.

So, the idea is to write a review that describes the product based on your experience with it. For example, if you have bought a photograph album and after slotting in a few photos the pages start falling out, explain that clearly in your review, rather than just writing ‘rubbish product’. This might seem obvious but, time and time again, I see reviews that state ‘worked for me’ or ‘arrived late’. Whilst this information might be true, it is not helpful for a potential customer making a purchasing decision.

Another tip is to include photographs in your review. Often the colours in the stock photographs can be a bit off. Sometimes, the seller has been a bit sneaky and made the product look better than it actually is. Therefore, it can be very helpful to post a picture of what the product really looks like.

Anything else that I need to know?

You may have heard that there are companies that offer free or heavily discounted products in return for reviews. However, these are best avoided as Amazon really doesn’t like this practice. If you are caught, they will wipe all of your reviews and you will need to start all over again. The problem with these companies is that they expect a 5 star review which states that their products are wonderful, which is not always a genuine description! They also resort to some underhand tactics and ask reviewers to buy the products on Amazon and then refund via PayPal so that the review appears on the site as a ‘verified purchase’.

Similarly, there was an infamous incident a few years ago where Amazon clamped down on ‘author circles’. These (mostly) self-published authors were writing overly gushing reviews on each other’s books as well as marking each other’s reviews as ‘helpful’ in order to increase their rankings on the site, and therefore, their sales. One day these ‘authors’ woke up to find all their reviews deleted.

Any product in the Amazon catalogue can be reviewed  – even if you have not purchased it from their website. It is, however, known that reviewing Amazon ‘verified purchases’ carries much more weight in terms of reaching a higher ranking.

Why not give it a try when you have a spare moment? Also, if you are interested in writing reviews in exchange for free products – check out my overview of a few different product testing companies here.


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