Collecting Feedback on Physical Products: Shipping Products to Contributors

At a Glance

This article addresses the process of shipping products to contributors for the purposes of testing. It also covers best practices and frequently asked questions related to this process.


Why send your products to contributors for testing?


Best Practices

Frequently Asked Questions


Why send your products to contributors for testing?

When collecting feedback on physical products, you may want to send the product to your contributors. Here are some scenarios in which sending products to test contributors makes sense:

      1. ONLY send your product to a test contributor IF it is already in-market, and do not depend upon that product being returned to you. You do not want your prototype to fall into the wrong hands, nor get shared on social media before your company is ready for this product to be on the market. You are welcome to send a return label/return-labeled package to enable your contributor to mail it back, but we recommend that you plan for the possible event of your product not being returned. 
      2. You may have a specific version of the product that you need all contributors to use and provide feedback on.
      3. If you want feedback on the experience of unboxing the product, you may want to send the contributors a new packaged version of the product.


NOTE: Use the following sets of instructions if you plan to engage the UserTesting Contributor Network and Custom Network. If, instead, Invite Network is the source of your contributors, you’ll be able to reach out to them directly for their shipping information.

  • Create and launch a test to pre-screen and gain consent from contributors to use their mailing address. As the last screener, be sure to include the following consent question:

If you are qualified for this study, you will be asked to share your full name and shipping address so that the customer can send you a product to test. Are you willing to share this information with the UserTesting customer? UserTesting customers agree to UserTesting’s Privacy Policy, which requires that they do not use your contact information for any purpose other than performing this test and analyzing the results from it. 

        • No, I do not consent to share my full name or shipping address [Reject]
        • Yes, I consent to share my full name and shipping address [Accept
        • I don’t know [Reject]
  • Create and launch a test that includes the screening question above. Doing so provides context that they are being considered for a test that requires shipping them a physical product, and includes tasks that ask the contributor for their full name and shipping address.

You can also include other tasks that confirm whether the contributor is a good fit for your test, informs the contributor that you will reach out via the Message Center with tracking details, and instructs them as to how to identify the corresponding test on their Dashboard. Create this test as a Short Test if you have that feature available on your account. (Remember: you may not use the contributor's name and shipping address beyond this specific test (read more about protecting a contributor’s personally identifiable information).

Ship the product to the appropriate contributors. Message them through the Message Center, letting them know as to when they can expect the package and how to identify the test on their Dashboard (in the Other requirements field).

  • Create and schedule a test that will be used for the actual study. You will want to specify those specific contributors and be sure to include a note in the Other requirements field that, for example, “You were pre-recruited for this test. Please do not start this test until you have received your shipment”


  • You, the customer—and not the contributor—bear the sole responsibility for the shipping and tracking of the product.*
  • UserTesting bears no liability for goods shipped by you that become lost or broken.
  • Contributors will not be charged any costs for shipping. Additionally, you should expect that contributors will keep the products shipped to them.
  • The UserTesting Support team has no ability to confirm that contributors received the products you ship to them. If you need help with shipping, reminder emails, or any type of coordination with contributors, you’ll need to engage with UserTesting’s Professional Services team

*We typically recommend that you pay for expedited or upgraded shipping so that there is not a large time gap between screening and the actual test (Less time to forget that the contributor agreed to participate). It also helps to set the expectations with the contributors upfront about when they should expect the item and when they need to complete the test by (we give them a date range to agree to during screening).

Best practices

The following recommendations will help ensure that the shipping process (and testing of the product) goes as smoothly as possible:

  • Plan for a one-month lead time for your first study so as to ensure ample time for the steps covered above.
  • Consider the required environment, if any, of the physical product and any prerequisites the contributor might need.
  • Recruit and send the product to 25–50% more contributors than you think you will need so as to ensure you get a sufficient number of contributors to complete the session. (Note that some contributors may not complete the session, even after having received the product.)
  • As outlined above, run one test to identify contributors and collect their shipping information. Then run follow-up tests with those contributors once you have shipped the product to them. See our training course on diary studies to learn about the process of including the same contributors in a series of tests.
  • Provide shipping or tracking information to the contributor(s) via the Message Center. Sharing such information helps to manage contributor expectations.
  • Plan the other facets of the shipping process. You’ll want to decide on... 
  • The number of products that need to be shipped for a given test.
  • The components of the shipping process: the carrier to be used, various shipping timeframes and related costs (e.g., Next Day, Two-Day, Ground), and the process for tracking the shipment.
  • Any reshipping process that might be needed should the product not arrive at the contributor’s location, or arrive damaged.

Frequently asked questions

Q. Can I have a contributor purchase the product?

A. No. Because doing so violates the UserTesting policy of not having contributors expose—aside from their shipping address—any personally identifiable information (e.g., credit card information). 


  • When selected for a test, the contributor expects to provide feedback on a product—not to be sold that product—and can get defensive if they feel they must pay in order to get compensated themselves.
  • Contributors may become anxious about having to spend their own money on a product they may not really want or haven’t adequately researched. 

The presence of such negative emotions can directly impact how a contributor behaves during the test and the authenticity (and quality) of the feedback he or she provides.

Q. Are there limitations on what products I can send, such as tobacco/alcohol/other adult products? 

A. What you send must be ethically done so, and follow the laws of the region you live in. We recommend checking in with your national, federal, regional, or state laws as your source for what can legally be mailed, and what cannot legally be mailed, as these likely vary region to region. 

Q. Who ships the products?

A. You—not UserTesting—will ship the product to the contributor. Neither the contributor nor UserTesting bears any responsibility for shipping the product or for lost or damaged items.

Q. Where can I ship?

A. You can ship to wherever your contributors are located, whether in the United States or internationally.

Q. Can I expect the product to be returned when the contributor finishes the test?

A. No. Expect the contributors to keep the products—including contributors who did not fully complete the study.

Q. Can I continue to communicate with the contributor now that I have their contact information?

A. No. Their contact information is only for your use as part of the specific test where you need to ship products. Please do not add the contributor to your marketing lists nor lists of people you reach out to directly for follow-on studies.

Q. Can UserTesting help me recruit contributors, or run the project for me? 

A. Yes. You can purchase a project from the UserTesting’s Professional Services team to manage recruitment and/or conduct your test.

Learn More

Need more information? Please read these related articles:

Want to learn more about this topic? Check out our University courses:

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