Attention Walmart shoppers, the world’s largest retailer is giving any small business, entrepreneur or individual inventor the opportunity to get their product on store shelves nationwide and virtual shelf space through Walmart.com with their first–ever online contest called “Get on the Shelf”.
For years, Walmart has sought out new products for their store shelves by putting vendors through a merchandise selection process at their headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., and the vendors that score a deal with Walmart get a strict one hour or less to pitch their products and convince Walmart buyers why they should stock and sell them.
However, the retail giant is changing their tactics as they are letting the public submit their ideas and essentially pick the top three products the company will sell throughout it’s stores.
“For a long time, the ability to get a product into a retail store was at the sole discretion of the store buyer,” said Venky Harinarayan, senior vice president of Walmart’s global e–commerce unit.
“Today we are removing these barriers by giving anyone the chance to launch their product at Walmart and reach millions of shoppers nationwide,” he said.
Contestants can enter any product category at the GetOnTheShelf.com website accompanied by a video with more details about the product and why it should be sold on Walmart store shelves.
After submitting your entry, contestants will want to spread the word through social network outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and others in order tell as many people as possible about their product.
Product submissions will go through two rounds of public voting online until the top three winners are selected and will get an opportunity to sell on Walmart.com along with enjoying free marketing support.
The Grand Prize winner will automatically get valuable shelf space in select Walmart stores around the country and be featured on the site’s home page.
“At the end of the day, we’re hoping to uncover products that we haven’t been looking at and give consumers a voice about what Walmart carries,” said Chris Bolte, voice president of @WalmartLabs.
Walmart is hoping to stock the products on store shelves quickly, but it all depends on whether the contest winners are ready or if they need help with production and distribution in order to meet Walmart’s quantity requirement.
Walmart has not decided whether the contest will run again because it will depend on how successful it will be this year.
However, it did begin quietly in early December and already has over 40 entries including a new hot sauce, cube game, hair accessory, iPad pillow and paw puffs for dogs from individuals across the country.
Entries into the contest will be accepted until February 22, 2012 and the first round voting will begin starting March 7 through April 4 to select 10 finalists.
The second round of voting will start April 11 and the top three winners will be notified by April 24.
The contest is only open to participants in the United States and Walmart employees are not eligible for the contest.
Walmart has 20 stores located throughout the Los Angeles area including locations at 4101 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles, CA., 8500 Washington Blvd., Pico Rivera, CA., 19503 Normandie Ave., Torrance, CA., and 7250 Carson Blvd., Long Beach, CA and sells everything from toys, electronics, clothing, food and automobile supplies.
And just last December, Walmart.com tested out pop–up stores in two Southern California at The Westfield Topanga Mall located in Canoga Park in the heart of the San Fernando Valley and in a downtown San Diego store in order to give customers easier access to the range of products on Walmart.com.
There is no word on whether the company will open pop–up stores again this year in Southern California or elsewhere.
However, with only 29 days left until the “Get on the Shelf” contest closes, future inventors will want to get your entries in as soon as possible because you could be the next George Forman for Walmart.