Walmart Renews ‘Get on the Shelf’ Contest For Season Two

Discussion
Jul 02, 2013

America has talent and Walmart is looking to mine it for all the good press it can get and, who knows, perhaps even discover a blockbuster product in the process. The retailer’s Walmart Labs division announced on its official blog that its "Get on the Shelf" contest is back for a second year and even "bigger and better!"

According to the company, last year Walmart received more than 5,000 product submissions, and the grand prizewinner, Humankind Water, received more than a million votes. HumanKind’s stated mission is to "bring clean water to people in need." All of its net profits and public donations go to funding water projects in places of need throughout the world. HumanKind Water — along with runner-ups in last year’s contest, PlateTopper and SnapIt Eyeglass Repair Kit — are sold on Walmart.com and in select Walmart stores.

Interestingly, before Walmart Labs gets around to telling inventors what they need to do to enter, the blog focuses on the "scalable and robust" platform it uses to process entries and votes. Because of the technological leap, this year the Get on the Shelf program will be able to expand its lists of finalists and eventual winners. The company has used the same system to source new products in China and in the U.S. According to the blog, the Get on the Shelf platform was used to source a holiday greeting card design that turned out to be one of Walmart’s best sellers during the last holiday season.

Those interested in getting on Walmart.com or on Walmart’s store shelves can try their luck by uploading a short video to the site. Video submissions will be accepted until July 31. The first round of public voting will take place later this summer and the second voting round will begin early in the fall. Walmart will unveil its final group of products and inventors via webisodes.

The blog promises further details on the program coming soon.

Do you see the value of Get on the Shelf going beyond publicity for Walmart? Does Get on the Shelf point to retailers using new sourcing models for finding products in the future?

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14 Comments on "Walmart Renews ‘Get on the Shelf’ Contest For Season Two"


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Dr. Stephen Needel
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

Great way for a small product to get seen. Don’t know that it means the winner will actually be successful at the shelf.

Joan Treistman
Guest
8 years 10 months ago
Walmart’s Get on the Shelf initiative is in keeping with how companies are reaching out to customers for suggestions and reactions. Proprietary communities created online by brands allow shoppers to interact with each other and brand representatives. The intent is to create an ongoing dialog, sometimes via surveys, between consumers and manufacturers. And it is not new for companies to encourage consumers to brainstorm along with them in the development of new products. Shoppers have been asked to participate in formal and informal new product development programs for many many years. Separately there is a recent crop of organizations that promote their ability to help novice inventors get their products into the market. And then there’s Shark Tank on TV which showcases and supports entrepreneurs with innovations that lend themselves to business opportunities. Walmart’s Get on the Shelf is of course a wonderful means of self promotion for Walmart. But it leverages widespread interest and creativity among consumers. And in the process Walmart and its consumer partners may come up with some winning opportunities that… Read more »
Max Goldberg
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

Get on the Shelf can bring new, innovative products to Walmart, products that might otherwise go unnoticed by WM buyers. Its past success points to the value of crowd sourcing, even for behemoths like WM. Many large companies find it difficult to innovate. Programs like this bring new ideas and products to companies that can instantly give them distribution and sales. Get on the Shelf is a win for entrepreneurs and Walmart.

Dan Raftery
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

The Walmart new product competition is smart for many reasons, including the increasingly popular crowdsourcing movement. Whether other retailers can or should emulate this is another story. I think not. Walmart is taking on a lot of work by essentially eliminating the supply chain segments that already create innovative products — a lot of overhead that non-behemoths can ill afford.

David Livingston
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

The value is mostly for publicity. Perhaps more than 99%. Got a hunch Walmart is in complete control of what it wants to have on its shelves in the future and their mind is mostly made up.

Joan Treistman
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

Looks like I was a bit naive. I thought Walmart’s plan related to product “ideas”. Turns out, I am told, that the participants have to be able to mass produce the product. That’s another whole level of capacity I wasn’t considering. Maybe it is just for the publicity after all.

Carol Spieckerman
Guest
Carol Spieckerman
8 years 10 months ago

To me, engagement is the operative word (vs. “publicity”). Get on the Shelf is driving exponential engagement with Walmart’s customers, sure, but also with budding entrepreneurs, the applicants, and their social media connections. Walmart realizes hard benefits when the growing Get on the Shelf community hits its website and/or stores in search of the new products. These days, Walmart’s initiatives are unfailingly multi-dimensional/multi-benefit. It’s fascinating to parse them out.

Karen S. Herman
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

The GOTS platform is Walmart’s virtual reality show and a win/win for the retailer and product designers.

Walmart Labs has built a fun, interactive experience that uses crowdsourcing to encourage interaction, develop product loyalty, build momentum and drive customers to Walmart.com or Walmart stores to purchase the winning products. This is certainly a coup for winning product designers who otherwise face a daunting challenge in getting their products to market.

New sourcing models are gaining momentum and GOTS is just one example. The Target Retail Accelerator with Co.Labs is another. It is a competition for app designers to build a mobile shopping experience for Target customers and also win awards from $10,000 to $75,000.

Both examples launch talented entrepreneurs and, in the process, collect key marketing information and analytics for the retailers.

Kenneth Leung
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

it is good PR and gives Walmart a low cost way to getting 1-2 new products on the shelf with a pre-marketed base. Would be interested to see if these products perform well one year after introduction after the initial hype die down.

Lisa Cash Hanson
Guest
Lisa Cash Hanson
8 years 10 months ago

As a new startup I think it’s amazing. I was fortunate enough that I won the Huggies Mom Inspired Grant- It’s publicity for Huggies but it helped us a great deal as well. Both in the press and other reasons. To me I’m excited about what Walmart is doing and wish everyone the best.
Launching any business is a challenge and the more tools to help people succeed, will always be a win win in my mind.

Alexander Rink
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

When one considers the sheer volume of products that Walmart sells, it is difficult to imagine a handful of products making a huge contribution to the company’s bottom line. As such, the value for Walmart would appear to lie largely in the publicity and relationship building it is gaining through this project. However, the launch of this kind of program may be an indication of a new trend in retail: much like YouTube gave unknown artists a channel to promote their work, Get on the Shelf gives entrepreneurs a channel to expose their products to a large market. Similarly, just as not all new artists arise from Internet fame, crowd sourcing will not replace traditional sourcing models entirely.

Kim Herrington
Guest
Kim Herrington
8 years 10 months ago

Dr. Stephen Needel is completely right in saying that just because you win the contest it doesn’t mean you’ll be successful in Walmart. Look at last year’s winner for instance. HumanKind is only in 200 stores in select states whereas the runner up is in over 1,000 with a plate lid product. While that has a lot of variables, from production to distribution logistics, HumanKind could certainly stand to improve. It takes knowledge of how to be the best supplier to Walmart to really get your product going and there are companies to help, like 8th and Walton.

Ralph Machesky
Guest
Ralph Machesky
8 years 10 months ago

As far as value is concerned, it is truly multi-faceted. This ‘contest’ gives Walmart the chance to draw in the demographic that uses the internet, many exclusively. It also provides the opportunity to affirm the previous campaign messages of ‘Made in the U.S.A. (which we 100% support). This is a welcome change, BTW.

As the Chinese middle class grows and the standards of living increase, costs of goods and services also rise. Add to that fuel and shipping charges and you see why the U.S. made initiative makes both sense… and hopefully dollars. You cannot stay a nation of consumers for any length of time without feeling the impact; you also have to be a producer.

Walmart (and other U.S. retailers) need more quality U.S. made goods. Let’s see if this new ‘old thing’ takes root and takes off.

Raimundo Thomas
Guest
Raimundo Thomas
8 years 9 months ago

I see the value of “Get on the Shelf” because customers know best what they want and what they need. To give them the opportunity to choose new, innovative products identifies the actual market choices. I think the program is ingenious and can be a powerful job creator.

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