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Walmart, the largest retailer in the world, is once again tapping into crowdsourcing to find new products to bring to market.
Walmart's ‘Get on the Shelf’ contest asks entrepreneurs and businesses “with a big dream and great product” to submit ideas through the retailer’s website. The company said it has a “special interest” in products that are made in the U.S., as it recently committed itself to purchasing an additional $50 billion in American-made products over the next ten years.
Walmart is asking entrepreneurs to submit a video in order to explain their product ideas. While the company is accepting all types of ideas, it has pointed out several that its merchants think are “especially interesting.” These include natural and sustainable beauty products, a range of technology products, and toys promoting science, technology, engineering, and math education. The contest began yesterday and is running until the end of the month.
Once the contest closes, Walmart merchants will screen the ideas and offer the best ones to the public for voting. After the final vote is cast, Walmart will select up to 20 products to be featured in an original web series. At this point, Walmart will turn to the crowd for feedback with a round of public voting, after which the retailer will select up to five products to sell through its website. The grand prize winner (or winners) – to be determined through the number of pre-orders the products attract – will also receive marketing support and may be sold in Walmart stores.
Last year’s contest received over 5,000 product ideas, the company said, and resulted in three new products making it onto Walmart’s shelves (you can check them out here).
The initiative is a good way for Walmart to get ideas about what its customers want to buy, and to connect with its customers. The multi-step voting process is a bit cumbersome and may turn some participants off, but it should ensure that the most appealing ideas make it into the final round.
While the contest itself is fairly straightforward, the real news here is that Walmart, one of the largest companies in the world, is turning to crowdsourcing for the second year in a row. Now let’s see if Walmart follows through on its (admittedly far more complex and ambitious) crowdsourced grocery delivery idea.
For more on 'Get on the Shelf,' check out the video below.