Wal-Mart supplier hopefuls featured in web-reality series

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 83 views 

Over the next five weeks, 20 finalists in Wal-Mart’s “Get on the Shelf” campaign will promote their product on the retailer’s website, a page borrowed from the popular reality television format. Consumers are asked to watch each Tuesday and vote for their favorite product.

Marketing experts agree crowdsourcing is a creative way for retailers to get valuable input on which product consumers most want to see on the shelf.

The finalists were called to San Bruno, Calif., last week and asked to present live before a panel of three Wal-Mart judges who also work as senior merchandisers. Those presentations were taped and produced into five different episodes based on product category.

The first episode which aired Tuesday (Sept. 24) featured products in the “Live Better” category. Each Tuesday through Oct. 22, a new episode will air and consumers are given 72 hours to cast their vote for the product they most want to see at Wal-Mart. Each category winner will get their product sold at Walmart.com. But one grand prize winner will also be selected based on the number of pre-orders of the product, and will receive additional support marketing from Walmart.com plus an introduction to the retailer's merchandising team.

Last year's three winning products are sold in select Wal-Mart stores and on Walmart.com.

"Get on the Shelf celebrates the resilient and tenacious spirit of American entrepreneurs, many of whom have been working hard for a big break like this," said Kelly Thompson, senior vice president of merchandising for Walmart.com.

"The web series creates more exposure for finalists to share their inspiring stories, which makes for captivating reality TV that's also interactive since American consumers can vote for the next great product at Walmart.com."

In Tuesday’s “Live Better” episode, consumers heard from four product inventors.
• Chris Cote of Santee, Calif. who invented Smanimals, a gourmet scented stuffed animal collectable that hold their scents for two years. His company gives 5 cents toward endangered animal preservation for each item sold.

• Mark Robinson of Amherst, N.H., is the inventor of “Walkin’ Wheels” which is an adjustable dog wheelchair that helps elderly and disabled dogs stay active.

• Angelle Albright of Covington, La., invented “Chemo Beanies” for her sister who was battling breast cancer. Allbright said the comfortable and fashionable head covers for sought out by chemotherapy patients or anyone experiencing sudden hair loss.

• Vincent Rush of Milford, Ohio, invented the “Lynxsafe Teen Driving Monitor”, a device that he created to help concerned parents monitor their teenager's vehicle in real time.

The five-week series is being produced by VIMBY, the digital studio of Mark Burnett Productions, the company behind shows like “The Voice,” “Survivor” and “Shark Tank.”