WalmartLabs, the research division and think tank created by Walmart, in April 2011 Walmart after the acquisition of Kosmix, a Mountain View, CA-based startup best known for building a Twitter filtering tool called TweetBeat
There was speculation that Walmart’s real interest was in Kosmix’s founders, Venky Harinarayan and Anand Rajaraman, who have impressive pedigrees in the world of e-commerce. The pioneering comparison-shopping site they co-founded in 1996, Junglee, was acquired by Amazon in 1998 for $250 million; inside Amazon, the pair helped to create the e-retailer’s huge marketplace of third-party retailers and came up with the technology behind Amazon Mechanical Turk. It is speculated that Walmart—which paid an estimated $300 million for Kosmix, wanted Harinarayan and Rajaraman to work similar miracles for Walmart.com. Anand Rajaraman & Venky Harinarayan each serve as senior vice president of Walmart Global eCommerce
Walmart is launching Get On the Shelf, a contest inviting product developers to submit their product for placement on store shelves and on Walmart.com.
Customers will do the voting this spring and the top three products will have the chance to receive shelf space on Walmart.com, plus featured placement on Walmart.com, as well as valuable marketing support, and advice on scaling up.
Shoppers may enter until February 22, 2012. Shoppers must enter a link to a Youtube video featuring the product.
The top three products will have the chance to receive shelf space on Walmart.com, plus featuring on the Walmart.com home page reaching an audience of over 50 million people, states the narrator on the campaign’s promotional video. And inclusion in our email newsletters that go out to tens of millions of people.
According to the Get On the Shelf website:
- What is Get On The Shelf?
A chance to get your product sold by Walmart! We’re going to run an online contest and let the public vote for their favorite products. There will be three winners, getting a shot at selling on walmart.com and enjoying valuable free marketing support. The grand prize winning product could be carried by Walmart’s physical stores too. Winners also could get guidance on scaling up production to meet Walmart demand. All contestants will get some free visibility, and who knows where that could lead!
- Sounds good, but what do I need to do?
Enter your product at www.getontheshelf.com. Make a brief video to make your case and that you’d be happy to have spread around the Internet. (It’s alright if it’s a video you’ve already used for other purposes in the past.) Good videos take on lives of their own, but we also provide you easy-to-use tools to help spread the word (buttons, badges, etc.) and get votes through your own sites. You can also leverage your social network presence and any other marketing channels.
- Do I need to be an approved vendor?
Not to enter, but you will need to get approved before your products can be sold by Walmart.
- What’s the timeline?
The entry period is slated to close February 22 and voting is slated to begin March 7. But enter sooner, and you can promote your video longer. There are 4 rounds of voting, followed by the championship round among the 3 winners.
- Do I need to be a big company and have large production capacity?
No (though it’s fine if you do). Enter if you believe in your product, even if you’re small. We could provide guidance on scaling up if you win!
- Sounds interesting. What’s an example of a good video?
Well, there are many product videos on YouTube for inspiration, and you can judge for yourself. You might be familiar, for example, with the Will It Blend videos of Blendtec and the more homespun videos of Prana Pancakes. But go whatever route you feel best tells your story and will be of interest to people. Have fun with it and do what you can.
Subject to Official Rules.
Now, go enter your product!