Wal-Mart holds contest for inventors to offer their products

Calling all inventors: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. wants you to parade your stuff.

The nation’s largest retailer is holding a contest, called Get on the Shelf, for a chance to snag a spot on its stores and website for your product.

Think of it as American Idol: Retail Edition

“That’s uncovering the next great singer, this is uncovering the next product,” said Chris Bolte, vice president of @WalmartLabs, the retailer’s social media and e-commerce arm. “This is a way for us to really provide our consumers with a voice on the kind of products that Wal-Mart carries.”


That’s because the contest will be determined by the public, who will vote on videos created by contestants and posted onto Aspiring businesses and individuals have until Feb. 22 to upload a clip about their product onto the site. That will be followed by two rounds of voting online by the general public. The first bout, from March 7 to April 4, will winnow the field down to 10 finalists; the second round from April 11 to April 24 will determine three winners.

The grand prize winner will be sold online and at select Wal-Marts around the country, while the other two top vote-getters will be available on

There are some guidelines: Contestants must own the U.S. rights to the product. The item has to be legal and fall into a category already sold by the retailer (so no aircraft please).

Although Wal-Mart officially announces the contest today, the submissions website has been up and running for a few weeks. Early entries include hot sauce, dog booties and liquid vitamin.


Bolte said a blockbuster product could be sold indefinitely through Wal-Mart.

“If a product does really well and continues to do well -- we have 9,000 stores globally,” Bolte said. “We can see it going out anywhere.”


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