Walmart lets gadget companies compete for a spot on its shelves

Walmart is giving sales teams a rest with its newest campaign called Get on the Shelf.

Walmart Labs, the retail giant’s innovation arm aimed at developing new products for commerce, is hosting the campaign. Get on the Shelf allows companies to bypass the sales process and compete for a spot on Walmart’s website, as well as in its stores. Technology companies with a hardware product often run into roadblocks trying to market their product. Getting a product to market is a one-sided relationship, where the company and its sales representatives pitch products left and right just to gain interest. Marketplaces such as Walmart are on the hook for the type of products they sell and vet those products to make sure they won’t have to deal with lots of returns.

“For a long time, the ability to get a product into a retail store was at the sole discretion of the store buyer,” said Venky Harinarayan, senior vice president of Walmart Global e-commerce. “We are removing these barriers by giving anyone a chance to launch their product at Walmart and reach millions of shoppers nationwide.”

This is a particularly good opportunity for the startups of Silicon Valley who are talented in creating interesting videos and graphics to go along with their products. In order to compete, a company must enter a video of the product. Videos will then be posted for public voting, after being screened in case someone slips something not family-friendly into the mix. From that point, the competition becomes, as Walmart describes it, “American Idol” style. Voting will lead to a finalist round of 10 videos, from there three will be chosen, and then finally the grand prize winner. Walmart has already received submissions through its sneak preview round where it collected a cube-game as well as a pillow for the iPad.

All videos must be submitted by February 22. Voting begins March 7th. Enter here.

Check out our list of the top eight great gadget startups, maybe they’ll be on Walmart’s shelves soon.

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