Entrepreneurs vie for Wal-Mart shelf space in online reality show
Posted: September 24, 2013 at 6:43 a.m.
Wal-Mart has created a new online video series in which inventors and entrepreneurs pitch product ideas in a competition to get on the shelves and website of the world's largest retailer.
The Bentonville-based retail giant said in a statement that a new episode of the "Get on the Shelf" Web series will be posted each Tuesday morning, after which viewers have three days to vote for their favorite product from the 15-minute program. The highest vote-getter will then be sold on walmart.com and possibly in Wal-Mart stores, officials said.
In each episode, the entrepreneur makes a quick pitch to a "panel of retail experts" from Wal-Mart. The pilot, online here or viewable at left, features scented stuffed animals whose purchase raises money for endangered species, a wheelchair for dogs, a gadget that connects to cars to help track teen driving habits and a line of beanie hats designed for cancer patients who have lost their hair while undergoing chemotherapy.
Wal-Mart said thousands of participants entered the contest in hopes of appearing on the show, which is reminiscent in some ways of the hit ABC series Shark Tank. In that show, a panel of highly successful businessmen listen to pitches for a wide array of products and decide whether to invest their own money in the ventures.
"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," Kelly Thompson, Walmart.com senior vice president of merchandising, said in a statement. "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."
The winner in each of the five episodes planned will be sold on the website, and whichever of those products has the most pre-orders will get an "an introduction to the Walmart stores' merchandising team to potentially be sold in Walmart stores," the retailer said.