July 2, 2013, 4:25 PM

Wal-Mart turns to the web to find the next big thing, again

The chain retailer repeats its Get on the Shelf contest to discover new products.

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s @WalmartLabs division this week relaunched its online competition called Get on the Shelf. The competition asks inventors to submit their products and product stories to Wal-Mart. The retailer will select 20 finalists, produce professional online videos about them and then let consumers choose the winner through several rounds of voting. The top product gets the chance to be carried at Walmart.com and possibly in select Wal-Mart bricks-and-mortar stores.

The retailer ran the same competition in early 2012. Humankind Water, a bottled water company that uses proceeds to fund clean water projects around the world,  won that competition. Select Wal-Mart stores from Connecticut to Baltimore now sell the product. Walmart.com also sells products from two runners-up products from the 2012 competition. Walmart says that competition garnered more than 5,000 entries and Humankind Water alone generated more than 1 million votes.

The competition and voting is again being hosted on the @WalmartLabs platform. Beyond Get on the Shelf, Walmart says it’s used the platform to run other contests, including an associate talent program among Walmart employees and to source greeting card designs and have consumers vote for their favorites.

The submission deadline for Get on the Shelf is July 31. The retail chain says it will announce winners in the fall. According to the competition rules, up to five winning products will be chosen to be sold on Walmart.com. Wal-Mart is No. 4 in the 2013 Top 500 Guide.

 

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