[credit provider=”Walmart Stores via flickr” url=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/walmartcorporate/5684811762/”]
Walmart’s harshest critics might be small business owners, but in a brilliant PR move, the world’s largest retailer is trying to make amends. To show that the company supports small businesses and individuality, Walmart is hosting “Get on the shelf,” a contest which will give any inventor in the U.S. a chance to get their product on Walmart’s shelves (via CNN Money).
Similar to the selection process in American Idol, the fate of the entries are dependent on the public’s votes.
The top three winners will get their products sold at walmart.com and the grand prize winner will have their invention displayed at the actual stores nationwide.
“Today we are removing [the selection process] barriers by giving anyone the chance to launch their product at Walmart and reach millions of shoppers nationwide,” Venky Harinarayan, senior vice president of Walmart’s global e-commerce unit, told CNN.
Walmart typically decides on new products through a strict process: Vendors are given one hour to pitch their ideas and convince the company’s in-house buyers why they should stock their products.
So far, Walmart has received entries for an iPad pillow, Ugg-like boots for dogs and a locking device for soda bottles so you can be sure it’s safe even when you’re not looking. The inventions can be anything — toys, electronics, clothing, even household goods.
The contest is open until Feb. 22.