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Walmart Goes Social

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THINK OUTSIDE THE BIG BOX
DailyFeed

Walmart’s (WMT) new effort to again change the retail industry has encountered early success. The retail giant is the first chain to use social media to create an American Idol-style competition for new products, and its "Get on the Shelf" Contest has attracted 274,000 votes in four days after kicking off on March 7.

No, there won’t be a panel with a condescending British judge criticizing product presentations. Instead, Walmart promotes the work of companies and entrepreneurs in the U.S. and its territories by uploading their self-made product videos that feature everything from home appliances to apparel to beauty products on this contest website. Contest hopefuls need to fight their way into the top 10 by April 3 to qualify for the second round, which will last from April 11 to April 24. From that point, one lucky winner will get his or her product promoted at selected Walmart stores across the country along with being featured on the homepage of Walmart.com. Two other first place winners will also win space on the store’s website.

Walmart sees the potential for social media to revolutionize the retail industry as principal Engineer Guhu Jayachandran at @WalmartLabs, the social media branch of Walmart, in Silicon Valley created the concept. Co-head of @WalmartLabs and Senior Vice President of Walmart Global e-Commerce Venky Harinarayan says they want to locate “undiscovered products that have not yet reached our shelves.” He also stated, “For a long time, the ability to get a product into a retail store was at the sole discretion of the store buyer. Today, we are removing these barriers by giving anyone a chance to launch their product at Walmart and reach millions of shoppers at Walmart nationwide.”

So far, there has been no response from its rivals like Target (TGT) and Sears (SHLD), but they will most likely imitate the store if this contest continues to catch the public’s attention and turns into a hit. On average, the products receive 55,000 daily votes and the website receives 92,000 daily page visits.

So, tell all your friends and start cheering for your favorite contestants outside of Walmart stores.
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