The American distributor Walmart believes firmly in the potential of crowdsourcing, where customers have their say in the purchase policy. “Our customers are in control today”, says Joel Anderson, CEO of Walmart.com, and that is not necessarily a disadvantage…
Over 5,000 submissions
Last year Walmart organised the “Get on the Shelf”-competition for the first time, where the chain asked entrepreneurs and inventors to send in a short video of their product. Customers could vote and the chain committed to selling the products with the most votes at hundreds of locations.
The contest was an instant success: Walmart received more than 5,000 entries. Human Kind Water, drinking water where proceeds go completely to charity; SnapIt, a repair kit for glasses, and PlateTopper, a lid that can transform any plate into a kind of Tupperware, were the laureates of the first competition. All three have now been integrated in the assortment of the chain.
Repeat and expansion following huge success
“Walmart’s initiative, which got more than 5,000 submissions, has encouraged the company to have another go this year”, said Joel Anderson to MarketWatch. “We realized we need to connect with customers differently.”
“Our customers are in control today. One of the things they said is they want a voice in what products we carry…” And thanks to crowd sourcing the chain not only gets handed some new ideas, but it can also see how much customers are in need of the product.
Anderson does not want to give sales figures for the three winning products, but Walmart has decided to keep the products in the assortment for longer and the group is also starting a similar competition in China, which probably proof there is some future in crowd sourcing.