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Be Careful What You Wish For

The way manufacturers in CE and other consumer product industries tell it, getting onto Walmart’s vendor matrix is like running a gauntlet, only tougher.

Last year the world’s largest retailer made sport of the process by launching Get On the Shelf, a contest in which inventors, entrepreneurs and business owners pitch their product concepts to buyers, and customers get to vote for the winning items. The top five vote-getters are added to’s assortment, and those garnering enough pre-orders get a shot at a slot on Walmart store shelves.

This year, given the popularity of reality TV, the process has been developed into an online series running now through Oct. 22 that the discounter calls “its first-ever original reality series developed for the web.” Product categories include “Great Gadgets,” and contestants include:

  • Lynxsafe Driving Safe Monitor, which allows parents to monitor their teenager’s vehicle in real-time;
  • Smart PJ’s, the world’s only interactive kids’ pajamas, featuring 47 scan-able dot patterns that relay bedtime stories or animal facts through mobile devices;
  • Node Wireless Sensor Platform, a smart device that allows you to measure temperature from a distance, play mobile games on your TV, and other remote tasks; and
  • Cookoo Watch, a smart watch that connects with your smartphone and allows you to customize the various notifications you want to receive, from incoming calls to Facebook posts.

We wish the finalists the best of luck but also a word of caution: The only thing tougher than getting onto Walmart’s matrix, manufacturers say, is staying there.