Pitching Sam’s Club: An Insider’s Account

Goin’ down Bentonville way…
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Goin’ down Bentonville way…

In this week’s issue of TWICE we reported on a novel sourcing program that Sam’s Club launched last year in its quest for novel, quick-hit tech items.

The program, “30 Minutes to Win It,” works like this: The warehouse club passes out invitations to a wide swath of interesting suppliers, and narrows the field down to finalists who can successfully pitch their products in a half hour or less.

Dr. Lai visiting her new retail partner

A panel comprised of a divisional merchandise manager, a buyer and members of the Sam’s Club operations team are empowered to make on-the-spot decisions in a process that entertainment senior VP Dawn von Bechmann described as “a cross between ‘Shark Tank’ and speed dating.”

Now, thanks to the power of social media, we have a first-hand account of the experience as relayed by Pennsylvania physician Dr. Wei-Shin Lai. Dr. Lai is founder and CEO of AcousticSheep, maker of the 2015 CES Innovations Award-winning SleepPhones headphones for bedtime users, and successfully ran the Bentonville gauntlet in March.

So for anyone wondering what it’s like to pitch Wal-Mart Stores, or who would like to be prepared should the occasion ever arise, read on.


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