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“For a long time, the ability to get a product into a retail store was at the sole discretion of the store buyer,” said Venky Harinarayan, senior vice president of Wal Mart’s global e commerce unit.

“Today we are removing these barriers by giving anyone the chance to launch their product at Wal Mart and reach millions of shoppers nationwide,” he said.

Although Wal Mart officially announced the contest on Wednesday, the retailer has quietly been getting the word out since late December and has already received more than 60 entries.

Is this the next Snuggie?Among them, an iPad pillow from ePillow, Ugg (

Wal Mart said people can submit their video pitches until Feb. 22. participants. The first round of voting will happen between March 7 and April 4 to select 10 finalists.

The second round of voting between April 11 and April 24 will determine the top three winners.

“But the timeframe really depends on the business behind the product,” he said. “A small business, medium sized business or individual inventor tend to be at different points of production.”

Bolte said Wal Mart will help the winning companies, if they need it, with production and distribution assistance to ramp up production in order to meet Wal Mart’s quantity requirement.

And depending on the contest’s success, Wal Mart will decide on whether or not to repeat it, he said.

“At the end of the day, we’re hoping to uncover products that we haven’t been looking at and give consumers a voice about what Wal Mart carries,” he said.

First Published: January 18, 2012: 5:00 PM ET

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