A Spark reviewer reports that Walmart sends a list of about 100 items each month, ranging from groceries to furniture. Spark reviewers test the products and write reviews. Reviews must be 200 words or longer, and all reviews meeting this requirement are posted, whether they are positive or negative in tone.
Spark reviewers are chosen on the basis of the quality and quantity of the reviews they wrote before they were invited into the program, and most also took the time to answer other consumer’s questions at Walmart.com.
Amazon’s Vine Voices program, an invitation-only cadre of top reviewers who receive free products to test and review, has been in operation for about a decade. Vine reviewers have targeted queues of products, and may have five products for review at a time. If a Vine reviewer has five products waiting for review, no more products will be offered until one of the reviews is completed; most Vine voices always have items on offer.
Unlike Amazon, Walmart has made its reviewer program transparent, using it to encourage reviews from consumers.
Walmart shoppers look for honest opinions from fellow customers when making a purchase decision — that’s where our members come in. Spark Reviewer is an invitation-only sampling program to get our newest and best products in the hands of our top customers in exchange for totally honest reviews.
Here’s how the program works:
- Register as a member and sign up to receive sampling campaign email alerts
- Upon receiving an alert, log on to this portal during the sample selection window
- Select the allocated number of samples for that campaign
- Receive the samples at your home
- Test the products in the specified timeframe
- Return to this portal to leave your honest rating & review on the item
- Keep the sample in exchange for your review!
Preparing for Market
Other than the actual quality of the product, many other factors can determine market success. You can also add perceived value by packaging your product differently, or bundling a service and presenting it in a glossy brochure . How the product is packaged can have a big effect on who buys the product, and how it is perceived after purchase. Product packaging is the box that the product is enclosed in.
Depending on where the product will be sold, packaging importance can vary greatly. If the invention is sitting on a shelf among many competing products, a cool or professional appearance could be needed to gain attention. On the other hand, if most sales are made on the Internet, the box the product comes in doesn’t matter as much. The customer has already been sold on buying the merchandise and doesn’t need to be persuaded any further. The web site is the key marketing tool and “packaging” that sells online products.
It is important to consider whom the target market is, who is buying the product off the shelves or from the web site? If the product is marketed to teenagers, the packaging might have explosive colors and designs to make it “cool” to buy. The same goes for the web site; it must appeal to teenagers so they will want to buy the product. If the target market is older people ages 60 to 90, maybe the web isn’t a great packing tool and the product packaging should be plain with big writing.
Product packaging is an important element to consider before going to market. It can alter the way a product is perceived by customers.
Determine your market
Nothing spells disaster like the lack of not having your target market identified. Market research does more than confirm your “gut feeling” to many new entrepreneurs rely to much on their gut feelings. Just because ” you think” your product is the best thing since the light bulb, does not mean anyone else will have the same feelings.
Take for example a man I knew a few years ago. He was an investor, you would think he would know all about launching new products. After all he had made millions of dollars investing in inventors and startup companies. One day he had an idea for a new educational game. He applied for a patent and produced a prototype. Instead of doing his homework…he sent overseas to have his game manufactured. A few months later he received his bright shiny new games all packaged up and ready to hit the store shelves of retailers like WALMART. He called a few buyers and asked to make appointments. Walmart was one of the first that hit him with the bomb shell of ‘not knowing’ his target market. You can’t just walk in the doors to present new products to buyers and not know these things. This is were you have to know what your talking about and get that message over in a hurry. They (buyers) don’t have time to sit down with you and figure out your game plan. Sad to say, he failed. Before he finally gave up on his idea he had spent thousands of dollars. His number one problem was not doing proper research and another was thinking “his way” is always right!
Are all the elements of the process coordinated? Is production on the same time schedule as the promotion? Will your product be ready when you announce it? Set a time frame for the roll out and stick with it. Miss it, and invite failure. There are marketing tales a mile long about companies who announce a new product only having to re announce when the product lags behind in manufacturing. The result is loss of credibility, loss of sales, and another failure.