How will 3-D printing take hold at retail?
According to a survey from Interactions, 95 percent of shoppers are looking forward to purchasing products created through 3-D printing. And nearly 80 percent are inclined to spend more at a retailer that can help create their own products through 3-D printing.
Yet the technology, around since the late 1980s, continues to take a slow path to retail.
Among the recent developments:
- In June 2016, Lowe’s launched Bespokes Designs, a six-month pilot that enabled customers at its Chelsea New York location to use 3-D scanning and printing technologies for home improvement projects and various other use cases. Said Lowe’s on its website, “Customers were able to digitally repair irreplaceable broken parts, customize cabinetry hardware with monograms, replicate precious heirlooms, and much more.”
- Last October, DSW launched Feetz@DSW, a pop-up shop that produced custom 3-D printed shoes at key locations in New York City and San Francisco. Feetz’s SizeMe technology uses a mobile scanner to capture 5000 data points and 22 dimensions and produce a customized 3-D printed shoe in less than two weeks. The shoes were made of recyclable materials.
- Last holiday season, Walmart Canada rolled out a program that enabled customers to customize and 3-D print their own Christmas ornaments for $10.
- In February 2017, BeeHex, a start-up, raised $1 million in seed funding to launch Chef 3D, a food printer that enables users to knock out a pizza in whatever shape they want, including a heart. Said Jordan French, a co-founder to The Columbus Dispatch, “This is about overturning and disrupting the food-assembly business that still is relying on methods centuries and centuries old and simply haven’t caught.”
- In September 2016, Mattel said it would delay release of its ThingMaker product until fall 2017 from Fall 2016. The device is designed to enable kids to print out their own toys. According to Engadget, the toymaker needed more time to “enhance the digital functionality” in order to deliver the “most engaging” experience for its customers.
- Interactions Releases “What Shoppers Want from Retail Technology” Survey – Interactions
- Feetz Brings 3D Printing to DSW customers – DSW/Feetz/PRNewswire
- Walmart CA launches custom 3D printed ornaments for Christmas season – 3ders.org
- BeeHex Raises $1 Million For Fresh Food Robots – BeeHex/PRNewswire
- Mattel won’t sell a 3D printer for toys this holiday after all – Engadget
- 3-D printer promises to change way food is made – The Columbus Dispatch
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see 3-D printing remaining largely a novelty attraction at retail over the next few years? Where do you see the technology having the most impact on selling floors?