July 29, 2014
With Amazon’s New 3-D Printing Store, Customers Can Design Their Own Products
John Hopton for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Amazon is the facilitator and the entry point for buyers, but once the designs are complete they will be sent to 3D printing experts such as Sculpteo, Mixee Labs and 3DLT who are working in partnership to deliver the product to the customer.
In a statement, Clément Moreau, CEO and co-founder of Sculpteo, said: “The online customer shopping experience will be redefined through 3D printing. When you take into consideration the investment needed for manufacturing products, 3D printing offers a cost effective alternative that benefits customers by limitless product options.. Amazon’s deep understanding of customers coupled with Sculpteo’s fast, high-quality manufacturing process offers an unprecedented level of product possibilities for customers. With 3D printing, a customer’s wants are no longer limited to what is in stock but instead by what they can imagine."
Putting the customer at the center of the design process is a concept which looks set to grow rapidly, and it is Amazon's intention to expand the idea considerably in the future. Petra Schindler-Carter, Director for Amazon Marketplace Sales, described the 3D Printing Store as "the beginnings of a shift in online retail," with a "potentially infinite number of products at great prices across many product categories."
Reuters reporter Deepa Seetharaman points out that the expansion is in keeping with Amazon's recent branching out into new areas such as fine art and wine, as well as mobile services and original content, but is also part of the "maker movement" out of northern California as well in Europe to a degree, which "focused on customizing 3D objects rather than development software or mobile applications." The idea to offer people a 3D print option is said to have been influenced further when Amazon noted that sales of 3D printers were increasing on its wholesale site for businesses, Amazon Supply.
Along similar lines, the eBay Exact iPhone app allows users to tinker with designs, with final products being fulfilled by some of those involved with Amazon such as Sculpteo. However, the scope and scale seems not to be quite as significant as Amazon's grand plan for a future of customer designs, printed in 3D, reports Dante D'Orazio for The Verge.
FOR THE KINDLE: The History of 3D Printing: redOrbit Press