Today, Amazon announced a new category of products in its ever expanding ecommerce platform: a 3D Printed Products store. The “3D Printed Products store, [is] a marketplace that gives customers access to more than 200 unique print on-demand products, many that can be customized by material, size, styles and color variations, and personalized with text and image imprints.”1 Although there are a few 3D printed products stores out there already – like our friends at 3DLT who already have a much larger selection than Amazon – but the ecommerce giant has never shied away from competition.
Though the Amazon 3D Printed Products Store, in its infancy, lacks the selection of many of the established 3D printed products stores, it offers much more in the way of customization options. Certainly, many of the 3D Printed Products stores out there offer a load of customization and personalization options, but Amazon presents these options in an incredibly user-friendly way.
The new store will feature fun and easy-to-use design templates for customers to put their individual style on an item they create and 3D preview capability to enhance the customer experience. With the 3D product preview function, customers will be able to 360 degree rotate a virtual model of a product to tailor the item from every angle. After an item is personalized and the customer has finished the checkout process, the item is 3D printed on-demand by a manufacturing provider and shipped directly to the customer.2
Although one would think that the 3D printed products industry would be a little skeptical of this move, the response has been nearly the opposite. Amazon’s initiative has been praised by the industry, and serves as almost a sort-of legitimization of their work. Our friend John Hauer, Co-Founder and CEO of 3DLT, noted as much in a statement:
In the past, inventors and designers had to spend hefty sums to get their products to market and that initial investment created a significant barrier. Digital manufacturing eliminates much of the upfront cost, giving consumers easy access to a wide range of unique and potentially customized products at great prices…Amazon has a history of valuing innovation and 3D printing has the potential to evolve manufacturing in general and consumer products specifically. By embracing this opportunity and offering a diverse catalog of 3D printed products, Amazon has positioned itself to be one of the first mainstream retailers in this growing and exciting space.3