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Amazon Opens 3D Printing Shop

Online giant Amazon added another service to its growing roster of diverse products with the launch of its 3D printing store. Customers using the new online 3D printing service will be able to customize more than 200 print-on-demand products, including jewelry, home décor items and novelties like bobblehead dolls.

According to Amazon, the 3D printed products portal is one of largest
made available online, and is one of the most user-friendly with easy-to-use tools, search capabilities, interactive product previews, and customizing options.

Customers essentially become the designers by selecting the style, material, color and size of the objects they wish to print, and can add personalized images and text. During the design process, users can rotate the product 360 degrees for total visibility and customization on all sides. When the product and sales transaction is completed, the item is printed by an outside manufacturer and shipped to the customer.

Prices range from under $40 for toys, cufflinks and wine glass holders to more than $200 for gold-plated jewelry and fashion accessories.

Amazon director for marketplace sales, Petra Schindler-Carter, said in a statement, “The introduction of our 3D printed products store suggests the beginnings of a shift in online retail–that manufacturing can be more nimble to provide an immersive customer experience.”

The company’s entry into the 3D printing space expands its offerings from media, electronics and clothing into this relatively new and growing niche market–and may provide a boost to its recent disappointing second quarter loss of $126 million.

So far the service is garnering attention from a number of 3D manufacturers who have expressed enthusiasm for the store, including Cincinnati-based 3DLT, which sells 3D printed lampshades and dog sculptures on the site. The company’s co-founder and CEO John Hauer, said, “Amazon has a history of valuing innovation…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.”

Much of the success of Amazon’s 3D printing store may ultimately be dependent on the imaginations of its estimated 240 million customers. As 3D printing company Sculpteo’s CEO and co-founder Clement Moreau, explained, “With 3D printing, a customer’s wants are no longer limited to what’s in stock but instead by what they can imagine.”