Amazon jumps into the 3D printing market

Today, Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, launched the 3D Printed Products store, a marketplace with  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. 

With Amazon’s muscle, the marketplace can be considered to be one of the largest online places to discover 3D printed products.

“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. Sellers, in alignment with designers and manufacturers, can offer more dynamic inventory for customers to personalize and truly make their own,” said Petra Schindler-Carter, Director for Amazon Marketplace Sales. “The 3D Printed Products store allows us to help sellers, designers and manufacturers reach millions of customers while providing a fun and creative customer experience to personalize a potentially infinite number of products at great prices across many product categories.”

The store is following the typical game plan familiar to existing fans of 3D printing: it will have easy-to-use design templates that can be individualized by the consumer. 

In addition, Amazon is offering a 360 degree 3D preview of a virtual model so that consumers can get a look at their designs from every angle. The final personalized product is bought at checkout which triggers a 3D print on-demand version to be made and shipped directly to the buyer.

While some of the products may seem gimmicky, it is an endorsement of the possibilities of 3D printing products for mass market consumption. In addition, the store is a great starting point for designers to offer on-demand product designs. 

Presently, one of the better known names in the 3D printed product ecommerce business is Shapeways. Shapeways is more of an Etsy like marketplace than a general retailer like Amazon, but you can find some amazing examples of what is possible with 3D printing technology.

No doubt, Amazon will provide a much bigger opportunity for existing 3D printed product companies and this move validates the opportunity for a broader consumer base.