Amazon made a huge leap into 3D printing by announcing the launch of the 3D Printed Products Store. Much like the wearables marketplace the e-commerce giant launched in April, the 3D Printed Products store offers shoppers a centralized shopping destination for products created with the emerging technology. The storefront offers pretty basic products, like jewelry, knickknacks and bobble heads, but the draw is that shoppers can personalize item details via a product preview widget.
Based on a news published in techcrunch.com Amazon is touting this as the debut of a new way for the ecommerce giant to offer even more specialized inventory that can better cater to specific customer tastes. “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,” said Amazon Marketplace Sales director Petra Schindler-Carter, in a press release announcing the new storefront.
Along with the launch of the store, Amazon is introducing a new personalization tool for customizing some of the 3D-printed designs, which opens up a widget that lets you choose from a number of basic designs, pick the color and finish of your plastic/metal material, and preview what it will look like with a 360-degree 3D preview. You can also tweak individual aspects of the design with some items, including thickness and other dimensions.
Prices on items vary, but the most affordable tend to fall into the $30 range, and they go upwards from there depending on size and material.
The introduction of the store does indeed mark a potential turning point in the sale of online goods – it means the largest online retailer in the English-speaking world is endorsing a means of direct production and selling that could change how future products are conceived and planned. One-offs and small runs are much more affordable via 3D printing, so theoretically the sky’s the limit on the range of things customers could order, provided 3D printing technology keeps evolving.