Amazon has launched its own 3D printing product page, allowing users to order over 200 products from a host of independent designers and 3D print firms. Though several 3D printing shops have been added to Amazon over the last year, this officially confirms additive manufacturing’s place as part of the world’s largest online retailer’s operation.
Alongside Amazon’s stated ambition to eventually deliver its products via unmanned aircraft, the move could lead to a future where products are ordered on your tablet, paid for with a digital transfer of funds and manufactured by a 3D printer, before arriving at your door in the clutches of a drone.
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Alongside 3D printable files, shoppers can also pick up Computer Aided Design software, 3D printers, accessories, how-to guides and supplies. This puts it not just in competition with Shapeways and Thingiverse, but also the high street hardware re-seller.
In order to make the page work, Amazon has signed up a number of prominent 3D print companies, one of which is hip Brooklyn-based print platform Mixee Labs. Describing the experience that Amazon can offer the 3D print customer, Mixee Labs co-founder Nancy Liang says:
The personalisation widget empowers customers to make something unique in seconds without knowing how to 3D model. A product personalisation platform on Amazon has the potential to become the app store for the physical world. Customisation gives customers the power to remix their world, and we want to change the way people shop online. It also makes the shopping experience more fun, creative and personal.
According to Petra Schindler-Carter, the director of Amazon’s marketplace sales, the launch represents a major change in how we shop:
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.