The Impact of 3D Printing on Retail

A young girl watches as a 3D printer prints an object.

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Brands cash in on the 3D printer.

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Nike is already accelerating design innovation. Amazon has opened a whole new marketplace. Grace Turtle writes that marketers, especially retailers, should be getting ready for half of all homes (in developed economies) to have a 3D printer within a decade.

Like the Internet did with bits, 3D printing is revolutionising the economy with atoms. As with the internet in 1980s, there are those who are cautiously optimistic about the technology and how much mainstream acceptance it will get and those who think it is the biggest thing since, well, the Internet. One thing is for certain: most big brands are on board and preparing for a future with 3D printing.

Among those testing the technology is Amazon, which launched an online store for 3D printed items, allowing customers to personalise jewellery, dolls, wallets, cookie cutters and other objects. Also, Microsoft retails MakerBot 3D printers in 55 stores across the US.

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