July 28, 2014, 11:50 AM

Amazon launches an online store for 3-D printed wares

The marketplace gives consumers access to more than 300 products created using a 3-D printer.

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Amazon.com Inc. has introduced an online store featuring toys, earrings, customizable bobble heads and other products made by 3-D printers. The store offers more than 200 products that consumers can customize and print on demand.

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

One product on the new store is a customizable bobble head offered by Mixee Labs for $29.99 plus shipping. When a consumer clicks on the “Personalize Now” button, a pop-up window opens. In the window, consumers can personalize everything from the bobble head’s skin color to hairstyle and outfit colors.

Consumers can see a 360-degree model of the product. After the shopper personalizes the item and completes the purchase , the item is 3-D printed on-demand by a manufacturing provider and shipped directly to the customer. These items generally take longer to process and ship than other items sold on the marketplace. For example, the customized bobble head takes 6-10 days to ship, Amazon says.

Amazon launched a pilot marketplace with 3-D printed goods in July. Five companies took part in the original pilot.  

3-D printing technology provider 3DLT was one of those companies. “In the past, inventors and designers had to spend hefty sums to get their products to market and that initial investment created a significant barrier,” says John Hauer, co-founder and CEO of 3DLT. “Digital manufacturing eliminates much of the upfront cost, giving consumers easy access to a wide range of unique and potentially customized products at great prices. Amazon has a history of valuing innovation and 3-D printing has the potential to evolve manufacturing in general and consumer products specifically. By embracing this opportunity and offering a diverse catalog of 3-D printed products, Amazon has positioned itself to be one of the first mainstream retailers in this growing and exciting space.”

Read more about 3-D printing in the August issue of Internet Retailer magazine. Read it here.

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