3D Printed Products Arrive at Lowe’s

 

A recent survey of more than 1,000 online shoppers found that while less than 10% have tried customization options, 25% to 30% are interested in doing so. Home and hardware retailer As it turns out, Lowe’s sees these customers’ need for the perfect pieces for their homes and raises them… personalized 3D printed products. Launched last June, Lowe’s is reportedly testing the profit potential of completely made-to-order products. The retailer explains that they “aspire to create new products and services to help customers make homes uniquely theirs,” with what they’ve called, Bespoke Designs. The 3D scanning and printing services allow customers to do anything from replacing broken or missing parts and digitally replicating heirlooms to designing and creating fully customized pieces. Customers can also shop products exclusively designed for Lowe’s either online or at their store in Chelsea, New York.

3D printing: a brief history

3D printing is the process of making a physical object, using a 3D digital model or pattern by essentially stacking up several thin layers of material in succession (kind of like this). Believe it or not, 3D Printing has been making waves in technology since the 1980s. With prices dropping dramatically over the past 6 years (going from $20,000 per machine to a much more reasonable $1,000), 3D printing has taken great strides in various industries (namely Apparel), with consumer use increasing more each year.

Why in retail? Customers want custom products

It’s no surprise that brands and retailers are jumping at the chance to provide customers with more customizable options. Not only does this allow them to personalize their customer’s experience but it sets them apart and gives them a leg up on competition, a crucial move in a world where a customer can compare stores, prices and products with a swipe of a finger on a cell phone or tablet screen before making a single purchasing decision.

3D printing for craft brands

3D printing appeals to more than just the tech-savvy early-adopter. Both the do-it-yourselfer, who relishes the idea of being able to design and produce household items to their heart’s content and the shopper above, who wants their home to reflect their personal tastes through perfectly customized pieces are a hugely promising demographic as well. From a company’s perspective, 3D printing is also a win/win. For a smaller craft brand, 3D printing is an opportunity to make easily customizable items to order, completely revolutionizing the supply chain. Finally, keep in mind that 3D printing is not exclusive to the House and Home industry – items such as food, jewelry, toys and even makeup are also able to be 3D printed.

Would you integrate 3D-printing technology into your business? Why or why not? Sound off in the comments!

 

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