While 3D printing is at a very early stage of adoption, it holds lot of promise for marketers. 3D printing removes barriers between online world and offline world thereby helping marketers come up with great holistic campaigns for promotion of the products. This is all possible because of the ability to print customized individual products through 3D printing.
While this customization era is on the starting phase, the technology is all geared up for entering into the mainstream. There are many outlets that are housing these 3D printers and customers can directly go to these outlets and buy any personalized item that they wish to buy. If the customer has no money constraints then he can buy a 3D printer and a 3D scanner and DIY it himself. Such shops are mushrooming all over the world. These shops not only promote this technology but also benefit the marketers.
Apart from such outlets the big shot e-tailers such as Amazon and EBay are extensively using this technology to produce customized items for the people. Apart from this, these companies have collaborated with 3D printing firms such as MakerBot, Sculpteo and Hot Pop Factory to launch an iOS app named Exact, which allows the customers to 3D print objects from the website of MakerBot, Sculpteo and Hot Pop Factory.
Amazon has gone a step ahead by launching a 3DP store in the month of July. The director of Amazon Marketplace Sales, Petra Schindler- Carter says, “The introduction of our 3D printed products store suggests the beginnings of a shift in online retail – namely that manufacturing can be more nimble to provide an immersive customer experience. Sellers, in alignment with designers and manufacturers, can offer more dynamic inventory for customers to personalize and truly make their own.”
With these examples it is clear that 3Dp is creating a lot of opportunities for marketers. Below are certain areas where 3D printing will have a great impact in days to come.
- Customization Drive: At the starting of the article we mentioned the era of customization and 3DP is proving to be the best replicator in the whole wide world. Many companies have ventured into this field of offering customers with super hero figurines, Princess Figurines etc. The most attractive part of the entire thing is that these figurines have the face of the customer. So now you can be Batman or Cinderella.
- Creative Campaigns: Since the market is flooded with the so many products and very often we see that more than two companies offer the same product. So in order to break this monotony various companies are coming up with creative campaigning ideas. The best example of this is that of the Coca- Cola Company which launched a new campaign in Israel. In this campaign the people were asked to create a digital figure of them, a select few won trips to the Coca- Cola factory and could turn these digital images into a real thing with the help of a 3D printer.
- Product Development and Co- creation: Companies such as Honda and Volkswagen are developing various products with the help of these 3D printers such as the artificial thumbs produced by Honda for the workers of the factory. Another initiative of Honda is the Free Honda car which allows customers to 3D print Honda car model. Apart from this Volkswagen started a campaign named ‘The Polo Principle’. According to this campaign people were allowed to design and exhibit their own version of the car and the concept that would impress the judges would have their version of the car turned into a real life Polo!
- Customer Support and Loyalty: Most companies fail when it comes to providing customer support. Since there is a huge lag in this area adding value to customers after a sale brings in a lot of opportunity. Usually what customers complain about is replacement of parts if a company allows replacement of these parts to be 3D printed then its gives a whole new dimension to this problem.
These are a few ways by which 3D printing in a slow but steady way is influencing marketers and marketing of products in the market.