3D printing was first invented since 1980s but until recent years, it has started to play a role in ecommerce industry when the technology innovations made it cheaper and more ubiquitous. From the first time released, 3D printing brought itself a lot of potential for modern marketing including online/offline integration, social, or personalization.

3D printing is not as expensive as we’ve ever thought, you can print 3D objects at a number of its shops as well as buy the printers and scanners to do it yourself. You can observe the digital giants are spending a lot of effort on pushing 3D printing more aggressively; however, there is one fact that most initiatives are limited to the US. We can list the famous names such as MakerBot, Sculpteo and Hot Pop Factory.

Recently, Amazon has launched its 3D Printing Store. Director of Amazon Marketplace Sales said that the introduction of 3D printing products on this market had set the milestone in a shift in online retail. manufacturing can be more nimble to provide an immersive customer experience. Customers are provided more dynamic inventory to personalize and truly make their own.

Some ideas for marketing related to 3D printing:

  • Personalized experience: if we turn back the time to 2012, Disney’s Princess Experience had a great idea when allowing visitors to have their faces scanned to create mini-me Disney princess figurines. In 2018, Nokia even made available a 3D printing kit so customers can have their own print customized covers for Lumia 820. The case of SoundCloud and Shapeways is even far more interesting, they allow fans to turn their favorite songs into 3D-printed iPhone cases.
  • Creative campaigns: in Israel, we can see the cans tiny, digital versions for each customer only with the support of a mobile app. Barnardo’s ‘Home for Xmas’ campaign involved selected donors’ homes being 3D printed in miniature form and put into personalized snow globes as a creative and emotive way to remind families how fortunate they are to have a roof over their heads at Christmas.
  • Customer support and loyalty: besides attracting customers with the amazing design, 3D printing can do more than that. For example, Belgian Insurance provider DVV launched a service called Key Save that lets customers scan their keys and save the data. Customers can print 3D that key anytime they want. Great user experience will bring huge sale opportunities.
  • Corporate social responsibility and the environment: I don’t really have a typical example for a big company but surely it should be possible to be more environmentally friendly cause I have seen a lot of people surrounded me recycle products by reforming them through a 3D printer.