German 3D print retailer iGo3D has struck an interesting deal with Staples.
Staples, the widespread office supply company, has long been experimenting with 3D printing retail and now they’re taking yet another step.
The deal with iGo3D, who operate storefront 3D print operations in several cities in Germany, involves providing on-the-floor expertise to help customers. They say:
In the STAPLES store in Osdorfer Landstraße 33 in Hamburg, following the 1st of April 2015, customers will have the opportunity to access many three-dimensional solutions. Laymen can get comprehensive advice by qualified staff members. Customers who want to be part of the revolutionary technology early, can choose from the current top products of the booming market.
This is quite interesting. Previously Staples (and other major retail chains for that matter), would simply stock 3D printer among their many SKUs. In this case Staples has arranged for knowledgable 3D printing experts to be in their store ready to answer questions.
We think this is a critically important step, since most of the public still has huge misconceptions (if they have any conceptions at all) about 3D printing. Having a friendly face nearby to answer questions correctly could go a long way to ensuring that customers purchase machines with realistic expectations.
One fear we have is that consumers may spontaneously buy 3D printers once they’re available at the corner store, but become frustrated because they’re not really capable of using them. This could put a big dent into the buzz over 3D printing unless handled carefully.
In this case, Staples seems to realize the potential issue and has taken steps to address it. However, this is only happening at a single store in Germany and is thus an experiment. If it works, it’s possible we may see such expertise spread over more Staples outlets.