In what might be considered an unusual move, MakerBot has announced their partnership with US warehouse chain Sam’s Club.
We reported on their first announcement of the partnership earlier this year, when they agreed to market with both Sam’s Club and WYNIT, a major US distribution company.
Now the company says in a blog post:
Select Clubs now also feature a new in-store display that prominently showcases the 3D printer, so customers can learn about the technology firsthand. MakerBot and Sam’s Club first partnered in select Sam’s Club retail locations in the fall of 2014. Sam’s Club also sells MakerBot PLA Filament in four colors: black, blue, red, and white.
And Mark Schulze, Chief Revenue Officer of MakerBot added:
Our revamped in-store display at Sam’s Club makes it easier for customers to understand the technology and the benefits it offers today.
Revamped? Let’s compare the two displays side by side:
On the left is the published image of their original display. On the right is the new display. To us, at least, they seem extremely similar. But there is a difference: the new setup has a video display, presumably demonstrating what is possible with a 3D printer.
Evidently MakerBot feels that Sam’s Club clientele may not be aware of what they’re looking at when they pass by the MakerBot display and thus they need to provide some kind of rapid introduction to the idea of 3D printing.
Will this work for MakerBot? We’re not sure, but if some people do watch the video, they may learn something about the technology and become more interested in buying - and even if they don’t buy from Sam’s Club on the spot, they are then more aware of 3D printing and may become a customer of MakerBot or some other 3D printer manufacturer in the future.
The other observation we have here is that this could be another move by new CEO Jonathan Jaglom to tune up their now-complex marketing and distribution mechanisms. While the company has not been releasing new equipment for quite a while now, they have been quite busy reorganizing their marketing, sales and distribution functions. The revamped Sam’s Club display fits right into that strategy.