During our New York adventure we managed to sneak into MakerBot’s exclusive retail store. Actually, it was less sneaking than simply walking in the wide open door, located at 298 Mulberry Street in Lower Manhattan.
We were impressed with the simplicity of the store’s design, somewhat reminiscent of Apple Store design, yet with its own unique flavor. Evidently MakerBot brought on board serious designers to lay out and design the very attractive displays and store elements.
It is still a little strange, however, as MakerBot really has but one product: the Replicator 2. (Ok, they sell plastic filament, too.) How can you layout an entire store for a single product? MakerBot has solved this problem by filling the store with a huge variety of 3D printed pieces, each set for sale at modest prices. At the same time those new to 3D printing can get a better understanding of the quality and nature of 3D printed objects before they commit to purchasing a Replicator 2.
This is subtly similar to Apple’s original intent in opening Apple Stores: their products were not being displayed appropriately in conventional stores and their message, values and benefits were not apparent. This is also the case with most home 3D printers these days: people don’t yet understand them. MakerBot is tackling that head on by establishing a retail store.
We didn’t see any Replicator 2’s purchased during our visit, but we’re sure sales occur as there was a large stack of boxed units ready to go near the cash register.
What we did see was a decent-sized line of folks waiting patiently to use the 3D printing “booth”, which takes a 3D scan of your head and prints it out. It’s all about you, of course.