We’ve been informed of the opening of the fifth The 3D Printing Store in Houston. But is this part of a larger pattern?
Sure, it’s a good thing The 3D Printing Store is expanding, providing greater accessibility to 3D printing tech for the proud citizens of Houston. They join the growing ranks of other 3D printing retail establishments. Recently we’ve seen shops opened by Zortrax and we expect to see others from 3D printer manufacturers and independent resellers as well.
The first experimental retail 3D printing store was opened by MakerBot years ago in lower Manhattan. They’ve opened two more since that time. But no more.
3D Systems, the other 3D printing elephant in the room, has not opened any retail 3D printing stores.
Ultimaker, perhaps the third biggest personal 3D printer manufacturer, also has not opened any retail stores.
What’s going on here? Are retail stores only for smaller manufacturers and independents? Why no retail stores for the big guys?
Why did MakerBot’s retail store openings cease after their acquisition by Stratasys?
It could be that the giants have realized that retail stores may not be a profitable venture. Certainly they provide some level of education on 3D printing to the public, but if the profit isn’t there we could see them avoiding retail stores.
Meanwhile, where does this leave the others who have set up retail stores? Will they survive?