It’s a Three-Dimensional World
For retail brands looking to stand out in a sea of similar stores, 3D printing is a new frontier. It is a chance to take creativity to an entirely new place, transforming the experience a retail customer will have when he or she walks through the doors. The technology to create these conversation pieces is still in the early stages, but it is gaining speed as more printers and brand owners alike learn just what 3D printers are capable of.
“It is cutting edge,” says Tom Lawson, director of operations at EclipseCorp, based in Gahanna, Ohio. “And there are very few suppliers of grand-format 3D printing. We’re finding that we have retailers who see it and love it, and we can see the wheels turning as they start to look at samples and renderings because the opportunities are limitless. Smart retailers are making their stores an experience. They want to have something that piques your interest and allows you to interact. We see 3D as the next step in that ability to answer their requests.”
Helping brands stand out is really the ultimate reason wide-format printers are starting to look to 3D printing. In an increasingly competitive market, it is a way for printers to stand out as well, bringing something to the table that others can’t match. And because printers are now talking about pieces designed to be at the center of a display, rather than just background graphics, 3D printing allows them to become more valued and valuable partners, instead of just vendors.
“Whether it is a huge brand or a local one, they are looking for ways to differentiate themselves in the market,” says Kevin Sykes, president for North America at Massivit 3D. “The biggest opportunity I see to offer, especially with 3D, is to offer fresh ideas that will garner attention. Create something that the customer of those companies won’t see every day. That allows them to set themselves apart when calling on that same customer — they have elevated themselves.”