It’s one thing to know that Walmart has been getting in on the retail market for selling 3D printers, but another altogether indeed to hear that they are now offering a pilot program at their Ancaster, Ontario store that will allow from some pretty cool, customer-specific gifts. You can actually decide on a gift with a detailed holiday design, and then have it 3D printed. This should blow some minds as recipients reach under the tree for their gifts this year. Although many today are indeed informed about the wonders of 3D printing, they should be quite excited to see their very own gifts created with the technology that is spreading into nearly every industry and making constant headlines.
The program will be running at Ancaster’s Walmart through December 20th, partnering with Intersect, a company headquartered in Toronto (previously named Bnotions). The goal is to allow for a progressive and personalized gifting experience.
“Walmart came to us,” said Amber Foucault, the VP of product management for Intersect, the innovation and custom services division of Symbility Solutions Inc.
What should make this very interesting to customers at Walmart is the price. Not only are customers part of the making experience but the holiday ornaments they are fabricating will only cost $10. This is also an experiment in marketing, as Walmart tests their consumers, measuring their demand for this type of custom gift.
Foucault points out that a unique pilot program like this would be difficult for Walmart to do without the help of a more niche partner.
“It could be tough for them to do on their own,” said Foucault, stating that other companies are getting in on the personalized and 3D printed market. Macy’s is one example, selling customized cases for smartphones.
The ornaments actually offer quite a bit of detail, and the 3D printing takes a total of eight hours, contracted out to 3DMakeable Inc., a London, Ontario-based startup.
This is a tightly controlled market analysis, with only 3D printed ornaments being sold to begin with.
“Walmart is going to make that investment to see if there’s a market for it,” said Foucault. “It could be a massive business opportunity for Walmart down the road if they can do it as scale.”
The program was created specifically for Walmart, and they will own the intellectual property rights to this pilot and its parameters. What’s very positive about this program as well is that Walmart chose to work with a small boutique company such as Intersect, rather than choosing a larger, more generic corporation or sending all the work out to be performed overseas.
“The startup is hungry and excited,” said Foucault.
It’s thought that running a tightly controlled pilot program will be more effective than just surveying customers and asking what they think.
“What people say they will do and what they do is different,” explains Foucault.
Discuss in the Walmart Canada forum at 3DPB.com.[Source: itbusiness.ca]