When it comes to consumer oriented desktop 3D printers, MakerBot seems to be leading the way thanks to numerous partnerships with retail chains around the globe. While a bulk of today’s commerce is moving online, many consumers still prefer shopping at a physical storefront location, especially when considering the purchase of a new technology like a 3D printer.
Back in March MakerBot announced a partnership with Sam’s Club, a division of Wal-mart Stores, Inc., in which they would bring their popular MakerBot Replicator Mini 3D printer to 300 stores around the United States. It was a major move for both companies as it provided Sam’s Club with an entrance into the retail 3D printing space, while giving MakerBot the opportunity to expand their presence within the storefront retail space.
Today the two companies have announced a major expansion of this partnership, which will place the MakerBot Mini 3D printers within all 600+ Sam’s Club retail locations nationwide.
“Sam’s Club is a great retailer for MakerBot products. Its customers include professionals, small business owners, entrepreneurs, educators, and others who have a natural interest in desktop 3D printing,” said Mark Schulze, CRO of MakerBot. “We believe that exposing more retail shoppers to desktop 3D printing will help accelerate the adoption of the technology. Our revamped in-club display at Sam’s Club makes it easier for customers to understand the technology and the benefits it offers today.”
In addition to these new Sam’s Club stores offering these desktop machines, select locations will also have prominent display showcases set up so that potential customers can learn more about the Mini prior to making a purchasing decision. All stores will also now carry black, blue, red and white PLA filament produced by MakerBot as well.
“There’s a growing appetite for 3D printing as people see how many professional and practical uses there are for the technology,” said Dawn von Bechmann, senior vice president of technology, Sam’s Club. “We’re excited to extend MakerBot nationwide and bring our members the latest innovation at a great value.”
The MakerBot Replicator Mini is a 5th Generation device and is the company’s smallest desktop 3D printer. The machine is capable of printing objects measuring as large as 3.9 x 3.9 x 4.9 inches, using PLA filament. While it retails at $1,375, Sam’s Club currently sells the machine at a discount which we expect will be carried over to the additional 300+ stores within the US.
By Providing MakerBot with a physical presence throughout the United States, this partnership should certainly lead to a substantial increase in sales. MakerBot recently laid off approximately 20% of their work force following underwhelming sales figures in the first quarter. While they’ve obviously reduced expenditures, it will be interesting to see how much these recent partnerships, especially this one, will impact the company’s top line.
Let us know if your local Sam’s Club has the Mini in stock yet, and what it is priced at. Discuss in the MakerBot Heads to Sam’s Club forum thread on 3DPB.com.