Staples takes 3D-printing in-store experience to N.Y. and L.A.

Staples has partnered with 3D Systems, a leading provider of 3D content-to-print solutions, to pilot 3D printing services in two stores in New York and Los Angeles.

Each store features an immersive 3D printing experience center that lets consumers and small businesses create personalized products and use 3D printing hardware. Customers can also bring in their own 3D print-ready files to have them printed.

“3D printing offers enormous potential for small businesses, and by using Staples, they can print with the technology without having to invest in it,” said Damien Leigh, SVP of business services for Staples. “The test with 3D Systems will help us learn about our customers’ needs for a local 3D printing service, and how Staples can help them make more happen for their business through 3D printing.”

“Staples established reputation as a leader in home office and small business solutions makes them an ideal partner for testing out live, consumer-facing 3D print services,” said Rajeev Kulkarni, 3D Systems’ VP and GM for consumer products division. “We have been thrilled with the retail experience and response from our audience, and the difference it makes being able to see, touch and experience 3D printing.”

With the new experience centers, both small businesses and consumers are able to learn more about 3D printing through demonstration areas where they can use design software and see 3D Systems printers in action. Each store will have a photo booth to capture customers’ facial images for the purpose of personalizing 3D products like figurines, and customers can also print personalized smartphone cases.

Each store has an expert from 3D Systems on-site, along with trained Copy & Print associates to help guide customers. Items will be printed on site or through 3D Systems and shipped directly to their offices or home.

In May 2013, Staples said it would be the first major U.S. retailer to carry 3D printers, with the launch of the Cube from 3D Systems on Staples.com. The company has since rolled out 3D printing hardware and accessories in a limited number of stores and expanded its overall product selection.