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How 3D Printing is Reinventing Retail

August 5, 2014 by Josef Keglewitsch, Partner
Historically, 3D printing has been a niche and expensive technology with a narrow application.  The tide is changing rapidly because everything from clothing and cars to musical instruments, food, and even body parts can be created using a 3D printer.
A recent report projects worldwide demand for 3D printing to rise more than 20 percent per year making it into a $5 billion industry in 2017.  3D printing is poised to become a technology that every office will have by 2020.  The retail industry has a distinct advantage with innovation from 3D printers.
Typically, retailers spend millions trying to forecast what kind of products they should be buying.  3D printing gives the retailers an opportunity to create and deliver products in small quantities, thus testing which products drive demand.  The prototype made by 3D printing will save millions in comparison to injection molding.
As a retailer, here are some things to consider:
(1) What is the company’s revenue and is it worth investing in a 3D printer?  Each retailer is in a different financial situation and has different clients to please.  Even though 3D printing may seem expensive, in the long term, 3D printing can save money.
(2) What is your product base and how could 3D printing be used to cut expenses?  The type of product that you sell can completely change the company's perspective of 3D printing. 
For more information, contact Ice Miller.

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