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Amazon Faces Competition in 3D Printing

While Amazon is getting a lot of attention for its 3D Printing store launched on Monday, it’s not one of the first to offer a venue for the sale of 3D printed items. Online sellers have been selling such products on other venues for years, including on Etsy, whose CEO calls 3D printer patterns the “sewing patterns of the future.”

Etsy spokesperson Nikki Summer told EcommerceBytes that 3D-printed items are found in the category best suited to the item – what it is, not how it’s made. Therefore it doesn’t track 3D printed items, so she was unable to provide an estimate of the number of such items for sale. But we found thousands of 3D printed items on Etsy – and on eBay as well, which did not respond to our request for information about 3D printed listings.

Three years ago EcommerceBytes wrote about Shapeways, a marketplace for 3D printed products. It recently teamed up with toy maker Hasbro to launch SuperFanArt, a website that enables fans inspired by Hasbro brands to showcase their artwork and sell their 3D printed designs on Shapeways. The site launched this month and features designs from 5 fan artists who are putting their own twists on “My Little Pony” toys.

What is different on Amazon is the ability for shoppers to customize and personalize the products for sale through a personalization widget. To get a sense of the unique nature of the widget, try personalizing a bobblehead from Mixlee Labs, which also sells them on its own website. By clicking on the “Personalize Now” button on the Buy Box, you can choose gender, skin and hair color, and outfits, for example.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.