You can’t just go to any Staples, mind you, but two US locations – in New York and Los Angeles – have launched a 3D printing service that may spread to other locations across the country. This service already exists in Europe and this is the company’s stab at the US market.
Customers will need their own 3D file and the job will be limited to whatever materials the store has, with bigger 3D printing projects being outsourced if the store can’t handle them.
Staples has been selling 3D printers for about a year. Now it wants to begin selling access to them.
The office supply retailer began offering 3D printing services in two stores on Thursday, one in New York and another in Los Angeles. Anyone can walk in and have Staples crank out a tchotchke—or 1,000 of them—while reveling in the glory of the 3D printing revolution without spending thousands on an actual printer. If the pilot takes off, Staples (SPLS) says it will expand 3D printing services to more stores.
The concept is a logical extension of a nonrevolutionary but lucrative part of Staples’s existing business, the one where an employee runs off a bunch of flyers or pamphlets for a customer. For the past two years, the company has increased its revenue from copying and printing, partially offsetting the fact that it’s making less money selling office supplies, ink cartridges, and computers