eBay has joined the craze for 3D printing after announcing the debut of a new iPhone app app called eBay Exact. Users are able to search through and buy customizable print-on-demand products from 3D printing companies MakerBot, Sculpteo and Hot Pop Factory.
It is hoped this stand alone application will make it easier to find 3D printed items. So far there are 20 categories to browse through, with products mainly like jewellery and iPhone cases. The chosen product can be configured and then ordered all thorugh the mobile app, then shipped directly to the customer within 7 to 14 days.
Ebay are not the only company promoting 3D printed goods. Staples announced in May that it would start selling 3D printers and Amazon now has its own 3D printing store.
However consumers appear to still prefer to shop at sites like Shapeways, who have become an important role in making 3D printed goods more accessible to the general public. The site allows users to buy available print-on-demand goods or for those with a flair for design, turn their own ideas into products.
Whether people will start turning to eBay for 3D printed products will show over time. Vice President of Innovation and New Ventures for eBay, Steve Yankovich said, “Shoppers today not only want to buy items anytime, anywhere through mobile devices, but they also want to be able to personalize their purchases”.
But with this market still being relatively new, it may take time for consumers to become aware of the possibilites.