Staples pilots ‘immersive’ 3D print centers at two of its stores

Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision for Staples/AP Images.
Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision for Staples/AP Images.

Office supply giant Staples Inc. may be in the process of shrinking its brick-and-mortar presence as it evolvies into more of an online retailer, but it is still looking to make a splash in some of its stores.

Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision for Staples/AP Images.

In a Friday press release, Framingham-based Staples said it is piloting 3D printing services at one store in New York and another in Los Angeles. The program is a result of a newly announced partnership with 3D Systems, a provider of 3D content-to-print services.

At 3D centers in the two stores, consumers and small business can create personalized products or bring in their own 3D print-ready files to have them printed, Staples said.

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Each of the stores 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 smart phone cases, the company said.

In a statement on the pilot program, company senior vice president Damien Leigh referenced Staples’ new “Make More Happen” marketing mantra.

“3D printing offers enormous potential for small businesses, and by using Staples, they can print with the technology without having to invest in it,” Leigh said. “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.”

Last May, Staples announced that 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 said that it has since rolled out 3D printing hardware and accessories in a limited number of stores.