Jul 18 2013

eBay Wants to Add a New Dimension to Mobile Commerce

No longer in its infancy, 3D printing technology takes over online personalized retail.

Do you consider yourself a tech innovator? Then you probably own a customized 3D printed object. If not, don’t worry — eBay has you covered.

In partnership with three cutting-edge startups, eBay now offers an iOS application called Exact. Customers can carry a 3D marketplace in the palm of their hand and order unique pieces from MakerBot, Sculpteo and Hot Pop Factory.

Still in the early stages, the 3D printed items cover a broad spectrum of design and price. There are closely 20 items, ranging from iPhone cases to jewelry. Prices vary from below $10 to over $300. Customization is limited to colors and finishes but should expand as demand increases.

Our 2012 profile on 3D printing indicated that the industry is primed for significant growth. These “factories in a box” have entered mainstream e-commerce with this new endeavor.

In a blog post announcing the application, Steve Yankovich, vice president of innovation and new ventures for eBay, 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. eBay Exact brings these two desires into one shopping experience.”

eBay joins other corporate sponsors, such as Microsoft, in embracing the entrepreneurial spirit of startups. Under the guidance of eBay, it’s possible this emerging technology can transform a novel idea into an established piece of the custom retail industry.