ASDA pull 3D bunny out of the retail hat!

We’ve been saying for years that retail destinations need to be ‘sticky’, not literally of course, but sticky in the sense that people want to visit your store and they want to keep coming back and to achieve that requires genuine innovation and commitment on behalf of the retailer.

Whilst it’s all well and good running a yoga studio, offering people the chance to have a cuppa and a pizza, have their blood pressure taken or book some winter sun; these are all a bit run of the mill when it comes to real customer attraction. What get’s people excited are the virtual changing rooms, the cat walk events, and of course the 3D printing! No it’s not a misprint…..ASDA has just pulled the bunny out of the in store entertainment hat and is trialling a 3D printing service in York, its biggest store. Customers can pop into a booth, have a 360 profile made of themselves, do their weekly shop and pop back later to collect their perfect 3D mini me – all for the princely sum of 40 quid.

Judging by feedback on the ASDA web site, customers are desperate for the service to roll-out into a store near them  and ASDA is hinting that they intend the service to be nationwide. It would certainly save a lot of people a lot of money on petrol, as my kids are already pestering me to jump into the car and drive to York…250 miles away! Apparently anything can be scanned – including people, pets and even cars – and the models can be produced in full-colour, white or a bronze-style coating. The technology produces highly realistic ‘mini me’ figurines at whatever scale you like, but most people opt for the 8 inch version!

Asda has been working with parent Walmart for the past 18 months to make 3D printing possible for UK shoppers. To build the digital model, the whole surface area of the subject is scanned with special cameras in two minutes. The shape is then recreated in 3D by spraying ceramic fluid in thin layers to build a solid object. Mark Ibbotson, retail director at Asda said: “We are thrilled to be the first supermarket and best value retailer to offer this new shopping experience in the UK. Our customers are always looking for the next big innovation and 3D printing is a guaranteed talking point amongst friends and family this season. With limitless printing options available, we’re very excited to see how our customers will take advantage of this groundbreaking piece of technology.”

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