The ‘eBay-model’, a service constructed of a provider’s platform for transparent interaction between individual sellers and buyers, has been something that many emerging 3D printing and 3D modelling related companies have been after since the vast mass media break out of the tech. One of the applicants in this sector is the recently revamped and reshaped CGTrader, which operates on a slightly different business model compared with the many competitors in this space.
One of the differences is the end price model – on which the company themselves use eBay and Amazon analogously for negotiable and more fixed pricing strategies accordingly. CGTrader’s auction service is organically built into their platform, meaning that the price of each item on sale can be debated and discussed between the buyer and the seller before closing the deal. Another interesting angle the company has used also differentiates them from the majority of the other service providers looking for their place in 3DP world – their royalty/pricing scheme. CGTrader’s sellers – according to their website – earn over 90% royalties on average, which is a greater share compared with the approach of other, longer established companies that offer closer to 30% fixed costs for the seller.
The CGTrader service has several different categories, ranging from aircrafts to architectural interior designs. The search function in general is quite nice – it also includes filters for 3D printing and game-ready designs as well as narrowing the results down by file type. However, one contentious issue over and above semantics is that the site has some products, for example sofa sets, labelled as ‘print ready’. While technically this might be true to some extent ie scale models, the limitations for the majority of the 3D printing world using consumer/prosumer grade machinery (in this case size) should be made more clear to avoid confusion – even if obvious to most people.
Despite this, CGTrader’s operating model is a believable one and we’re looking forward to seeing if they can gain a permanent foothold in the constantly evolving and shaping market. However, one can’t but wonder what lies ahead when the big dogs – the likes of Amazon and eBay as mentioned above – get involved in this market. They must surely have 3D printing on their radars and so have some sort of feasibility studies that will validate when the time is right to get in on the game. At that point, what added value will small start-ups and other types of companies bring to the table? Do you think there is a niche market in this 3D printing consumer market service platform for others, when the Amazons and eBays of the world start to show more actionable interest towards this emerging market? Please share your views in the comment section below.