If the long term promise of 3D printing is distributed manufacturing an e-tailer that promises to cut mark-ups as much as possible by establishing a more direct channel from factory to consumer should be an ideal intermediate step, especially if this means bringing good quality filament to US customers for as low as $18 per one Kg spool. Armed with loads of quirky and sharp-witted humor, new Oklahoma City based online retailer FoxSmart is aiming to do just that.
“Other than trying to sell awesome products at ridiculously low prices, our goal with the site is to educate consumers about retail practices,” says FoxSmart product manager Kate Spence. “A typical product will go through 3-7 layers of mark-up before it reaches your door. Even with products online a product might go factory-trading company-brand-distributor-Amazon-consumer. That’s insane and it’s why our model is factory to consumer, with FoxSmart here for Q&A, shipping, support/returns and relatively decent English.”
Although FoxSmart does offer a wide range of electronic and technology accessories, from $3 HDMI cables to $5 TV mounts, 3D printing is definitely one of the company’s primary focus points, with the PLA filament being offered for one of the lowest prices available on US soil through the establishment of a direct partnership with the filament producers. In fact sample packs are even given away for free to those who buy a 1 Kg filament spool.
This makes it possible to contain the price without sacrificing the product’s quality which, according to the FoxSmart website “is just as good as the expensive plastic, but FAR less expensive. Tested and tested and tested (by us + 3rd party testing labs), it is consistent, dry as a bone and works with all the major printers.”
FoxSmart’s factory-direct business model seeks to eliminate markups by developing products in partnership with the factories while also offering traditional support programs such as a 1 year warranty on all products, technical support, fast shipping from Oklahoma City, a 30 day return policy and a $4 flat shipping rate, regardless of how many items are shipped together.
The company will also take to social media channels to “educate the consumer” as to the markup practices commonly found in retail. FoxSmart intends to document the process of taking a product to market through the TrulyFoxSmart Instagram account. According to FoxSmart Director of Product Awesome, Tommy Galloway: “I’m going to use Instagram and Twitter to take the consumer through each step in taking a product to market, from industrial design, tooling and product sourcing at the trade shows, to factory tours and inspections, to all the interesting foods I’ll be eating. Knowledge is power. We’re suggesting that the consumer deserves that power – not the retailers.”