Back in June, Rachel reported on how UK supermarket giant Tesco was “looking” at 3D printing as a service, following a blog post by Paul Wilkinson, an Innovation Ambassador for the company. Now it seems Tesco’s Information Technology Chief, Mike McNamara, is on board and is soaking up the 3D printing headlines. McNamara has said that 3D printing could soon come to supermarkets, facilitating on-demand printing of a range of suitable products. Tesco HQ teams of technology experts continue to test 3D printers to look at how it might change the way their stores work.
“I think over the next few years you will see 3D printing in shops, because for the missing hose from the vacuum printer, you can print them in the time that someone enters the store, does a bit of shopping and leaves the store.” Mr. McNamara said last week during an interview at the Oracle OpenWorld show. “So I can definitely see that being part of the retail offering in the none too distant future. I think it will help Tesco as a company, I don’t think it will be a bad thing. It’ll be a great thing for customers, we’ll have 3D printing in our stores. As retailers you’ll always adapt. We’ll adapt to 3D printing, we’ll adapt to RFID. You live, you change.
McNamara said that his belief is that it will take some time before 3D printers are widely adopted at home, but 3D printing may increase turnover in stores as the range of technologies will “give shoppers a new reason to visit shops for quick access to niche items.”
“Physical stores won’t disappear.” McNamara said. “But retailers do need to focus more on new strategy, and what product and service local stores can provide to meet particular customers’ needs in an age of customisation.”