3D printers are making their way into malls, homes, and, according to Tesco’s IT Chief Mike McNamara, soon you can add supermarkets to that list.
In an interview with Oracle OpenWorld, McNamara stated that adapting to new technology was key to being competitive in retailing. As for 3D printing, he said, “It’ll be a great thing for customers, we’ll have 3D printing in our stores. As retailers you’ll always adapt. So new things come along – the internet came along, we adapted to that one… We’ll adapt to 3D printing, we’ll adapt to RFID. You live, you change.”
McNamara believes that by bringing 3D printers into the Tesco environment, his company can entice people into Tesco stores to pick up prints they’ve ordered online or even have a first encounter with the technology.
While the popularity of 3D printers is booming, McNamara doesn’t buy the notion that these machines will be in homes anytime soon. “Physical stores won’t disappear,” McNamara says. Instead stores like Tesco will become depots for creating high-quality 3D printed goods.
Whether McNamara’s strategy ever makes it past the drawing board has yet to be seen. However, retailers are considering how access to on-demand and customized products could sway a consumers decision on where to shop.
So if I were to say, 3D print a head of broccoli from green ABS, would the cashier charge that as a print or a vegetable?