Satisfying consumer demands for rapid fulfilment and customisation, a new study commissioned by Ricoh Europe reveals the vital role retail business leaders see new printing technologies playing in driving their competitive advantage.
73% of those surveyed believe investments in 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, directly lead to greater customer satisfaction.
According to the research, 84% of retail leaders report a growing demand from customers for shorter delivery times and 74% say customers increasingly want more personalised products. With that in mind, 68% say new printing technologies provide a key source of differentiation for their business.
David Mills, CEO of Ricoh Europe says: "In the age of the mobile consumer, it is more crucial than ever to get the right product into customers' hands at the right time. Bricks-and-mortar retailers are up against their digital rivals to deliver products on-demand, and personalise them to their customers' individual tastes. With store closures an increasingly common sight, leading retailers are turning towards print to enhance the consumer experience, more effectively fulfil orders and compete for customer loyalty."
To keep pace with changing consumer preferences, 68% of those surveyed plan on investing in 3D printing technologies within the next two years. Specifically, 60% believe 3D printing will speed-up their product development cycle. In addition, 73% believe new printing technologies will help them maximise new market opportunities.
Mills adds: "Bridging the gap between digital and physical objects, new technologies such as 3D printing simplify the way items are created, stocked, and distributed. As on-demand production becomes more localised, the nature of transactions will change as brands begin to emphasise the sale of infinitely replicable 3D products."
Note: Ricoh commissioned quantitative research investigating the opinions of 791 retail decision-makers across Europe