The scheme allows shoppers to scan and replicate anything in ceramic, including people, pets and cars. Three cameras record the whole surface area of an object, with the process taking around two minutes to complete. Once a virtual model has been formed, the design is then sent off to a specialist 3D printer to be recreated.
Asda has been trialing the service at two stores in York from October and said at the time it would expand it to other stores. The confirmation of the nationwide push follows a Retail Week report revealing it was “a resounding success” with Christmas shoppers using the service to send loved-ones personalised gifts.
The supermarket is the first to gauge customers’ interest in the technology and hopes to use it as a point of difference in 2014. Selfridges is also running a 3D printing service that allows shoppers to produce small figurines of themselves. The models will cost between £50 and £200 depending on the size.
Elsewhere, FMCG brands including Nokia and Converse are experimenting with 3D printers as a way to create more personalised marketing.