Nov.28, 2014 | By Alec

That 3D printing is convenient, needs little emphasis. But who would have thought that there is a place for 3D printing services in a convenience store? And yet, that is exactly what is being introduced in South Korea, where the famous chain of 7-Eleven convenience stores have opened their first 3D printing service inside a store.

For those of you who only know 7-Eleven as an American franchise, this chain of convenience stories also has a remarkably strong presence across the far east. It can boast more than 16,000 outlets in Japan, and a very impressive 7,000 in South Korea alone. To put that in other terms, there almost as much 7-Elevens in South Korea, as there are in the entire United States.

And recently, the Korean branch of 7-Eleven has sought to upgrade their stores and offer more attractive shopping experiences. The first result of this is a giant 7-Eleven mega-store in the Gangnam-gu (remember the song?) neighbourhood of the South Korean capital of Seoul. The two story convenience store can boast a floor area of 264 square metres, about four times larger than a typical Korean 7-Eleven.

It can be found right next to the exclusive and luxury Shilla Hotel in Seoul, and features a number of facilities aimed at upgrading the shopping experience. Aimed to attract professionals and foreign visitors, the store features a largely expanded assortment of merchandise and numerous services that enhance the experience. This includes a Bento Cafe (or Lunch Cafe) where customers can enjoy free lunches and desserts and intends to be a safe haven from the busyness of everyday life. It will also include meeting rooms and a large dining area that can be reserved as well as a massage chair and private bathrooms.

And evidently, this upgrade includes 3D printing services as well. This Gangnam 7-Eleven will not only sell 3D printers and printing equipment in its store (in collaboration with Korean Printing company 3DPMart), but it will also offer actual printing services. Customers are reportedly welcome to visit the store with their USB sticks and SD cards, and can print out their objects using one of the 3D printers. As 3D printing can take quite some time, customers can simply pick up the results at a later date.

This remarkable 3D printing option is all part of 7-Eleven's intentions to offer more diverse, luxurious and convenient services. As one official said, they're envisioning a 'future of convenience stores that offers all the room customers are looking for and all the services to fix a complex lifestyle in one location'. And South Korea, featuring a large customer base 'a mere one-third smaller than that of Japan', is an excellent place to start.

Could this mean that 3D printing services are going to spread across the thousands of 7-Elevens all over South Korea (or even further)? It would certainly make the life of 3D printing hobbyists far easier.


Thanks to hongsoongirl for the tip!



Posted in 3D Printing Services


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