Tips for Running a Successful 3D Printing Figurine Business


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Starting a 3D figurine business can be really difficult especially when most customers have never heard of the concept. You will want to make sure you have a full body 3D scanner that produces good quality 3D portraits, have a reliable way to handle 3D printing fulfillment of the 3D figurines and a well though out business strategy. You can find more information about the first two in other sections of this blog. After surveying many different 3D portrait businesses, here is what they ranked as most important things to focus on:

  • Be mobile
  • Do free 3D scans
  • Run promotions
  • Be in a high traffic location (We've added this point since the original post of this blog post. For customers in fixed locations, high foot traffic was mentioned as one of the keys to success)

Be mobile

Just like in regular photography, it is really important to go where customers want to be 3D photographed. No matter how good your 3D full body scanner is, or how stunning your sample 3D figurines are, it's going to be really hard to make sales if you aren't where your customers are. Going to events can be a great solution since people go to events usually want to memorialize the experience in some way.  Corporate and other hired events and parties including weddings also offer a fantastic business model because you can charge the person throwing the event just to be there and then sell them 3D print packages. With this dual revenue stream, no rent costs, and very small labor costs, you can make a tremendous amount of money on a per event basis with little financial risk. This is one of the reasons why mobile 3D full body scanners are becoming more popular.

Do free 3D scans

Many in the 3D portrait industry offer 3D scans to customers for free because if they don’t get scanned then it is impossible for them to purchase. Even if they don’t purchase they often share their scan across social media and generate word of mouth marketing. Many have found that customers who have been 3D scanned but who did not buy immediately will often either return at a later date to get scanned again and make a purchase or order the original scan online, usually around a holiday as a gift. One way to incentive ordering the 3D scan as a 3D printed figurine at a later date is through email marketing. You can read more about the benefits of email marketing in the last section of this blog post.  

Run promotions

Running promotions creates a sense of urgency and they have been proven again and again to drive sales in all forms of retail. Giving a customer a $5 discount for ordering in person versus online for example helps convert more scans to sales. Offering other creative discounts around special occasions help sell, up-sell and resell customers.

Be in a high traffic location

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If you're going to set up in a fixed location being in a high traffic location is paramount. As one of our customers who has a few Twinstant Mobile full body 3D scanners recently said:

"Location is going to be the biggest determinant of your success if you do stationary retail. Choose your spot carefully. You’ll want a combination of high foot traffic carefully (stopwatch and clipboard time!)"

If you set up in a location with poor foot traffic it can prove very difficult to be successful. If you are thinking about setting up in a fixed location, you should read this blog post to learn how to best mitigate risk.

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