Just about everyone, at some point, has bought an item online only to receive it and be disappointed. That remains perhaps the biggest advantage of shopping in-store--the ability to see what a product looks like in person.

Amazon might be looking to remove some of the uncertainty using virtual reality. A new job listing at A9, Amazon's product search branch, is for a creative director of VR. The listing was first spotted by Variety.

"You will envision the future of Amazon's VR solutions and guide our creative and technical teams to produce compelling, world-class experiences," the listing says. The role requires knowing "how to use the VR medium to tell a story about any product at Amazon to the customer."

Exactly what that might look like in practice is open to interpretation, but it seems to suggest that Jeff Bezos's company wants to help customers see or experience products in VR before they click "Buy."

Not that Amazon is necessarily having trouble in the sales department: the company pulled in $107 billion in sales in 2015. Amazon hasn't reported its year-end earnings yet, but has already said that the 2016 holiday season was its best ever.

This wouldn't be the first time Amazon has ventured into VR. In November, Amazon Studios, the production arm behind the company's Prime Video service, hired former Tribeca Film Festival head Genna Terranova to lead the development of its VR content.

Other tech giants have invested in the technology in recent years. In 2014 Facebook paid $2 billion for Oculus, which last year released the $600 Rift headset aimed primarily at hardcore gamers. Google has released affordable VR options like Cardboard, and in November released Daydream View, a $79 headset that's compatible with the new Pixel phone. Apple has filed for patents and made VR-related hires in recent years, though it hasn't made its intentions in the space publicly known.

While Amazon's main headquarters are in Seattle, the new opening is in Palo Alto, where A9 is based.

Published on: Jan 20, 2017