Virtual reality appears to be the way forward for all forms of entertainment — and, evidently, shopping online. A recent job posting on LinkedIn by Amazon subsidiary A9 requests a “Creative Director, Virtual Reality,” who will be responsible for “building Amazon’s VR shopping experience for use by millions of customers on a wide variety of VR devices.”
A9 specializes in product search and advertising solutions for Amazon, as well as outside clients. Targeting VR to enhance the store browsing experience falls in line with A9’s past endeavors, which primarily employed augmented reality. Previous projects include Flow, an app that allowed shoppers to take a picture of a product and immediately find it on Amazon’s family of retailers, and Amazon Product Preview, which let users see how products looked in their home before buying.
However, times have changed, and it appears Amazon is now going all in on VR. According to the posting, A9 is building a team of “engineers, designers, product managers, and scientists” to tackle the challenge.
Although Amazon hasn’t yet formally announced plans to enable shopping via VR, it’s a poorly-kept secret that the company is planning to embrace the medium in just about every other way. Amazon Studios, which handles content for Prime Video, was seeking a candidate for an executive development position back in August, according to Variety. And last spring, the entertainment giant was hiring to build a platform for VR playback.
The aspiration to deliver VR programming follows in the footsteps of Netflix and Hulu, which have already launched their own apps to capitalize on the emerging technology. When it comes to VR shopping, Amazon’s only competitor at the moment is Alibaba. The Chinese e-commerce site demonstrated its own virtual shopping experience for the very first time in November. What’s more, its proposal encourages payment by nodding.
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