Staying abreast of the latest news and innovations from the retail world can be tricky - especially considering you have a business to run.

We're here to make life a little easier with a quick run-through of the latest and greatest updates in retail e-Commerce.

Alibaba Adds Virtual Reality to Customer Experience

With 40 million customers to boast, e-Commerce giants Alibaba have been experimenting with new ways to keep online visitors engaged and the answer may lie with virtual reality!

E-Commerce stores the world over are acknowledging the importance of personalisation in online experience, but Alibaba are taking the concept a step further with plans to launch VR into their customer shopping experience by the end of 2016.

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Browsing guests will soon have the opportunity to shop in a three-dimensional, digital store environment. Shoppers will also see customer service transition firmly into the digital age, with virtual shop assistants on hand to recommend relevant items and guide them through the product range.

Demo stores are due to be live by the end of August and have the potential to revolutionalise the way in which brands interact with consumers, so watch this space for more updates!

Facebook Automates Customer to Business Conversations

A strong presence on social media channels is widely known to increase engagement between customer and brand, and developments in social technology will continue to pick up speed as we move towards 2017.

Facebook have recently announced that they are working on new features to allow more automation when holding conversations on Facebook messenger, such as quick replies, persistent menus and tools to help users to manage chats with more ease.

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These conversational 'bots' will allow brands to interact with customers in a personalised, one-on-one manner, with the added help of automation to cope with the sheer volume of dialogues which a larger enterprise may amass.

Amazon Prime Day Success

Amazon Prime Day 2016 has taught the retail world one very important fact about shoppers - we absolutely love a good sale!

The build up for this years Prime Day was immense, with the 24 hour sale seeing over 100,000 reductions worldwide and establishing itself as one of the key dates in global e-Commerce.

Not only did Amazon take 60% more orders than they did in last year's Prime Day, but they have also managed to successfully solidify their brand as a global authority in when, and how, we should all be shopping.

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Although the event is reserved for those who have registered for Amazon Prime, none-subscribers do have the option to take a 30 day trial in order to participate - a smart move by Amazon from a data collection and customer insight perspective.

Italian e-Commerce set to Skyrocket in 2016

Good news for businesses venturing into Italian markets as analysts predict that its combined e-Commerce value could top €19.3 billion by the end of 2016 - a rise of 17% when compared with the closing figures of 2015.

The online fashion industry alone is estimated to be worth €1.8 billion, having grown at average rates of 30% in the past 5 years, and this shows no signs of slowing in pace. Quite the opposite in fact, with luxury brand Prada set to increase their e-Commerce efforts and widen product availability online.

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With the help and expertise of e-Commerce portal Net-A-Porter, Prada are set to expand their presence online and bring more of their product range to budding fashionistas around the globe.

To date, Prada have been been quite notorious in shying away from online sales so this will be an interesting transition for one of Italy's best known luxury brands, as well as contributing to the overall figure which is expected from Italian e-Commerce as 2016 winds to a close.

ASOS Announce their Ambitious One-Hour Delivery Option

Same-day delivery could soon become a little outdated thanks to ASOS and their newly introduced option of a one-hour delivery slot.

The new service, called Precise, gives customers the option to receive their goods within the hour, in 15 minute increments, or to select a desired time for re-delivery the following day.

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By joining forces with delivery agent, DPD, to enhance their parcel tracking service, ASOS have proven that they are listening to customer feedback, and are prepared to make the necessary amendments to business strategy in order to meet customer needs.

The take-aways from this update?

Don't be afraid to test new concepts, and push the boundaries of how business has been conducted in the past. You may not start the next digital revolution, but keeping your finger on the pulse with what your own customers are asking for will certainly help your brand to stand out as a forward-thinking industry leader.