Businesses should deploy Ajax-based technology to improve the success of their e-commerce websites, analyst Gartner has advised.
The analyst firm has identified nine areas that it suggests could be developed to improve the buying experience on e-commerce sites. Pre-caching data could be used to enable buyers to shop at their own pace. Checkouts can be simplified by putting all the information to pay and ship for goods on a single webpage.
Gene Alvarez, research vice-president at Gartner, said, "When properly designed and implemented, they can greatly assist customers during pre-conversion processes, such as product location, evaluation and visualisation, leading to a better shopping experience and higher levels of sales."
Gartner suggested that businesses could also use Ajax-based user interface controls such as sliders and toolbars to enable shoppers to view different products easily.
Other recommendations include web forms that provide the user with auto-completion of data, such as address details when a correct postcode is entered.
Nine Ajax tools to boost e-commerce sites
1. Precaching data - buyers can shop at their own pace
2. Single-page applications - single-page checkouts
3. Improved interface controls and effects - sliders showing different products or options when moved, without a new page
4. Auto-completion of data - entering postcode to complete city information
5. Partial data submission - user does not have to complete entry to do something else
6. Keep data fresh - updates totals or prices when items in basket change, without page refresh
7. Real-time data validation - prevents configuration mismatches
8. Load content on-demand based on an event - mouse over to show detail text, pictures, menus and other information
9. Mashups - store locator with maps or sales calls with maps
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