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Demandware’s AJAX Technology Provide Speed and Efficiency for Online Retailers

Steve Susina • May 24, 2013

Speed and efficiency are two of the most important qualities that ecommerce retailers are looking to provide their customers. When a customer comes to your site, they want to find the product they are searching for quickly and in the most intuitive way possible. Out-of-the-box, Demandware provides a product grid with search refinements that are powered by AJAX technology.

AJAX, which stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, allows web applications to send and receive data from a server in the background. What this means for the customer is that they are able to browse products (clicking to different pages, narrowing down their search with search refinements, etc) quickly and efficiently without having to deal with a page load every single time they click. However, the downfall with this technology as it’s implemented into Demandware is that the URL in your address bar is never updated as the customer clicks to different pages or refines their search. This means that the customer loses back/forward browser button functionality as well as URL bookmarking of a specific search (i.e. shirts that are red, between $20-$50, and on the third page).

At lyonscg, we’ve found that full browser functionality is important to our clients because they want their customers to be able to browse their site intuitively. Being able to share what page you’re on and click your browser’s back/forward buttons has become a natural part of browsing the internet.  Instead of making our clients choose between keeping AJAX (speed) or disabling it in favor of full browser functionality (intuitive), we’ve come up with a solution that gives our clients the best of both worlds: History.js.

History.js is a javascript library that is extremely easy to implement right into Demandware that retains AJAX functionality while also giving the customer the ability to experience an intuitive browsing experience with bookmarking and back/forward button navigation.  It does this by utilizing the HTML5 History API to update the URL in the address bar whenever an AJAX call is made to update the product grid. By making some minor tweaks to the Demandware search refinements javascript, we are able to give our clients’ customers a fast and natural browsing experience.

MMA Warehouse
, one of lyonscg’s clients, perfectly utilize Demandware’s product grids which allow shoppers to easily filter merchandise by color, size, price and brand.

To learn more about the demandware + lyonscg solution, visit our demandware partner page.

Steve Susina

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Steve Susina

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