AJAX for Keeping Online Retail SKU Pages Fresh IntraDay
A few years back, we watched an IR200 client migrate off an antiquated static home-brew HTML store onto a modern robust e-commerce platform.
The cart was dynamic on the old site, of course, but their huge number of SKU pages weren’t. SKU pages were static HTML, generated by scripts each night.
This meant big headaches for their merchants. Think mid-day price changes (disallowed!) and mid-day stock-outs (site kept selling sold-out SKUs!)
So they switched onto a (then) modern e-comm platform.
The new site solved the mid-day merch change issues, but came with some downsides: ugly SEO unfriendly URLs with sessionids, a much slower site, increased hardware costs, increased platform costs. And they didn’t remap the old URLs properly, so they lost a great deal of SEO-driven revenue. Ouch.
This experience got me thinking about how little on a e-comm site is truly dynamic intra-day.
Prices and quantities, yes. In-stock and out-of-stock, absolutely. Perhaps user reviews and ratings, but those don’t need to be true real-time.
(Completely different from a news or sports site, where everything must be up-to-the-minute fresh.)
So, here’s a crazy idea for a e-comm architecture:
Render the whole site in static HTML each evening, with prices and quantities accurate as of when written. Then use tiny fast AJAX calls throughout the day to update only those few bytes on each page that actually change.
Just a thought.