Gartner Says Few E-Commerce Sites Have Taken Advantage of Web 2.0 Technologies to Make the Shopping Experience More Attractive to Buyers

Analysts Highlight Nine Ajax-Based Sales Tools That Can Improve Performance, Attractiveness and Appeal of E-Commerce Sites

STAMFORD, Conn., May 29, 2008 – Online sales are slowing for some organizations as buyers grow increasingly frustrated and dissatisfied with the Web shopping experience, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner�s research has found that few sites have taken advantage of new technologies to improve usability, interactivity and navigation. However, successful e-commerce operations have invested continually in upgrades to their sites, with many of these improvements running off the Ajax platform.

�Many people say that they don’t enjoy shopping on the Web because it’s often difficult to find products they want, prices and shipping costs can be hard to calculate, and check-out often is frustrating and time-consuming,� said Gene Alvarez, research vice president at Gartner. �Gartner research finds that many e-commerce customers are not repeat visitors. E-commerce sites have one shot to win over buyers � first impressions count. If the site doesn’t win the first time, then it usually won’t draw customers back, unless the company offers promotions or discounts, or customers are compelled to return.�

�Most companies hastily launched their original e-commerce sites in response to the explosive popularity of early online shopping,� Mr. Alvarez said. �This approach was sufficient at the time because customers were willing to tolerate the many shortcomings of Web 1.0 such as poor visualization, the constant need to refresh screens, multipage and multistep checkouts, the need to re-enter personal data, �start-overs� and a generally slow buying experience.�

Web 2.0 technologies improve customer experiences, boost sales productivity, and help CRM efforts. Ajax, or asynchronous JavaScript and XML, has been used by many so-called �Web 2.0� technologies that run rich Internet applications. Ajax refers to a browser-based repertoire of techniques for implementing Web applications in which page elements and content are retrieved asynchronously in the background, and in which the page display is updated incrementally without redisplaying the whole page. Although Ajax has been around for many years, what�s new for e-commerce sites are evolutions in browser implementations and in hardware processing capacity that enable JavaScript code to run correctly and consistently in browsers, considerably enhancing the customer experience.

Gartner has identified nine common Ajax tools, each using a specific capability that enables customers to have a pleasant and efficient shopping experience (see Table 1).

Common Ajax Use

Internet Sales Tools

Precaching Data

Buyers can shop at their own pace


Single-Page Applications

Single-page check-outs


Improved Interface Controls and



Sliders showing different products or options when moved, without a new page


Auto Completion of Data

Entering zip code to complete state and city information


Partial Data Submission

User does not have to complete entry to do something else


Keep Data Fresh

Updates totals or prices when items in basket change, without page refresh


Real-Time Data Validation

Prevents configuration mismatches


Load Content On-Demand Based

on an Event


Mouse over to show detail text, pictures, menus and other information


Mashups (Web Application



Store locator with maps or sales calls with maps


�These are not the only uses of Ajax for sales tools but represent leading applications of Ajax that demonstrate real-world value for online consumers,� said Mr. Alvarez. �When properly designed and implemented, they can greatly assist customers during pre-conversion processes, such as product location, evaluation and visualization, leading to a better shopping experience and higher levels of sales.�

Additional information is available in the Gartner report �Nine Web 2.0 Tools Can Boost E-Commerce Sales.” The report is available on Gartner’s Web site at

About Gartner:

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company. Gartner delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is the indispensable partner to 60,000 clients in 10,000 distinct organizations. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A., and has 4,000 associates, including 1,200 research analysts and consultants in 75 countries. For more information, visit