January 30, 2003, 12:00 AM

Too much for your servers to handle? Share the load with customers

Replacements.com’s JavaScript shopping cart functionality gets shoppers’ browsers to serve up information to the customers, relieving Replacements’ servers of the burden.

Beyond beefing up server capacity, there’s another way for e-retailers to handle shopping spikes: get the user’s browser to serve up some of those applications. That’s the route fine china, crystal and silverware retailer Replacements.com took when it went live with new shopping cart functionality last August, vice president of Internet sales and marketing Jack Whitley tells Internet Retailer.

The cart functionality was written by in-house developers in JavaScript. It’s a small piece of code that’s downloaded into a user’s browser when the user downloads a Replacements web page. In effect, the code gets the user’s browser to serve up the application itself.

Replacements customers receive e-mails on the availability of china patterns for which they’ve registered interest. Previously, to order the items listed in the e-mails, they had to manually fill out a form pasted into the e-mail. Now, new coding supports a button on the page that a customer can click to fill in the form automatically. “When they push a button, their browser adds the items to their cart and calculates the total,” Whitley says.

Because the action is happening on the customer’s browser, Replacements isn’t worried about overloading its servers when shopping cart activity spikes, he adds. “Not only did the application cost nothing, but when we saw traffic increase for the holidays, our servers were not bogged down with processing that work,” he says.


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