Tim from the New Zealand .Net User Group has put up a blogversation about uses of AJAX to enhance his shopping cart software. So I’ve never done any AJAX development let alone ASP.Net development. Any how, while not shopping carts a place I think that could really get some again from AJAX is real estate sites. They are painful.
The first area I think that would get the best again is searching. Avoiding the complete screen re-draws on country selection and again when you enter your region. But that’s the obvious place. The next improvement is dynamic search result size. Normal the search page lets you select the suburb/s, room count, price min/max. Now if as I adjust each one I see how many matches/entries this will be I can adjust my search. This would allow you to gage the price hotspot for a suburb/area. Heck you could even start streaming the textual details after a small delay, and also stream the pictures as a lower priority stream.
Bandwidth management is also something I could imagine could be managed in an AJAX style managed way (user driven or just dynamic). The client side code could evaluate the download time, (even have a UI widget for pipe size) then change how data is sent. I say this one because I have dial-up at home, and waiting for high resolution pictures to load (watch the sky load) to get to the middle of the picture and decide I dislike the view, verses have a low resolution picture, and wanting to see better detail. Even a low resolution b/w picture would give to a good idea. Sort of how Google Earth works (even though that is a client side app)
So not really sure if that relates to a shop, I would love to find a real estate site that was not brain dead. While a real-estate magazine has bad search and low number of pictures, the scan rate is really nice and fast, so I’m not sure how you can allow the quality random access on a web site. I’ll have to think some more on this…