There are many jargon and buzzwords around databases, and when it comes to the crucial operations of e-commerce websites, databases become more relevant and complicated. A database is just a system that helps organize incoming data, store it, and retrieve it as and when needed. In the case of e-com applications, the data to be stored falls into two major categories as site content and transactional data.
Site #content is the content of the #ecommerce #website pages as what the users see when they browse through the storefront.
This data gets through the dynamic HTML pages like Contact Us, shipping policies, FAQs, etc. Content pages also include Contact Us, product pages showing details like price, weight, color, size, and dimensions. The category pages may group similar items.
Transactional data refers to the data generated through user interactions when they take action on your website pages. As the shoppers raise an inquiry about the products or when they purchase an item as a buyer, all the interactions produce transactional data. Transactional data includes, but is not limited to the customer order data like name, phone number, email ID, address, interests on products, etc. Inventory updates also come as transactional data as items in stock, out of stock, sold, etc.
Considering these primary sources of data, the design of a good database will determine what to store, and how the data gets originated and how your application code has to be made to access it.
Using an ideal database, an e-com web application can focus on the behavior and presentation of the data in the best interest of potential customers.
As a result of proper data management, the amount of code needed, and logic in a web application could be much lesser and far easier to understand and follow.
Say, for example, if all products in an e-com storefront have images, then the web application needs to ask for specific data, i.e., picture of a product to fetch the product preview. No matter if there is only one image or there are multiple images or what the actual image is.
It also does not care if there is one image, three images, or what the images are showing. The application raises a query to get back the specific image URL, which gets displayed.
What Do E-commerce Databases Do
For identifying an appropriate database and remote database administration assistance, you can approach RemoteDBA.com for the most appropriate DBMS solutions. Let us further explore what purposes standard eCommerce databases fulfill.
Tracking transactions: The most primary objective of a database is to track the transactions and manage them appropriately. The database needs to keep track of each of the orders with associated details, which the provider needs to process it properly. There are a lot of data required and many steps to process an order successfully. This is the dominating functionality of most of the e-com databases. Nowadays, it is prevalent that databases contain billions of data entries to support online transactions.
Organize the products: Another crucial database function is to organize the products on display. Based on the nature of the e-commerce storefront, there may be thousands of products to be displayed, each of which has different styles and sub-variants. Organizing these products and mixing them well is a crucial function of e-com databases.
Providing an appropriate structure to store data: Putting a proper structure to vast transactional and web page data is another challenge an ideal e-com database needs to tackle. Irrespective of the product count, if they are organized well, customers tend to be comfortable and willing to purchase from your store. The proper structure of data makes the code cleaner and access to the database easier.
Along with strengths and functionalities as described above, e-commerce databases have some flaws too, which we will discuss further.
Most of the time, the major weakness of any given database could be the complexity in administering it and limited analytical capabilities.
Complexity: If the store sells only a single product, there may not be a need for a structured database. But, if there are multiple products, then organizing them without a structured database is merely impossible. So, there comes an additional cost in getting a database to manage your storefront. Even if the needs are minor with only a handful of products, it still requires setup and steps involved in DB management, demanding server setup, data organization, authentication, validation, etc.
For this very reason, online eCommerce website builders, such as Shopify, which are ready-made SaaS solutions for launching online stores, are so in demand. Such platforms make it easy to create, configure DB and greatly facilitate DB management.
Data Analysis: Another significant weakness of most of the eCommerce standard databases available is that those are mostly geared up for the orders. The on-site and transactional data gets arranged in such a way to make it easier to manage the transactions. On the other hand, this mode of data organization is not ideal for analyzing the data. Say, for example, if you have to identify the top 10 percentile of your customers for a particular product, then you may have to organize the available data differently. For this, your report and analysis tools need to analyze the information separately on the fly, which becomes a challenge most of the time.
Database Design for E-commerce
While designing a database for your e-com store or approaching a UX design company to do it, one should be aware of the best practices in it.
- Start with an overview – Remember, it may be pretty challenging to add extra items at a later stage, so have an overview of your scope of expansion and the increasing need in the future to incorporate that too into your initial database plan.
- Research on the database restrictions – While considering a database, look into its limits too. For example, some databases restrict the compliance to Microsoft OS only. For e-com stores, such restrictions may pose a significant limitation.
- Size of your catalogs – you may consider the volume of your products you want to post on the storefront, to be held in the database. When it comes to e-commerce, scalability is a primary consideration to keep in mind while choosing a database.
- Ease of use – The ability for customization for your business needs is another crucial consideration to make for e-commerce databases. It is ideal to have an excellent database design tool, which will help you visualize the DB models which will fit the best to your needs.
An ideal database with a well-thought structure can give you many advantages in terms of e-com business success. Along with active organization and better user experience, the more volume of data generated can equate to more sales and profits. So take your time while optimizing your database and learning your way around file extensions.