How databases work with your ecommerce website

How databases work with your ecommerce website

Adam Morgan

The number of buzzwords relating to databases can leave merchants feeling a little confused. The basic principle of a database is to store digital information in a way that can be easily captured, retrieved and distributed.

Data within your database can be organised based on your preferred settings, making web applications simpler and easier to understand. Instead of focusing on the actual data, it can turn its attention to the presentation and behaviour of the data.

While few need to know the intricate detail of how databases work, it is a good idea to have a basic knowledge about how it functions with your ecommerce website.

What Databases Are Out There?

There are a number of databases out there; here are a few of the most commonly used:
• Oracle – An object-relational database management system
• MySQL – SQL stands for structured version of query language and is a popular choice for web applicants
• Microsoft SQL Server – Offering apt edition as well as mission under critical application

How Do I Choose a Database?

Some databases will require you to use their operating system (OS) and therefore provide a restricted choice.

Scalability will need to be taking into consideration, so determine the number of products in your database and what’s needed to make management of them easier.
Above all, a database has to provide manoeuvrability when adapting for your ecommerce site. The database also has to have a simple ordering system to ensure that transactions can be made smoothly.

Site Content

This is what you see when you are browsing the storefront. It will include content pages, product pages and category pages. These are all dynamically created using HTML.

Transactional Data

Simply put, this is data recorded from transactions. It is one of the most important jobs of the database as it keeps track of every order and all customer information. Data captured is usually a result of an action a customer has taken on the page. Examples of this might be:
• Customer orders: Name, address, phone number, products purchased, email, credit card details
• Inventory updates: Product details, items sold, out of stock
All transactions are tracked and much information gathered in this process is used to process an order.

Organising products

There could be thousands, if not millions, different products on your store with variations of colour, size and styles. It is a critical job of the database to organise this information and give consumers a quick and easy way to locate the product they need.

Providing Structure

As mentioned previously, your database will store a lot of information on your products. It will create a structure for the large amount of product data and makes it easier to access that information.

Potential Issues

For all the benefits of a database, they do have weaknesses too. They can be extremely complex to set up, for example, organising data (schema), data validation and server setup. Databases also provide little information in regards to analytics, due to them being primarily used for storing and organising data.