How Do Databases Work In Ecommerce Applications?

The terms “powered by PostgreSQL,” “cloud database,” “database-backed,” and “redundant multizone NoSQL backend” are all terms that are used for the description of eCommerce systems that deploy databases. However, the next questions that might arise in your mind are-

  • What do these terms mean?
  • Is it good or bad for the eCommerce site to have a database, and what does the database do?
  • Is it possible for one to have an eCommerce site without a database?

This post will look at these questions and review databases that are ideal for eCommerce sites.

Basics of a database

You should first understand what the meaning of a database is. If you look at the market today, you will find several jargon and buzzwords revolving around databases. This cannot be very clear to developers and storeowners.

A database is a system that manages and organizes data. This means as an eCommerce business site owner, you will have a data set with maybe some transactions for the orders you have placed. The database organizes these transactions that are based on the settings that you define.

When it comes to the context of eCommerce applications, this data falls into two major groups-

  1. website content
  2. Transactional data

Website content

The website content is something you see when you browse a store. It is the data that generates the HTML pages that are dynamic and includes the following-

  • Content pages like the contact page, about us page, the FAQ page, and the policies that relate to shipping
  • The pages for the product with details like weight, size, color, and dimensions for the items that are sold
  • The pages for the category for placing the same products under specific groups

Transactional Data

The transactional data refers to the result of the end-user taking action on a page. There will be no transactional data for eCommerce applications that have been newly installed. However, hopefully, when consumers start making purchases, the data will grow with the merchant populating those products on the website.

Some of the key instances of transactional data are-

  1. Orders of customers, their names, phone numbers, addresses, products purchased, and email
  2. The inventory updates like the items that are sold, out of stock, and replenished.

The eCommerce database design determines the items that it stocks, how these items are organized, and how the application codes access them. Experts from the esteemed company in database administration and management say that it should contain the above elements for efficient operations when one designs an eCommerce site.

An insight into databases for eCommerce

Skilled IT specialists, developers,experienced database administrators, and managers state the database’s main goal is to store data. For instance, you might have a question about a custom order. In such cases, you can check the eCommerce database. Again, you might want to know about the price of a product, and it is from the website will you get all the information.

When you use a database, the web application ignores the real data and concentrates more on its behavior and presentation. The result is that the web app’s volume of logic and code is smaller and simpler to comprehend. For instance, if the items have images, the web app requests the data; in this case, the image displays a preview of the product. It will not care whether there is a single image, more than three images, or what the images show. The application expects to get an image URL that it displays.

Functions of the eCommerce database

Now, the next question is, what can the database do-

  1. Track the transaction – One of the primary jobs of the database is to manage and track transactions. It has to keep track of each order with the details that the organization needs to process the transactions. To process a single transaction, a lot of relevant data is required. This functionality controls most eCommerce databases. It is usual for one to see databases with millions and even billions of different data entries for supporting the order transactions on their own.
  • Organizing products – There is another database function important for eCommerce transactions, and that is organizing the products or items. Depending upon the eCommerce store, there could be thousands and millions of items with separate variants and styles. It is crucial to organize this wide range of options and products. This makes it a critical function of the eCommerce site.
  • Give structure to the data in your eCommerce store – You need to place structure around the huge amounts of data that is one of the database’s key strengths. It does not matter whether there is just one product or millions of products. They must be organized in the same way. Moreover, the above makes organizing the code to access the relevant data simpler. This means that the eCommerce application does not need to manage the whole data. It just needs to look after its structure.

Weaknesses of the database

Note that databases have weaknesses like complexity and facing a lack of analytical ability. If you sell a single product, you might not need a database. The store for you is simple when it comes to making a code; however, if you deal with millions of items, organizing them into one place is a mammoth task indeed.

Again, there is a cost for you when adding an extensive database to your eCommerce store. Even if your needs are small, there are steps for management and setup that include authentication, validation of data, data schema, and more.

Data analysis is another challenge with standard e-commerce databases, especially when it is directed towards orders. The data needs to be organized so that it is simple for the business to update and add new transactions.

Finally, eCommerce database maintenance should be done by credible DBAs in the market as in case issues arise, the whole database can crash and cause severe damage to your business!