role of database in ecommerce

Role of Database in E-Commerce (With vs Without)


In this world of fast-growing data, its security and storage matters and these come to rescue i.e. SQL Server, Informix, MySQL, and Oracle Database. These are all database storage protection and storage option for e-commerce, what is the role of these databases? Can we run an e-commerce website/any website without a database?
Let’s get started by understanding the basics of databases and how they work first.

Database Basics

There are many key terms and jargons to create a hype for many databases which can be difficult to be understood by a business owner or even a developer.
A database is a system to store and organize data; it organizes the data according to the settings we have chosen. Databases are usually used for storing the transactional data or systems oriented data (site content).

In the case of e-commerce applications, data can be categorized into two parts :

  1. Site Data (Content)
  2. Transaction Data
Site Data (Content)

Site content is the data which is displayed on the front end and is the one that corresponds to the items you see on the website. It is the data that is present in dynamic HTML, for example, Navigation bars and its information, customer cares, product information, including the images, description, and the payment mode. A few examples include:-

  • Content Pages like T&c page, about us, contact etc.
  • Product Pages showing various product details like size, color, price etc.
Transactional Data

Transactional data is created by the use of the users while buying the product or by filling up the registration forms, It increases as the new bills are generated along with the number of customer count increase, even inventory updates come in this section. A few other examples include:-

  • Customer Database like mobile number, name, address etc.
  • Inventory Update Information like stock vs out of stock, billing etc.

The design of the database helps you understand the access and features it provides to your online store/ E-commerce website.

Databases for E-commerce

In E-commerce, the main purpose of a database is to store information for accessing the product transactions, customer care, and inventory management. By using a database,  programming a dynamic E-commerce website becomes easy as we now have to focus only on the presentation and behavior of the website while all interactions are being managed by our database architecture.

What Can a Database Do?

Track Transactions: One of the most important thing in E-commerce is tracking information of selling and purchasing. And further, maintaining the inventory. In most of the databases, this is the main feature that is emphasized on. It is common to see billions of data entries for the very same purpose.
Organize Products: Organizing the product inventory is very critical in the case as it completely showcases the varieties of various styles and diversity of product range. It becomes more complex in separation and helps to understand the behavior of codes when operated on.

Databases provide structure to your store data. It does not matter whether there is a single product or billions to sell on your store, a database provides your system with an appropriate structure design. It makes creating the code to access the data simpler & efficient in its functioning. The E-commerce application now just needs to handle this structure.

Putting structure around vast amounts of data is one of the strengths of a database.

website the new business card

Database Weaknesses

Databases can be complex for a beginner to analyze and can be way more difficult to manage. This type of organization method, unfortunately, is not ideal for data analysis.

Complexity can arise in case you have millions of products to sell on your online store, without database the management of millions of product is nearly impossible. But if you are having a single product, you might not need a database. Your storage would be pretty simple, code wise.
Also, You must never forget that there is a cost associated with any database and its management. Even if your needs might be minor, there are still setup steps, including server setup, authentication, data organization (schema) and more.

Data Analysis. Another weakness with e-commerce database is that it is tailored for generating orders. The data is organized in a way to make it easy to enter, track entries and transactions.

This organizational method does not an ideal environment for data analysis.
For example, if we wanted to identify the top 15 percent of the customers, We’ll be likely organizing the database differently. As is, your analysis and reporting programs have to reorganize almost instantaneously, which slows down the response time to a great extent. This is the reason why many large databases are copied and then, reorganized into a different structure so that reporting and analysis can be implemented in the system.

Final Verdict for Databases

Databases are organized, well-developed and efficient for e-commerce applications. If you own a small e-commerce store built on any custom platform, it is likely that you already are using a database. You don’t really have much of a choice. There is so much information that your store processes, it’s almost impractical to not use a database as an e-commerce store.

In short, databases are powerful, well-tested, and suitable for e-commerce.


Also Read,

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