When it comes to planning database backends for eCommerce sites and applications, one may come across many technical terms like:
- Simple MySQL
- Redundant database
- NoSQL backend
These all are standard terms that describe databases of different eCommerce systems, but what do they mean and how do they work? What is the purpose of a database? Is it possible to run an eCommerce store without a database?
There are many questions, and we will try to find out a few answers throughout this article.
eCommerce Database Basics
For those who are new to it, we will start with having a baseline understanding of a database.
"A database is simply a system which is used to organize and store data. If you have a set of data, perhaps some leads or order transactions, then a database will put all those deals and leads into order based on the custom settings that you will define."
From the eCommerce point of view, there are two categories of data.
1. Site Content
This includes all the content of a website that the users can see and access. The content may include displays on an e-store, data generating dynamic pages, HTML, About Us and Contact pages, and plenty of other information that is displayed to viewers.
2. Transactional Data
Transactional data is generated while the users are taking an action on a web page. A fresh site will not have any transactional content, but as visitors pop in and start to purchase products or make inquiries, you start to get valuable data.
With transactional data, you get names, phone numbers, email IDs, address, and desired products through customer orders and interactions.
Inventory updates like items sold out, out of stock, replenished and such.
The custom design of a database will determine what data it needs to store, how to organize it, and how you can access and use it for various purposes or initiate automated actions based on it.
In eCommerce apps, the primary purpose of a database is to store various types of information as mentioned above. Do you want to track a particular order? Do you need to check a pattern of purchases from a specific region? Do you want to know about the best selling time for certain products? Check the database for all these answers! With the help of a well-organized database, a web application can simply ignore the actual raw data and focus specifically on the behavior of the data and its presentations to take insightful business actions.
What Is the Function of an eCommerce Database?
Let's get an overview of what most eCommerce databases do.
One of the primary tasks of ideal eCommerce database is to track and appropriately manage transactions. The database should keep track of each order along with all essential information you need to process a particular business transaction. In a typical eCommerce site, there may be databases with billions of data entries to support the order transactions.
Organizing the Products
There may be thousands of products on an eCommerce store. One of the primary functions of the database is to organize these products according to different styles and variants.
Keeping Data in a Structured Form
Providing a proper structure to the stored data is important. There is no point in maintaining information in an unstructured format. With an appropriate database strategy, a DBA consultant will only have to manage the structure.
MySQL Integration With eCommerce Apps
As you know, MySQL is one of the most popular and widely used database technologies. Regarded as highly scalable and secured, it's the most welcoming solution for all classes and sizes of businesses. MySQL is now the most popular database for eCommerce platforms, too. Skilled DBAs can find ideal solutions to make an online business reap tremendous results in various unique ways.
MySQL is readily scalable, and that makes it the most useful database for eCommerce. Businesses grow over time, and a MySQL platform can grow along with them with this scalability feature. Another advantage is its capability to be integrated with almost any other system such as Microsoft Dynamics or QuickBooks.
MySQL databases now come both in the conventional standard version and in a cloud-based version. Building rightly upon MySQL software, the developers can also integrate features such as product configuration, catalog building, shopping cart integration, and improvements in e-carts across platforms. A MySQL database can also be used to transact information and work in sync with the shipping and accounting departments and streamline the entire process to be quicker and more cost-efficient.
MySQL is now the most powerful database technology, and most of its power is based on its capacity to integrate with other technologies instantly. By bringing all these together, one can ensure that an online business harnesses the complete power of the database to maximize returns and profits.
Apart from MySQL, there are various other databases that can be used in eCommerce applications. Some alternatives include DB2, Oracle, PostgreSQL, SQLite, SQL Server, and Sybase. If you are planning to set up an eCommerce portal, the primary requirement is to get a skilled and experienced database administrator to define, design, and implement a proper database structure with the use of adequate technology.
Various providers are offering DBA consulting services, but you need to check the experience level, expertise, and knowledge of each one to make an appropriate choice. A well-designed database can contribute heavily towards your eCommerce business success. Therefore, you must not focus on getting the cheapest database service to get the job done.