In a highly digital world, more and more people are making e-commerce purchases. Electronic commerce, also known as e-commerce, is a business model concerning internet transactions.
Any brand, business, or person who sells products online is part of e-commerce. Alongside with the widespread use of the internet comes the proliferation of various online stores. In fact, in 2018, mobile conversions increased to a staggering 55 percent and are expected to hit $175.4 billion in sales.
But do you know that with every successful e-commerce site, there’s a system running its backend?
Because data is being transferred regularly, you need to employ the best database practices.
By having the right procedures in place, you can leverage an efficient system that will store, structure, and organize data in your e-commerce site.
What is an e-commerce database?
In a nutshell, the basic function of a database is to store information methodically. It makes the retrieval and distribution of information easier at any given time. With this in place, you can track and organize system-oriented and transaction data based on your programmed settings.
This also provides a way to analyze and track information on the sales, products, and customers in the database.
What’s the purpose of an e-commerce database?
The primary purpose of a database in the world of e-commerce is to store information. It facilitates easy access to product transactions, inventory management, and so on.
By utilizing it, programming a dynamic e-commerce site becomes relatively easy, allowing you to focus more on the behavior and presentation of your website. All the interactions are being managed by the database.
E-commerce sites usually use databases for:
- Product catalogs
- Transaction tracking
- Non-product related content, like “About Us” pages, and blog posts
Types of Databases
Here are the four most common database types:
This is quite similar to a set of spreadsheets wherein every spreadsheet is composed of rows and columns of data. It works relatively well with transactions and non-product related content.
Relational databases also work with some parts of product catalogs, which can be hard to design, especially if there are various combinations in colors, sizes, and the like.
Examples of relational databases, including MySQL, Oracle, and PostgreSQL.
Key/Value or Document Database
This type is pretty straightforward. Imagine your computer’s directory brimming with various file types. Every file has a unique name and contains unique data.
Document databases work this way. Every data contains a name that is also known as the “key.” You can use this key to look and find data. You can define various data types, the same way your computer has various data types.
For instance, a usual e-commerce store has customer, order, and page types. Through it, you can design what particular data type you want to include, making your database flexible and powerful.
CouchDB and MongoDB are examples of document databases.
Cloud databases are usually hosted by a third-party on a large scale. This is beneficial for e-commerce store owners because it takes care of things like hosting and scaling your database as your site grows over time, leaving you with fewer worries.
However, using a cloud database has risks. For one, the e-commerce store owner must ensure the credibility of the third-party because it will be holding sensitive information such as your company and customers’ data.
Amazon Web Services, for instance, offers cloud databases.
This database type is an application programming interface (API). Usually, your e-commerce store connects with a third party through its API to store and retrieve data.
Similar to cloud databases, they’re usually not a separate type. But it usually depends on the API, they could entirely replace the need for a database.
API databases are quite common with SaaS platforms such as BuildaBazaar, and Shopify.
The importance of databases in an e-commerce site
One of the main uses of an e-commerce database is placing a structure to a vast amount of data. No matter how big (or small) your online store is, you need an infrastructure for all of the information you’ve gathered to give you useful insights. Structured data can be accessed more efficiently via an e-commerce application.
Organizes Your Products
There could be thousands, if not millions of products in your online store, varying in size, color, and style. A databases’ role is to organize this information, allowing your customers to easily find and locate the product they’re looking for.
Attracts Your Target Audience
An e-commerce database system allows your site to pinpoint your potential customers based on the information you’ve gathered. You can then use the data you’ve stored within the database to make targeted lists that you can utilize on your marketing efforts.
This means that the more information you have, the more you could identify your prospects and tailor your messaging to them. Not only will this method help you retain customers but it can help you gain new leads as well.
Databases play a key role in the success of your e-commerce site. With its ability to quickly store, organize, and analyze an immense amount of data, there’s no wonder why databases are important.
With an organized and updated data, you could easily respond and make updates based on the ever-changing market conditions.
Over to You
Unless you own a small e-commerce store on a custom platform or you’re taking advantage of the help of a third-party company, then you’re probably using a database. The data found within your database can be organized depending on your preferred settings, making your web applications easier to understand. While you don’t have to know every intricate detail on how databases work, it’s a good idea to at least have a basic knowledge about it, and know the role that it plays in your e-commerce site.