Building a Winning Database for Your Ecommerce Website is a Technological Art
Each product you want to display on the site comes with a lot of unique attributes as size, image, color, style, price and more. Each product requires a dedicated product page also to show the details. So, there is the home page, category pages, landing pages, information pages, ads, presentations of various posts, blogs, videos everything makes an e-commerce site a pretty big, complicated affair.
It is all about data
All these classifications consist of a myriad of data to be stored on your e-commerce website. The primary challenge of setting up a proper e-com storefront is to structure all data to ensure a quick and user-friendly experience. That is only possible with a sturdy and fast database storage and management system.
So, if you are running an e-commerce site online, one must know the essentials of database management at the first point to efficiently use DBMS technologies and tools to reap the best results.
The need for eCommerce database
A compressive database structure is essential for e-commerce websites to securely store information like business details, product details, catalogs, customer demographic information, credit card details, and sales details. Experts say that your e-com website is only as reliable as the strength of its database is.
A well-designed DB structure will not only help to improve the navigation and usability of the portal, but it can undoubtedly contribute towards boosting up sales by improving user engagement. Merely using HTML, CSS is not enough for eCommerce ventures, but it is essential to run database-intensive, insight-driven e-commerce sites.
Database design for eCommerce
We have seen that creating a robust database structure is vital for any eCommerce website to ensure that your online business wins over its competitors by impressing the consumers and also offering you an easy to handle platform to showcase and change your products based on customer needs.
It is not ideal to come up with your own baseline database structures for e-com sites, but you should always consider the use of any advanced software-based platform, which helps you to better plan your website database. There are many products like Magento Database which offers the users a range of easy-to-use tools and plug-ins to make database structuring easier.
To plan database administration correctly, we need to understand the nature of data and its volume. Primarily, we can divide the data of a typical e-com website into.
- Buyer / customer / client data like:
- Phone number
- Email ID
- Login name / passwords
- Personal buying historic data
- Confidential credit card / payment details
- Financial data
- Product information including
- Warehouse items
- Sold products
- Replenished products
- Out of stock items
- Ordered products
- Returned products
Basics of E-commerce database design
Categorizing, structuring, and storing the above types of data is the primary requirement in e-commerce website management. As we have seen above, e-commerce data falls under various connected and non-connected categories based on their attributes, so it becomes a bit confusing when an e-commerce developer try to plan data storage. There are particular standard patterns and methods to organize data for various types of storages.
Various DBMS including SQL and NoSQL provide many useful tools and methods to store both structured and unstructured data across multiple database systems for e-com DB management. When it comes to e-commerce sites, organizing the non-product data seems to be easier. However, with many products attributes mixed, the process of presentation of data becomes a daunting task.
When you are planning to design your e-com website, here is a basic guideline on the database best practices.
- You can first start with a comprehensive overview and then narrow down the fields. Remember that it will be difficult to add an extra item later, so the right approach to do enough groundwork to identify the future requirements too and incorporate it at the first time.
- Do expert research to identify database restrictions. Some databases may work well only on Microsoft. For eCommerce websites which are platform independent, you need to consider any such restrictions.
- Size of products and catalogs needed to be studied before selecting an appropriate database fit to the needs. Scalability is a big issue which may pop up later, so it is deal to assess this during the time of choosing an appropriate database itself.
- With the need for ongoing administration, it is essential to consider your ease of use while choosing a database. An ideal e-com database will help the admin to set up a visual database model with flowcharts and actionable DB models.
- Always take extra care to host your database at highly secured space with easy any-time accessibility.
The advantage of a well-designed DB
A good e-commerce database can put forth many unique benefits to an online shop, including, but not limited to.
- More sales
More data means more sales with the capabilities of data analytics and Big Data. From customer information to purchasing patterns including even the minute details as size and color variations can be gathered and analyzed through proper database management techniques and can be converted into winning business decisions.
- Better experience with the effective organization
A well-structured database will offer the e-com customers an easy and straightforward navigation on your website to get product info. As it becomes easier to search, filter, find rating and review quickly, buying will be a more comfortable affair which can attract more onto your platform.
- Search engine optimization
A well-set e-commerce database will not only enhance navigation and customer experience but also can make it easier for the search engine bots to index your web pages efficiently. Google and other leading search engines now give higher preference to the UX part of the websites in search engine ranking and appropriate database management help you achieve this.
Major e-commerce database types
Let’s further discuss the three major types of database architectures for e-commerce sites.
- Relational DB
A relational database is more like the conventional spreadsheets we use with rows and columns of data. These rows and columns are called tables, but unlike the spreadsheet, particular data can be related to concerned data in the DB. A relational database may consist of a table with customer data and another one for order data. Each order can be related to individual customers in the table using simple data mapping elements.
In fact, relational databases work at the best for non-product content and transactions. They also work well for product catalogs with many combinations such as different sizes and colors. MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Oracle are typical examples of relational databases.
- Key-Value / Document DB
In this, each item/entry is assigned to a unique key as an identifier. The document database is also somewhat similar to the key-value database even though these are technically different. It is straightforward with each file having unique data and unique name. In these types of databases, the key is used to retrieve data.
However, it becomes difficult if you want to modify the data storage method. Trying this, you may be ending up with the need to update each piece of data in the DB. Document/key-value database requires a long-term thinking and planning to devise an appropriate data structure. CouchDB, MongoDB, and Redis are classic examples of e-commerce document databases.
- Cloud DB
They are the latest and getting widely popular now. In fact, cloud DB is not a typical database type, but a hosting process. Cloud databases are stored on a large scale by third party service providers. It can primarily benefit e-com store owners as there is a massive cut of cost, effort, and time in this type of database management.
However, cloud DBs also have drawbacks as others. At the first point, the user should ensure that the third party cloud service provider is trustworthy and the vital business data stored by them kept secured and confidential. The significant advantage of cloud database is that you have the scope to mix and match various types of databases like relational databases, key-value/document databases to enjoy the best features of all to experience something unique. AWS (Amazon Web Services) is one of the most popular in this category, and you can also explore options like DynamoDB.
What you have seen above is the baseline aspects of online business database setup. With a clear understanding of all these and moving forward to setting up a winning e-commerce database, it is essential to consider a qualified and skilled database administration service provider to take up your needs. Similar to any of your core business assets, a well-built and maintained database acts as the backbone of your business growth, which needed to be planned efficiently and efficiently implemented.