In the ecommerce business world, as in life, coming up with a name is often the first thing you do. Think about it. When you’re writing a list. When you enter a new contact in your phone. When you’re having a baby and, when you’re starting a new business.
With an ecommerce business, having the right domain name to promote your brand and its product or service is critical. It’s all in the name, as they say.
The right name provides great name recognition and speaks to our identity. Ironically, something that’s seemingly so simple can actually become quite complicated. You can overthink it, spending hours or days only to circle back to the name you started with.
However, you do want to put a good amount of effort into it. You want to ensure it represents you, that it’s catchy or punchy, easy to pronounce and spell and most importantly, isn’t already taken. This way the name is unique and means something to you and to your customers. Every aspect of your business links back to a powerful brand name.
The content below covers how to name your e-commerce business in depth and walks you through the necessary steps in tackling this critical initial stage.
WHAT MAKES A GREAT ECOMMERCE BUSINESS NAME?
Ever heard the sayings, “Points for originality” or “Be original”? Well, it applies in e-commerce as with many other industries. Other than being seen as creative and fun, being original can also protect you against infringement lawsuits and fines. Thanks to Trademark and Copyright protections, owners and their businesses are protected from unfair competition or riding the coattails of another well-established business.
How about this one: Imitation is the highest form of flattery—not when it comes to business. Copying another brand isn’t cute and it shows laziness. There’s a difference between being inspired by another brand and stealing it to use as your own.
FOCUS BUT DON’T LIMIT
Dream big, think small. While your business could ultimately reach global domination in the beginning it’s best to focus on what’s in front of and around you. Remember, clients have specialized needs and are looking for a business that serves a particular niche.
Once your business has grown beyond that initial scale you can always adjust the name. Being concise is an aspect of success, so keep the focus on the values that you want your business’ name to reflect.
Also remember however, to keep the name broad enough so that it doesn’t pigeon-hole you into only serving a particular town, city or even state (unless that exactly what you’re going for).
Having your business name suggest location-specific products or services could harm any future possibilities as well as put you in a smaller, more competitive market, vying for the same local customers as others.
APPEARANCE AND ENERGY
When thinking of a name for your e-commerce business visualize it as an advertisement or logo. How your brand is visually represented can be just as important as how it sounds.
Speaking of how it sounds, you may want to consider a name for your ecommerce startup that carries with it valuable marketable traits. A good name reflects the business accurately and authentically and can be both boisterous, but sound.
SIMPLICITY IS KEY TO YOUR ECOMMERCE BUSINESS NAME
While a loyal following will learn over time how to spell or pronounce your business’ name, why make it that difficult? Instead, remember the acronym K.I.S.S-Keep It Simple Stupid. Give potential customers the ability to catch on right away. Grab their attention, get the sale.
America Online, more commonly known as AOL, didn’t start out with that name. When it was founded in 1985 it was originally called “Quantum Computer Services.” Kind of a complicated mouthful, right? It was renamed in 1991 and in 2006 AOL was exclusively adopted as the go-to abbreviation when referring to the web portal and service provider.
CHECK NAME DOMAIN AVAILABILITY
You wouldn’t base a business off a name then redirect people to a website with a completely different name, would you? Of course not!
The most important rule is to choose something that’s available. There are plenty of tools online where you can check the availability of your chosen name in your industry. Once such example is: Shopify Business Name Generator.
NAME-BASED ECOMMERCE BUSINESS NAMES
The Obvious One
Helping your target audience understand what exactly it is your e-commerce business does (product/service), gives clarity. However, since this is a popular method of choice for selecting a business name, know that the ones you come up with might already be taken.
For example, think of how many Jennifers, Sarahs, Johns and Roberts there are in the world. Instead when going this , consider a slight variation—perhaps by using a 0 instead of an “o”.
In addition, many businesses are named after their founder or owner. Choosing this path can help in reflecting the company’s roots as well as make it more recognizable for branding by putting a face to a name.
Successful examples of this include Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Walt Disney.
The Trendy Ecommerce Business Name
Naming a business is an opportunity for owners to capitalize on words and phrases that have become fads. And when you’re naming your business, consider your audience, but don’t fall victim to fair-weather crazes. Fads come and go but the name of your company should withstand the test of time.
Acronyms and Abbreviations
Many companies prefer to use initials, acronyms and abbreviations for longer phrases or names. While using this approach can be a great tool for consumers to remember you must weigh the simplicity against length.
Created in 1889, the playing cards company, Marafuku Company, changed its name to Nintendo Playing Card Company in 1951. It later settled on Nintendo in 1961 after it decided to manufacture games as well.
Another example is Computing Formulating Recording Tabulation, which today is known as IBM as stands for International Business Machines.
Remember when you were taught this in school? The use of compounds involves putting two or more words together to create a descriptive name. The possible pairings could be noun-noun, noun-verb, adjective-verb, etc. Some notable examples of companies that used this approach include Facebook, Playboy and WordPress.
This style often uses only a part of multiple words. Examples include Microsoft (microcomputer + software), Wikipedia (Wiki + Encyclopedia) and Skype (Sky + Peer-to-peer). However, when using this method be careful in its construction so as not to come off forced and awkward or silly and meaningless.
An e-commerce fulfillment company, Fulex is an example of this method. “Ful” being short for fulfillment and “ex” an abbreviation for the word ‘express’.
Unrelated Real-World Names
This method uses common words that most people are familiar with, then ties them to their brand. Amazon, Apple, Shell and Twitter are perfect examples. They are easy to remember and when done correctly has the power to replace the original definition of the word, making it secondary.
Case in point—people are more likely to associate Amazon with an online store and Twitter as a social media platform.
7 STEPS TO COMING UP WITH THE PERFECT ECOMMERCE BUSINESS NAME
Ask yourself open-ended questions about naming your ecommerce business
- What do I want my company’s name to represent?
- What feeling/emotion do I want my ecommerce business name to evoke in my audience?
- What are my company’s priorities?
- Do I want my ecommerce business name to be unique or something easy to remember?
- Will the length of the name really affect the company? If so, what works best?
Think about the products and services that you will offer, the personality of your brand, your competitors and market influencers. Come up with a list of keywords that encompass your ethos. This should include technical phrases, terms and words that convey a purpose.
Take a break
Walking away for a few minutes or an hour allows you to keep an open mind and not get stuck with blinders on. So go ahead, take a walk around the block, go to the gym, commit 30 minutes to a new show you’re binge-watching. Doing this helps create stronger objectivity as well as see flaws you initially overlooked.
Go back to the list
Further refine and organize this list by crossing bad names out and highlighting potential keepers. Once you’ve narrowed your choices to a handful of names, get a good night’s sleep and review them in the morning with a fresh perspective.
Check for name availability
Check a little early on in the above process for name availability so you know in advance whether or not you’ll need to reconsider it sooner than later.
The simplest way to do this is to run the name through a search engine like Google and check for results and sponsored ads by companies with a similar name.
Another way to be more thorough is to cross-check it with the patent and trademark database relevant to your geographic location. The United States has a Trademark Electronic Search System (Tess), that lets you check for business name availability.
If you’re good to go on that run a domain search next. If it’s unavailable you can resort to using some tips and tricks listed above.
Test the name and get feedback
Doing this is a good way to gauge how your chosen business name will do. You can pick a sample group of at least 20 people who resemble as closely as possible your target audience.
Then split the group in two asking one half to spell the name of your business after you tell it to them and the other half to pronounce it after showing it to them in writing. This exercise is important in seeing how customers engage with your brand’s name.
However, perhaps the best way of testing out the better name between two or more options is through A/B Testing. This is an accurate and unbiased comparative test where you create landing pages using Facebook or Google ads that are identical in nature but different.
Register Your Domain Name
Once you’ve done this research for your e-commerce business name lock it in. Even if you’re not 100 percent sure it will become the name for your company, register it. You may even want to consider purchasing a few of them if you can so you have more options. You can always keep them to link to related landing pages or sell them later.