Working out how to name your eCommerce brand is one of those steps in the process that’s easy enough to do – how many businesses are just named after their founder, after all? Which leads me to my next point – naming your business is hard to to do well.
A brand name is deceptively simple, in that just a word (or a few) you’re conveying a lot more about your business than you might think. Take our mates at Nike, for example. Their initial name – Blue Ribbon Sports – is fine, sure, and the whole blue ribbon thing alludes to high performance. The name that we know them by today, however? Still conveys that exact same thing, named after the Greek goddess of victory, but in a much more aspirational and marketable way.
While it might seem like all the good brand names are taken by now, there are a few processes to run through if that perfect business moniker has been eluding you.
Lock in a Solid Business Strategy
Before you can actually begin the process of picking your eCommerce business name, you have to have an airtight understanding of what it is you’re actually naming.
Elements of your business strategy like target audience, the competitors, where you sit in the market and what you want your brand’s personality or tone of voice to look like.
Lots of wannabe business owners will spend hours at the outset of launching an eCommerce brand agonising over what to call it – not realising that the name could end up being completely irrelevant by the time they’ve worked through the actual business strategy. Your business name should be built around the brand, not the other way around.
That’s not to say that you can’t use any name ideas you come up with at this stage of the process – just put it somewhere for safekeeping, like your notes app, until you’ve done a bit more of the grunt work.
Distil Your Brand Themes
Once you’ve got a better picture of what you’re setting out to build, it’s time to tease out the bigger picture by mapping out the higher level elements of your brand.
In the strategic process, you will have encountered different themes, emotions, lifestyles, services and products that will all make up part of your business.
Start by writing out all of the words that come to your head when thinking of your brand and its customers. What’s your product? How do you want your customers to feel when they use it? What makes your business distinct from its competitors? What is your brand’s DNA?
From here, plug these words into a thesaurus and jot down any related words that stand out to you. If you’re a visual person, dump these into a mindmap tool, otherwise just list these out one after the other to create related word clusters.
Even if you don’t think you’d ever use any of these words for your eCommerce business name, sometimes it’s the process that leads you to something better than you would’ve expected.
Start Mixing and Matching
Once you’ve got a bunch of words to work with, here’s the fun part (or the part you’ve been dreading, if you’re more of a numbers person).
You might be looking at your list of words and wondering how to name your eCommerce brand from here – it’s unlikely that any of your words on their own are enough to tick all the boxes, but when you start putting the words together? That’s where the magic can happen.
• Add prefixes and suffixes to your words, ala Shopify or food delivery service Dinnerly.
• Try spelling them in a different way, like Tumblr or Fiverr (but not *too* differently – those brand names with no vowels will probably fall out of favour soon, and they’re hard to remember).
• Smush them together, like Instagram.
• Look at other languages, like Asana, who took their name from the Sanskrit word referring to the centred pose of a yogi.
Once you’ve created a new list of name ideas, repeat the process with these. Follow any garden paths that come up – this is one task where getting distracted could work very much in your favour.
Launching an eCommerce brand is rarely a linear process, and naming your business is no exception.
Do Your Due Diligence
Hopefully, after a few hours of brainstorming and a few days to mull things over, you’ll at worst have a shortlist of options you’re considering, and at best have a potential name that you’re trying on for size.
Before you go all in and start getting your branding designed, there’s a bit of housekeeping to be done.
The biggest no-brainer – make sure there’s not already a business with that name (at least not in a similar industry) and that you’re not setting yourself up for copyright issues down the road.
The number of annual trademark filings has exploded by over 230% in the last decade, so you’ll be facing increased competition no matter what your industry is.
Here in Australia, you can search ASIC’s database to make sure your potential name has the green light. It will also let you know if any businesses have similar names, so you don’t run into the same issue if you decide to make some tweaks.
It’s also a good idea to check IP Australia to make sure your future business isn’t infringing on a trademark, at both a local and international level.
If your ideal name is still intact after checking these databases, the next hurdle to clear is the domain name. If the dot com version is taken, that’s not necessarily a dealbreaker – just know that you might have to put in some extra work in the SEO department to make sure you’re ranking top of page for your brand name.
Ideally, your social handles will be the same as (if not extremely similar to) your domain name, so secure those if they’re available when you check. It’s a good idea to claim the handle on any platform you may use, even if it’s not part of your initial strategy for launching an eCommerce brand – big name businesses have been caught out on TikTok, late to make the shift to the platform only to find that their handles have been snapped up by other creators.
Once you’re set on your eCommerce business name, give it the ultimate test by getting feedback (ideally from someone outside your family, bonus points if they’re in your target market).
Get their initial thoughts on the name – see why they think you chose it, what it makes them feel, what they assume about the business based on the name – and see if they can remember it in a few days’ time. Memorability is make or break for new businesses, so if it’s not sticking – you may need to make some tweaks or go back to your shortlist to find the winner.
Need some help working out how to name your eCommerce brand? The Natives can help you launch your new business from scratch, working on everything from brand identity and strategy to building a bespoke eCommerce solution and selecting the best stack of tools and tech for your business. Get in touch with us here to kick things off.