How to Find a Name for Your Online Store

Having a compelling and catchy name for your online store gives you an amazing advantage in today's digital world. The right company name or brand name is one of the most valuable assets that your business can have. Not only does it differentiate you from all the other businesses that your audience can find when they're using their favorite search engine, but it also highlights your brand personality too.

A unique name stands out in the mind of your target audience, giving more depth to your small business, and boosting your chances of growth. The perfect name can even mean that you build affinity with your customers, encouraging them to help you grow your potential through word of mouth marketing.

However, there's more to finding the right brand name than typing a few keywords into a business name generator. If you want to stand out online, you need a name that's brandable, engaging, and meaningful. Here are a few of the pointers that you can use to come up with a catchy title and an incredible domain name for your online store.

The Value of a Great Name

Ever noticed how the name “Google” progressively became a standard vocabulary for “search on the internet”?

It has become so common that people are now getting away with otherwise contradictory statements like “let me Google that on Yahoo.”

Admit it. We’ve all done it at some point.

In retrospect, the war between Google and Yahoo has been one that has spanned more than a decade. It has been fought across multiple fronts, as both giants struggled to dominate the World Wide Web.

But somehow, despite increased efforts from both adversaries, one is now valued at $581 billion, and firmly in the $1 trillion value race- while the other is barely hanging on to dear life at $68 billion.

Now, hold it right there! Where did things go wrong?

Well, there are many innovative technical hacks Google has leveraged to position itself ahead of Yahoo. But, since the latter also has its team of formidable engineers, it should be easy to adjust and recover, right?

Theoretically, that would probably make sense. But, here’s the kicker. Google is still the dominant favorite because, among other reasons, it has a name that’s proving too hard to compete against.

Maybe Yahoo would have stood a better chance had Google retained its former name “BackRub”. But Google’s co-founders Larry and Sergey have always had this exceptional wordplay skill. They realized early enough that that name just wouldn’t cut it.

Because, imagine how awkward “Backrub the meaning,” would sound in your office.

So during a brainstorming session, they thought of trying out “Googol”- which is essentially digit “1” followed by a hundred zeroes. The two basic units of digital information. Quite a brilliant suggestion, to say the least.

Then came the most interesting bit.

While they were checking the name’s availability online, they mistakenly entered “Google” instead. And boom! The rest is history.

A business name, undeniably, is the most basic element of an ecommerce brand. It forms the bulk of the average 10 seconds it takes to make a first impression to a prospective lead.

It’s not surprising that psychological science concerned with semantics has proven this on several occasions. The vocabulary and structure of your business name determine the subsequent reaction it elicits.

Unfortunately, choosing a name is not that simple. And even if you happen to accidentally stumble on one, would it be good enough for your target market?

To help you through this entire process, here are some solid tips for finding an ideal one.

So let’s fire away!

Keep It Friendly, Simple and Short

Image credits: 

Our brains were all like blank slates when we were born. A large part of the subsequent learning process was vocabulary development. Within the first decade, most of us were consciously aware of about 10,000 words, a number that ultimately grew more than two-fold by adulthood.

Now, this process is not simply about being fed letters and words like a computer. Each word was digested subconsciously, and our minds consequently developed specific attitudes towards certain names.

This is the whole concept behind implicit-association tests. Even when we don’t realize it, our brains have systematically developed negative and positive connotations about certain terms.

As a result, there are names that sound pleasant and friendly. While others will only make you react like “huh? What the! Ok, next!”

According to a Customer Thermometer survey that sampled individuals in the U.S., 65% of consumers have emotional connections to brands. And subconscious mental connotations, among other elements, have always been critical determinants.

That said, one thing’s for sure…

A name can’t be friendly enough if it’s not adequately simple and short.

The faster your prospects digest your business name, the quicker they’ll be able to remember it, and consequently the higher your chances of attracting returned visitors.

The secret here is starting out with words they can already relate to. An adult native-speaker knows about 20,000-35,000 words. So that should give you quite a wide pool to choose from.

Here’s a breakdown of different categories to help you narrow down to the specific target market demographic.

An unfamiliar or complex name, on the other hand, could end up pretty much like Mississippi. It originally went by an Ojibwe word “misi-ziibi”. But then we coined an even more complicated mouthful, simply because the original name was too unfamiliar to recall.

In your case, unfortunately, people won’t even bother coming up with alternative terms. If they can’t remember the name, they simply move on to your competition.

Should Be Synonymous With Your Micro Niche

Even when you’ve never spent a second on social media, you’d probably have a rough idea of what “Instagram” is all about just from the name.

If that proves to be a challenge, at least you can take a wild guess about “Facebook” or “LinkedIn”.

I, for instance, was not aware that Snapchat existed in 2012. My kids beat me to it. And the app’s logo didn’t help at all, because it only threw me off further.

A bell? Perhaps an alarm app? Then I read the name again…aha!

Pretty much explains why they didn’t find it necessary to include an “about us” page on their main site.

Instagram, on the other hand, essentially combined “insta” from “instant”, and “gram” from “telegram”. To be honest, it can’t be more straightforward. Explains why Facebook only messed around with other features but left the name intact after acquiring the app.

Now that’s the sheer power of choosing a name that’s synonymous with your ecommerce Micro-niche.

Look at it this way.

According to data by Chartbeat’s Tony Haile, 55% of your site’s visitors will bolt out within the first 15 seconds. That means that only a small fraction of them can afford to spare some time to dig around the “About Us” page.

So it only makes sense to start passing the message right from the name and save everyone’s time.

Use Generators for Inspiration

Coming up with compelling business name ideas isn't easy. If you want to make your online business stand out, then you're going to need to go beyond the boring generic names like “Top Computers” or “Carol's Candy”. The best name for your online shop is one that speaks to both the search engines, and your target audience. The only problem is, many of the best names for a small business have already been taken.

The fact that there are already millions of companies out there mean that if you want to boost your chances of success with great business names, you might need a little help. A company name generator, or free business name generator online can help you to build out your selection of potential name suggestions, so you can make a more informed decision for your eCommerce business. These tools use keywords and crucial information about your online shop to offer name suggestions that are relevant to you and your potential customers.

For instance, some of the company name generator options you could try include:

  • WerdMerge: A free business name generator that combines multiple keywords from your SEO strategy into a new brandable term for your own business.
  • Namethingy: A website designed for the new business that's having trouble coming up with an identity for their online business. This site might not give you the right name first time around, but it will give you some useful business name ideas that you can use to guide your team.
  • Namelix: A free and easy-to-use AI-powered business name generator. You enter a bunch of specific keywords from your SEO strategy, and the system will spit out store names that you can use in seconds.
  • Shopify business name generator: Shopify is one of the most valuable tools online for any eCommerce business for a range of reasons. Today, as well as accepting payments and setting up stores through Shopify, you can also use the system to find great business names too.
  • Business Name Generator: This is a website that does what it says on the tin. You can enter keywords related to your business into the search bar, and the system will automatically churn out unique name ideas that you can add to your brainstorming list.

Crucially, not all of the catchy names that you create with a business name generator are going to be perfect for your potential customers and target audience. You'll need to go through your list carefully after you've collected a variety of suggestions to find something that really speaks to the personality you want to create for your online shop.

However, using a free business name generator to access a wider selection of ideas could be the key to finding the perfect name faster. If nothing else, it will act as inspiration for your team when you start your brainstorming sessions.

Be Unique and Original

Ok, we’ve agreed that a perfect business name should be friendly, simple, short, and relevant to your micro niche.

So let’s cut to the chase

Doesn’t this basically translate to a bland common name?

No, not at all. Make no mistake about this process. A familiar name can be common, but it doesn’t have to be bland.

It all boils down to your creativity in working around these two often mistaken characteristics.

Think about “Amazon” for instance. Previously, it only referred to a renowned forest in South America. Then Bezos came along and it became a trademark. Familiar, but refreshingly thoughtful and original.

Failing to be original could have your business suffering the same fate as a small time restaurant in Korea, which was formerly named “Louis Vuiton Dak”.

Of course, many people would assume that the designer company Louis Vuitton would never bother with small fry. That such established brands only go for other large businesses that present a real threat.

But let’s not overlook the fact that their extensive workforces often include in-house full-time lawyers. And since they are not involved in actual production and marketing, the legal professionals possibly crawl around the web for new prey every time they get bored.

The Korean restaurant was an especially juicy target because it had the nerve of even adopting the designer’s logo. Eventually, the original Vuitton won the resultant International Trademark infringement case, forcing the restaurant to switch to “chaLouisvui Tondak”. But that name, surprisingly, wasn’t good enough and the owner ended up paying a fine of $125,000.

The point is…

The name doesn’t even have to be completely identical to attract a legal suit. If it tastes, or even smells like another registered business, you’ll be labelled a copycat. And that’s bad enough, in addition to the risk of hearing from a team of hungry lawyers.

And just like that, you’re all set.

Learn How to Check your Trademarks

Once you've got a wide selection of store names to choose from, and you think you might be ready to select the right name for your eCommerce business, stop for a moment. Before you can begin looking into logo design, SEO, and website building, you'll have to ensure that your title is safe to use.

As mentioned above, great business names are only effective if they're unique, so make sure that you know how to check whether a name is already taken before you start building your online shop. There are plenty of great resources out there to help you. The United States Patent and Trademark Office is the first place that you'll need to go when you want to make sure that the perfect name isn't already taken.

Remember, just because you've found your name after using a company name generator like Shopify, doesn't mean that the title you've chosen is automatically free to use. Shopify and other name generators can easily suggest already-taken names. Before you go buying your to-level domain or splashing out with your credit card on a good name that seems perfect for your business, check some other resources like Trademarkia. It's also worth checking to see whether your business name ideas are available on social media too. Imagine if a company like Apple had its top-level domain, but didn't have the right Instagram tag to share content online?

Namechk is a website that you can use to check social handles, URLS, and domain names to ensure that the perfect name is truly available for use.

Run Your Name Past your Team

Finally, once you've made sure that your perfect name isn't already taken elsewhere, there's one more thing that you need to do before you begin using your credit card. Remember that it's all-too-easy to get stuck in tunnel vision when you're choosing a good name for a new business. You can end up focusing on a title that you like and forgetting that other people have to understand and appreciate your shop name too. With that in mind, you should never invest in business name ideas before you've run them past your team too.

Bring together all the people you can find from your online business team, including your logo design expert, your marketing professionals, sales team, and even members of your target audience and stakeholders. Show them a list of your favourite catchy names and ask them to vote on the brand name that they think is best suited to your company. This is a time for you to get some honest opinions on the domain name that's going to make or break your online store.

Ask your team to assess your business name ideas based on:

  •  How easy it is to say: Your small business title can't just look good on paper. The best name suggestions are also easy to say and share too. Look at examples like Apple and Shopify for instance. They're not just short and sweet – they also roll off the tongue.
  •  Meaning: Do your people know why you've chosen that name for your company? What does it say about your business and the products or services that you sell? Is there a hint to your brand's personality in the moniker, and will you be able to connect with your potential customers using this name?
  • Design: Will it be able to transform your new catchy names into something that will look good in a logo design? A long or complicated name is unlikely to translate well into a logo or app icon further down the line.
  • SEO: Will it appeal to the search engines? Is your domain name easy to spell and find? Is it packed full of keywords that make it look awkward, or is it just related enough to your target industry that you'll be able to benefit from a wider range of traffic?
  • Longevity: Is your name too specific? A title that focuses on a specific product or location could stop your company from branching out in the future. Don't hold your eCommerce business back with names that are too restrictive. Make sure that the catchy names you choose will give you space to grow.
  • Domain availability: Does it have the right domain extension? When you're checking whether your name is available to use, you need to ensure that the brandable title can come with it's own .com domain. If you don't have a .com domain then you might find that it's difficult to compete online and appeal to the right audience.

Choosing the Perfect Name for Your Business

There's more to creating the ultimate identity for your new business than investing in the right logo design or building an easy-to-use website. Having the right name for your small company is how you ensure that you stand out from the crowd online and attract the right audience members to your door.

While finding the right name for your business can be a daunting and often confusing task, the best name is something that you and your brand can't afford to compromise on. Without the right moniker to define your brand, you'll struggle to make a dent in your chosen industry – particularly in a time when the digital world is growing increasingly complex and cluttered.

Don't try to rush through the process of choosing the perfect name. You need something that's brandable, available, memorable, unique, and brimming with meaning. If you can take the time to choose a catchy name that really speaks to your audience, then your company's potential will be limitless.

Have fun sampling different possible names.

You might be forced to brainstorm many ideas, but you’ll be able to secure an ideal one through these tips. And don’t forget to seek additional name ideas from other parties.

Finally, we love stories on business naming and branding. So don’t forget to share the juicy details through the comment section. We can’t wait to learn how you came up with the concept behind your business name.

Featured image 

Davis Porter

Davis Porter is a B2B and B2C ecommerce pundit who’s particularly obsessed with digital selling platforms, online marketing, hosting solutions, web design, cloud tech, plus customer relationship management software. When he’s not testing out various applications, you’ll probably find him building a website, or cheering Arsenal F.C. on.