Naming Your Online Store
What’s in a name? If you are the child of parents who name you after fourteen members of a soccer team or even one ‘thoughtful’ Dad who named his daughter ‘Lanesra’ (which is in fact ‘Arsenal’ backwards), then this simple choice could have serious life changing effects! But in the case of what to call your online store….how important is a name and how do you decide on one?
A name can be an integral part of your brand and help to define your business identity so it is important to give it some thought and put in the right research to develop a good fit. Do you want your name to be informative so that customers immediately know what you do or do you want an original wacky unforgettable name? Who are you aiming your business at and what message do you want to convey to them? These are all important factors in the decision process but meanwhile here are some do’s & dont’s to help you along your way…..
Pick a name that sounds comforting, familiar or stable.
Popular online store names include words that people can relate to or are familiar with. A title of initials or set of numbers is a bad choice if no one is able to remember them! A name can conjure up memories and good feelings and customers will respond on an emotional level to your e-commerce site.
Decide what sort of message you want to convey
What message are you trying to get across to your potential customers? Try writing out a sentence or mission statement and then making the sentence shorter and shorter until you are left with two or three words. A practical message from the heart – Could this be the new name for your website?
Target your target audience & conduct research
Know who you are selling to and think in the same way as them! Narrow down your final choices and test them out with a small group of your target audience to get real time reactions and honest views. If you are selling to surfers – ask a group of surfers if you are selling to brides – likewise! They have first hand experience and will make up your customer demographic so value their opinions. Try doodling your name on paper & as a sign to see how it looks? Online surveys are also a popular choice if you know which focus groups to direct them to.
Make your name easy to remember and pronounce
You will have narrowed down to certain geographical locations – of where you will be selling to, so make sure your online store name is easy to pronounce in these regions and compatible with varying language pronunciation and cultures. Ensure that there is no ‘double meaning’ to your name or you could become well known for the wrong reasons! Aim for a ‘snappy’ memorable name for your company.
Avoid spellings that are too wacky
If your customers can’t spell your website name, then locating you an internet search will become that much harder. Be wary of spellings such as ‘ph’ instead of ‘f’ for example. Although successful wacky names do exist already such as ‘Flickr’ this could turn out to be a risky strategy for a new online business.
Try to ‘blend’ two words to make your name
Using a shortened word such as ‘Corp’ or ‘Tech’ added together with another shortened word just sounds forced and wrong. A made up word such as ‘Qualiserve’ or similar cheapens your business and gives the wrong impression to your customers. Also, importantly – do not use Inc. after your company name unless your company really is Incorporated!
Name your online business something too close to competition that already exists
If a company out there already exists with a similar name – customers are likely to get easily confused with your competitor. Better to have an original name on a par or better than the competition!
Allow your co-workers, family, friends, neighbours and second cousins to get involved
‘Too many cooks spoil the broth’ – if you involve the world and his brother you will have too many opinions and people will become personally involved in their name choices. You could also end up with a general consensus name which could become a very bland, pleasing everybody name. Better to have a small team of management level that are familiar with your business making the decisions.
Use words so bland that no-one ever remembers them
Show that your online business is unique with a well conceived name. Something bland and unmemorable will not stand the test of time in this age of social media and new style of advertising channels. ‘Punchy’, catchy titles will be well remembered.
Limit your website name to your local area or county
What happens if you name your online business ‘Bedford Graphics’ but then expand out of the area? Restricting yourself geographically is unwise and customers are unlikely to look for you if it seems that you only specialise in one area. Use a ‘portable’ name that will grow and expand with your company.
Make the name so obscure that customers don’t even know that it means something
Just because your online store has some cute meaning to you it doesn’t follow that your customers will share the sentiment. Try to tie in the name with your online business so that it has an obvious meaning to new customers.
Finally, try to understand what message you want to convey and always be mindful of your customers. Names can always be ‘tweaked’ slightly if you do find that your original choice is not working for you or you need to update your image or demographic – take for example ‘Kentucky Fried Chicken’ now known only as ‘KFC’.
Just don’t try to name your online store after a whole soccer team!!