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Understanding ecommerce brand building and domain extensions.

In today’s competitive world of ecommerce, only a handful of terms or concepts are as popular—even sacred—as an ecommerce brand.

So, what is an ecommerce brand, really? An ecommerce brand is more than a logo or a tagline or a string of unique products; an ecommerce brand is a unique set of intangible features and experiences that it imparts to the people that engage with it.

Social media aside, a website is the main source of all conversations and brand engagements for most ecommerce businesses. That’s why–now more than ever–choosing the right domain name is a vital branding task for startups and seasoned ecommerce businesses alike. And it is a complicated one, at that.

Although domain names have been at the forefront of the internet for a while now, the thorny subject of domain names for better branding is attributed to the fact that most meaningful words have been taken on traditional domains such as .com and .net).

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Fortunately, the internet has now been graced with hundreds of new domain extensions, also known as new generic top-level domains or nTLDs. These nTLDs are expressive words that resonate with either a certain professional community (e.g. press for journalists and media) or an industry (e.g. store for ecommerce and retail)

New domain extensions: A great brand building hack for ecommerce businesses

Since short, desirable, meaningful names on new domain extensions are usually available, selecting a name on one of the many new domain extensions seems like a no-brainer. However, many  retail brands refrain from pulling the trigger and buying the right domain names.

In most cases, it’s a matter of oversight as ecommerce businesses simply don’t know which domain extension to choose. The goal of every small business or ecommerce startup should be to secure a memorable name on a relevant domain extension. That is the winning formula to build a strong online brand.

For instance, an ecommerce store selling fashion accessories that chooses www.accessories.store will make an instant connection with prospective clients as opposed to picking a longer web address such as www.theaccessorystore.com.

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The idea is to find a phrase or word that is easy to say and spell. Then, the merchant can team this evocative name with a domain extension, such as .store, that defines the nature of the business.

That is probably why Meredith Corp. chose www.magazine.store for its store that offers readers online subscriptions to a host of leading magazines from across the globe. It’s also why Emirates chose to demarcate its merchandise website (www.emirates.store) from its primary website (www.emirates.com).

Well-chosen domain names make for memorable web addresses that people can remember and search for easily. It’s safe to say that one simple domain extension can be as effective as a loud and expensive branding campaign.

The future of domain extensions in ecommerce

In May 2019, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) sided with Amazon.com Inc. in its bid to win the rights to the .amazon domain.

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The .amazon domain refers to a ccTLD that represents Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela – united as the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organisation (ACTO). Acquiring an exact match domain extension is a major feat for Amazon.

While trying to emulate Amazon’s authority as an ecommerce brand will require more than just creative ad placements or a well-executed ecommerce search engine optimization plan or a clever social media marketing strategy, ecommerce businesses can hugely benefit from exploring name options on new domain extensions such as .store or .site.

According to a report by Bloomberg, the first quarter of 2019 has indicated a massive surge in domain registrations with approximately 351.8 million domain name registrations across all top-level domains (TLDs). This stat just goes to show how many businesses, organizations, and individuals have taken to the internet to denote their online presence. This also shows the rapidity with which the availability of names will become a serious issue. Which is why now, more than ever, it is critical to own a meaningful brand name on a relevant new domain extension.

Data aside, as traditional domains such as .com get packed with businesses vying for memorable names, availability of names will pose as a serious issue in the coming future. This means nTLDs will be the only way to go for new businesses looking to bag a short and definitive name and subsequently, to build a strong online brand.

When it comes to ecommerce, new gTLDs such as .store offer business owners the ability to personally brand their online store. And the trend to pick smart monikers will only continue to grow.

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