France is not only the third biggest economy in Europe, but it is the sixth biggest in the world, making it a popular choice for cross-border trade. With 36 million online buyers, as well as a market worth €57bn, it is definitely a country you should be considering as an international seller. In fact, 10 of the 15 most visited French websites are marketplaces, making them a great place to start.
Should I sell my product in France?
Perhaps I should have lead with this question, because at the end of the day, great stats aside, as a retailer you should only consider selling into a country if it is a good fit for your business. In other words, as with any market, there are certain types of products that will appeal to a French audience better than others. Specifically, for French consumers purchasing from international retailers, the most popular type of product is clothing, footwear and accessories, followed by consumer electronics and entertainment/educational items.
Which French marketplaces should you be focusing on?
Again, this depends on what exactly you're selling, but to give you some guidance, we have provided an overview of some of the top French marketplaces. Do bear in mind that France also have their own versions of some of the leading global marketplaces including eBay (ebay.fr) and Amazon (Amazon.fr).
Here are the best French marketplaces to consider selling on:
PriceMinister (Part of the Rakuten Group)
PriceMinister-Rakuten has over 22 million members and 9 million monthly active users, making it one of the leading marketplaces in France. While 94% of its customer base are indeed French, the remaining 6% are made up of customers in countries including Belgium, Switzerland and Canada.
As it doesn't specialise in any one type of industry, sellers are able to list products in almost an category, making the PriceMinister marketplace a competitor of eBay.fr. What's interesting about this site are the host of benefits available to sellers, which include a branded and customised store, in-house marketing tools to help you develop your business, and a dedicated eCommerce consultant with expertise in your market.
With over 15 million unique visitors per month, Fnac is the third most visited French eCommerce site. In addition to this it is a great marketplace for retailers, particularly in the media and consumer electronics industries. While these two markets make up a large part of the sites gross merchandise volume, do note that you can list other types of goods including office suppliers, baby items, sports equipment, musical instruments and toys, games & hobbies.
The Fnac marketplace also offers sales and marketing assistance to sellers, as well as technical integration support.
CDiscount, part of the Casino Distribution Group, offers goods in a comprehensive range of categories including consumer electronics, homeware, jewellery, fashion, games & toys, entertainment and sports equipment. While the Cdiscount marketplace is currently only in French, sellers have access to multilingual account managers. In addition, merchants have the option to fulfil their orders through the site's "C Logistique" service.
LEARN MORE: Marketplace Focus Guide - Cdiscount
As the leading fashion and home eCommerce site in France, with over 9.2 million unique monthly visitors, La Redoute is a great site to consider if you are selling fashion or homeware goods. More specifically, the La Redoute marketplace is popular typically amongst women between the ages of 26 and 35, making it a great platform for targeting an extensive, young, female customer base.
When selling on La Redoute, there are a few things you need to consider. Firstly, all listings and product descriptions must be in French, and must be professionally translated. In addition, you should be able to provide customer service in French, as well as a toll-free or local rate number for customers to contact you on.
Tips for selling in France
Local language is key - While 45% of French eCommerce consumers are happy to shop from international retailers, there is a common expectation that both listings and customer service is provided in the local language. For this reason, we would suggest finding a good translation provider to ensure your listings are of good quality.
Extend delivery options - An increasing number of French buyers expect the option to be able to collect their orders from local stores, so you should be able to offer this as an option. In addition, there is a preference for free delivery, so if you can offer this you should. An effective way to provide this is by offering it for a minimum order value, for example free delivery on orders over €40.
It's also worth keeping in mind that the French only really use La Poste, which is their equivilant to Royal Mail, therefore regardless of which logistics provider you use in the UK, it is very likely that they will recieve it with La Poste.
Compete on price - When selling into France, pricing should be taken very seriously as cost will be a huge factor in the consumers purchasing decision. French customers also expect special offers and discounts, and for this reason we would recommend investing in advertising, something that many French marketplaces provide options for. As an example, 2-3 day flash sales are incredibly popular, particularly in the Fashion industry.
Do your research - Before making a decision to expand into any country, you should always do your research into the market, and specifically the customers buying your products.
Ultimately, France is a great market to consider selling into, and there are huge benefits to selling on each of the marketplaces we've listed in this post. Whether you're currently selling internationally, or only just starting to look at cross-border selling, we would strongly recommend that you leverage a multi-channel sales approach, in order to extend your reach and maximise business growth.