France is the third biggest economy in Europe, but it is the seventh-largest worldwide, making it an attractive and popular market for cross-border trade.
If you're looking to take your products international, then look no further. The e-commerce industry in France is projected to reach a whopping $203.5 billion by 2025, and already their shoppers are digitally savvy, with 70.7% of the population shopping online in 2020 and growing further into 2021 and 2022.
So what should you consider before entering the French market, and what is France’s best e-commerce platform for small business owners?
What are the top e-commerce sites in France?
PriceMinister has over 10 million active users, making it one of the most popular marketplaces in the country. The platform doesn't specialise in any one industry within e-commerce, so listings of all types are accepted. In addition, any category of products can be found, which makes it a direct competitor of eBay.fr.
There are no monthly fees to join the platform, and the commission paid on sales is between 4-22%.
There are a lot of benefits to sellers on this platform, such as; a custom storefront that can support your brand awareness, marketing tools to advertise, and dedicated e-commerce consultants that can share their expertise with you and help you develop your business even further.
The fourth most visited e-commerce site in France in 2021 was eBay.fr. This is another popular site worth considering, especially if you're already selling on your domestic eBay counterpart.
The international selling settings allow you to list your products directly on the French site and create listings in the local language, boosting the chances of making sales and requiring fewer administrative tasks to set up.
If you've got a well-established e-commerce business, then it's likely you've considered Amazon already — and just like eBay, Amazon also has its local platform, Amazon.fr.
Amazon.fr is the biggest e-commerce platform in France, generating 165 million monthly visits as of 2021. Therefore, there are many opportunities to be seen by a new audience and be competitive on price with the variety of features available to Amazon sellers (such as the add-on repricer tools on the market).
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This marketplace was founded in 1998, making it one of the most well-established marketplaces in France.
The reach on Cdiscount can be massive as it's such a popular e-commerce site. Still, before uploading your products, you will have to upload some documents about the business for local authorities. The requirements for documentation change depending on where the company is registered in the world.
Cdiscount also has an inbuilt Ads feature where you can increase the number of people your products are exposed to. The marketplace also offers customer service in French, so you don't have to, letting you rest easy knowing that Cdiscount's team will take care of any issues from your customers efficiently.
They also offer fulfilment services. Cdiscount's warehouses are available to sellers who want to use their service, and they will manage and send your products to buyers for you. This could save money for dropshipping suppliers and storage, but always check the details of the agreement with the vendor.
Tips for selling in the French e-commerce market
Now you know where to sell your products, let's touch on a few 'good to know' points that you should consider when making international moves.
Using the local language
Many customers worldwide expect international sellers to provide listings and customer service in their local language, and it is a requirement for several French online marketplaces.
If you have chosen a site that requires this service or want to expand your options, find a good translation provider to ensure your listings are linguistically accurate.
Additional delivery options
French consumers usually use La Poste, their national mailing service (such as the Royal Mail). However, increasingly, buyers worldwide might expect more convenient options such as pick-up from local shops or other trackable delivery methods.
You should consider your providers and look at all the options available for logistics when moving into international markets.
Like with any international sales, you should consider how you'll compete against the more prominent e-commerce stalwarts already established in the market.
One way you can do this is through pricing and sales tactics. For example, fashion is the most significant e-commerce industry in France, so you should consider using flash sales as a method to draw in customers. Consumer electronics is the next largest market, so discounts or special offers could influence your new audience's purchasing decision for these more expensive items.
Many French marketplaces including Amazon and eBay provide options for promoted products or advertising through their platform. So, look at techniques you can leverage to make your pricing and products more competitive.
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