Why you should launch your e-commerce business in France

Why you should launch your e-commerce business in France

Julie Cauville

Julie Cauville

February 9, 2023

Have you considered expanding to the French e-commerce market? France is a rapidly growing market with a booming e-commerce industry. The French e-commerce market is one of the largest in Europe and has shown remarkable growth in recent years. Research shows the e-commerce market in France was valued at approximately $114 billion in 2020 and is expected to almost double to $203 billion by 2026, according to expert predictions

With an increasing number of French consumers turning to online shopping for their favourite products, this is an ideal time for your D2C brand to expand into this thriving market. Expanding your reach to an international market can provide countless benefits for your business, including increased growth and revenue opportunities. Before you start selling to these customers, you may wonder if it's a good idea to enter the French market and begin serving customers across France.

The benefits of selling to French consumers

From accessing a large consumer base to building a solid reputation, expanding your business to France give you the opportunity to:

A. Easily connect with an international market

Expanding your e-commerce brand to France opens the doors to a new market of potential customers. With an estimated 66 million people living in France, you can tap into a large consumer base with diverse needs and interests.

Launching in France also allows you to reach French-speaking customers in other countries, such as Canada and Belgium, giving you access to even more potential customers. For example, The Hut Group, a UK-based online beauty, health, and wellness retailer, has successfully expanded to France and can now reach a broader range of customers.

B. Boost sales revenue

With more than 41.6 million French people buying online, entering the French market can significantly increase your sales revenue. France has a strong economy and is home to many affluent consumers, making it an attractive market for e-commerce brands..

By launching your e-commerce brand in France, you can take advantage of this growth and increase your revenue potential. For example, Koio, a New York-based luxury sneaker brand, has experienced significant sales growth after launching in France and tapping into a new market.

C. Build a solid reputation in a new country

Establishing your brand in France can also help you build a solid reputation in a new country. Building a strong reputation takes time and effort, but it can lead to increased brand recognition and customer loyalty once established. This can be especially important for small e-commerce brands looking to establish themselves in a new market. For example, Skinnydip, a UK-based fashion and accessories brand, has built a strong reputation in France by offering high-quality products and exceptional customer service.

These e-commerce brands have successfully launched in France and are now reaping the benefits of tapping into a new market, boosting their sales revenue, and building a strong reputation in a new country. By following in their footsteps, you too can experience the many benefits of launching your e-commerce brand in France.

What to consider before launching your e-commerce in France

A. What do French consumers care about most?

French consumers are increasingly concerned with the environmental impact of their e-commerce purchases, particularly with regard to packaging and shipping methods. With 77% of the French population willing to switch from a brand whose production methods harm the environment, e-commerce businesses must implement sustainable logistics practices. Utilising recycled and recyclable packaging, eco-friendly carriers, and reducing over-packaging can attract and retain eco-conscious consumers. By highlighting these efforts on your website, you can appeal to the values and priorities of your French customers.

B. Will you ship from abroad or from France?

Regarding delivery preferences, French shoppers prioritise predictability and choice over speed. This sentiment reflects a broader idea against big retailers like Amazon, with labour unions forcing the company to shut down its warehouses for a month over safety concerns and limiting it to only essential purchases.

French consumers prefer to have their orders delivered to their homes, with 85% of shoppers choosing this method. The next most popular option is shipping to a pick-up location, at 68%, and click and collect comes in third at 28%. However, with stores reopening fully, click-and-collect usage is expected to increase.

20% of French e-buyers have used at least one express delivery service in the past three months, making it essential for e-commerce businesses to offer a range of delivery options to meet the diverse needs of their customers. In this ever-evolving landscape, staying on top of delivery trends and offering convenient options is crucial to customer satisfaction.

C. Additional benefits of shipping locally instead of internationally

  • You can make the shipping process eco-friendly and thus, meet your new customer’s needs. Shipping locally offers many advantages for both e-commerce businesses and their customers.
  • Shipping locally also makes the shipping process more accessible and more enjoyable for everyone involved. It eliminates the stress of international shipping and customs, allowing customers to receive their products when they want and need them. This improves their overall experience and increases the likelihood of positive reviews and user-generated content, further boosting your brand reputation in France.

D. What will you need to start selling in France?

When launching your e-commerce brand in France, you must consider various legal and financial requirements to start selling there. This may include obtaining business licenses, registering for taxes, and ensuring that your products comply with French regulations. Additionally, you will need a secure payment system to handle online transactions, such as a payment gateway or an online checkout process. To ensure you have all the necessary tools, it's advisable to seek the assistance of a legal or financial expert who has experience in launching e-commerce businesses in France. This will help you avoid costly mistakes and ensure that your brand is legally compliant.

How to connect with French consumers and entice them to buy from your e-commerce

A. Create a French-Friendly Version of Your Website: When launching your e-commerce brand in France, you must ensure your website appeals to your new customers. A great way to start is to translate your website into French. This will not only make your website more accessible to French customers but also show that you are making an effort to connect with them. Additionally, with over 28 million people in France purchasing items on their mobile devices, making sure your website is mobile-friendly is essential. This will help you reach a larger audience and provide a better customer experience.

B. Build a marketing campaign for the French consumers

  • Utilise influencer marketing: Partner with famous French bloggers, vloggers, and social media influencers to promote your brand and products.
  • Take advantage of advertising opportunities: Advertise your e-commerce on popular French websites and social media platforms, such as Le Bon Coin, Amazon.fr, and Facebook.
  • Offer special promotions and discounts: Encourage French customers to make their first purchase from your e-commerce by offering exclusive deals and discounts.

C. Connect with social media influencers from France

  • Collaborate with micro-influencers: Partner with up-and-coming influencers in France to promote your brand to their engaged followers.
  • Use Instagram influencer marketing: Instagram is a popular social media platform in France, with a large and active user base. Partnering with French influencers on this platform can help you reach new customers and increase your brand's visibility.
  • Utilise Instagram stories and reels: Utilize Instagram stories and reels to showcase your products and connect with French consumers through fun and interactive content.

For example, if your e-commerce brand sells natural skincare products, you could partner with French influencer @julienka_ on Instagram to showcase your products in her skincare routine posts or run targeted ads on the French famous second-hand marketplace Leboncoin to reach French consumers interested in eco-friendly and sustainable products. By connecting with French influencers and utilising targeted marketing campaigns, you can effectively reach and engage with your target market in France.

Frequently asked questions
Everything you need to know.
No items found.