If you would like to sell your products in France, then using an online marketplace could be a good approach as France is the third biggest European online market with a sales record of over 112 billion euros in 2020. Online markets in France rose by 8.5% in a year thanks to a 32% increase in online products sales compared to a decrease of 10% in service sales (due to the downturn of the tourism industry).
E-commerce represents only 13.4% of the retail market in France with the average basket size of 61 euros in 2020 compared to 59 euros in 2019.
Choosing the correct online shops for your business
France’s e-commerce gives you a wide selection of different online shops from global marketplaces such as Amazon or eBay and local marketplaces (Cdiscount) to specialized E-shops, but you need to choose the online shops which work best for your products according to several criteria including your general online strategy, product pricing, your industry and product features, your target customers, etc.
Here I list the main categories of online shops to better understand the differences between the various e-commerce websites.
In general marketplaces, as a seller you can easily apply for a professional account and start selling your products directly to customers.
In general marketplaces, there is high competition between the sellers, so you need to work on the visibility of your products through internal advertisement campaigns.
Amazon.fr, Cdiscount.com, Rakuten.fr, Aliexpress.fr are the big names in this category.
Fnac and Darty could be also counted as general marketplaces, but their focus is mainly on home appliances and media.
If you prefer to work with global marketplaces, it is good to know that there are a lot of civil society movements in France against big players such as Amazon so if your target customers are among those who care for local economy or circular economy then it is better to change your strategy.
If other companies are your principal clients, then it might be a good choice to list your products on a marketplace with a B2B approach. The main general marketplaces such as Amazon and Cdiscount have special offers for B2B solutions, but do not forget to also search for online shops that are dedicated to your industries.
Specialist marketplaces focus on a special industry or a limited category of products. For example Pourdebon.fr is dedicated to local food producers in France so they can sell directly to the buyers.
E-shops and online stores
If your product is professional or the quality and price is above the average, it is highly advised to consider working with e-shops in your industry.
In e-shops we can find a selection of brands and manufacturers so if you would like to sell your products in an e-shop you should contact them directly and try to convince them to accept your products.
Listing your products
The next step is to list your products in your desired marketplace. In general, you need to create an account first, and then the marketplace will give you the required tools to list your products. Listing the product is very important and has a significant impact on your potential sales. For example, in Amazon.fr you need to provide the product details and the search terms based on which Amazon will show your products to your potential customers. There is a high risk to lose customers to your competitors if your product listing and search terms don’t get a good ranking in the marketplace.
Also, do not forget that a correct translation and the use of local terms in French is an important factor in listing your products in all general marketplaces in France.
The registration fee for professional sellers is different from one marketplace to another and, in general, is more expensive for specialist marketplaces. For example, the registration fee for Amazon.fr is 30 euros per month while this rate for Manomano can go up to 100 euros/month.
Once a product is sold, the marketplace will charge you a sale commission which can be different for each product category. This rate is almost the same for general marketplaces and varies from 7% to 15% based on the product category.
Make your product stand out
In general marketplaces, the competition is very intense as almost every professional is allowed to sell products. So, if your products are not shown to online buyers in the search results or the first page then you will have a low chance to sell well.
Apart from your brand awareness strategy and marketing plan, there are some activities that could be helpful in making your products stand out in online marketplaces.
Product detail page
It is where online buyers discover your products and can compare them with your competitors, so you should invest in it and make it as clear as possible for the potential buyers. You should avoid auto translation, poor quality images and unclear description in order to get a better rank in the marketplace search engine.
Internal advertising in general marketplaces is a must if you are very new to a market. For example, in Amazon you have different advertising options that can help you to promote your products and your brand against your competitors
Increase your sales ranking
Sales rank is an important factor that help marketplaces decide to display your products to potential buyers. The higher the sales rank, the better chance of sale.
One of the main indicators that has a big effect on your sales rank is the ratio of order/visits that shows the number of orders that were generated divided by the number of customers who viewed the products.
Rating and feedback from customers
Online buyers usually read reviews written by previous customers, and it has an important effect on their decision whether to buy your products or not.
Your customer support should be timely and in local language to avoid any poor rating. Keep in mind that buyers are mostly unwilling to leave a comment if they are OK with your products, however they do not hesitate to write a bad review if the result is not satisfactory.
Alliance experts can help you sell on online marketplaces
Alliance experts helps companies to enter new markets, and in France, Germany, the UK and Italy we also can do this through our own Amazon.com account, keeping you away from all the painful efforts to get your product listed and promoted. We can also support you with our practical and hands-on knowlegde on other marketplaces, and with the combination between online and offline sales.
You can contact our online sales specialist, Mahdi Hayatbakhsh, bij email or by phone: +33 761650428. Or contact one of our colleagues nearby.