How to Expand Your e-shop to France?

E-commerce in France continues to grow in popularity. In 2023, it ranked seventh in the global ranking of e-commerce markets. According to the ECDB platform, it is expected to further increase by 4.6% in the coming years.

Several factors support this growth. The prevalence of mobile technologies, a broader range of products, and competitive prices are increasingly encouraging consumers to shop online. It’s difficult to determine the exact number of e-shops currently operating in France, but according to Statista, it was 207,000 in 2022.

Specifics of the French e-commerce market

The French e-commerce market differs from other countries in several aspects:

1. Shopping Culture: French consumers have their own preferences and habits when it comes to shopping. For example, many prefer personal contact and the ability to physically touch the product, making photos and product descriptions very important.

2. Fashion and Luxury Goods: France is renowned for its fashion and luxury goods industry. Therefore, e-commerce platforms specializing in fashion and luxury items play a specific role in this market and must adjust their services and marketing strategies accordingly.

3. Competition: The French e-commerce market is highly competitive, with many local and international e-shops. It’s crucial for e-commerce platforms to distinguish themselves from competitors and offer high-quality service to customers.

Buying behavior – what French customers demand

While the shopping behavior of French residents can vary depending on geographic and demographic distribution, there are several general preferences and trends that can be observed:

1. Quality and Value: French consumers value the quality and worth of products and services. They are willing to pay higher prices for higher quality, especially when it comes to luxury goods or branded products.

2. Trust and Customer Reviews: Trust in brands and e-shops is crucial for French consumers. They take into account reviews and ratings of products before making a purchase.

3. Convenience and Speed of Delivery: Fast and convenient delivery options are important to French consumers. They prefer options such as home delivery or local pickup points and are willing to pay for express delivery.

4. Privacy and Data Security: French consumers also care about privacy and data security. They expect e-shops to have thorough measures in place to protect their personal and payment information.

Payment preferences

Consumers in France have various payment preferences, with credit or debit cards being a widely used method. Most consumers have at least one card available and frequently utilize it.

Mobile payments through apps like Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay are also gaining popularity, allowing consumers to pay directly using their smartphones. Other consumers prefer electronic wallets like PayPal or Paylib, mainly because they provide an additional layer of security and data protection.

However, it’s worth mentioning the good old cash as well. Its usage is gradually decreasing, but it remains a relatively common payment method in France.

Logistics

As mentioned earlier, fast and convenient delivery is something French consumers demand. Among the most popular forms of delivery are:

1. Home Delivery: The delivery of the product directly to the customer’s chosen address is a very popular method in France. Home delivery is usually offered by courier companies such as La Poste, Chronopost, DHL Express, UPS, or FedEx.

2. In-store Pickup: This model allows customers to order goods online and then personally pick them up at the store. It’s a delivery method that combines the convenience of online shopping with the option of picking up the goods in person.

3. Pick-up Points and Post Office: Some e-shops offer the option of delivery to a pick-up point or post office, where the customer can collect their order at their convenience.

4. Express delivery: For customers who need their goods as quickly as possible, the option of express delivery, often within 24 hours, is popular. Some e-shops also offer eco-friendly delivery options, such as delivery by bicycle or electric vehicle, with the aim of reducing the carbon footprint.

Largest e-shops in France

Just like in most European countries, Amazon, with its extensive range of books, electronics, clothing, and many other products, takes the top spot in France. However, besides Amazon, there are numerous other local and international stores, such as:

1. Cdiscount: Cdiscount is a popular e-shop in France offering a wide range of products, including electronics, clothing, home goods, cosmetics, and more.

2. Fnac: Fnac is a chain of physical stores as well as online shops. It specializes in electronics, books, music, movies, and cultural products.

3. La Redoute: La Redoute is a well-known e-shop specializing mainly in fashion and home goods, including clothing, footwear, accessories, and furniture.

4. Darty: Darty is another popular e-shop focused on electronics, consumer electronics, home appliances, and IT products.

5. Rue du Commerce: Rue du Commerce offers a wide selection of products from electronics and clothing to home goods and equipment.

In France, in addition to these largest e-shops, there are also numerous small, specialized e-shops that focus on the specific requirements of their customers.

Where to Launch Online Campaigns?

When launching online campaigns in the French e-commerce market, there are several options. Initially, it’s advisable to advertise on online marketplaces. For customers, these marketplaces offer the advantage of comparing products from multiple merchants in one place and making purchases directly on the given marketplace. Marketplaces also allow customers to rate products and services, which can help an e-shop gain positive reviews and increase credibility.

Another excellent option for PPC advertising is Google Ads, where you can target relevant keywords and appear in Google search results or on the Google Display networks. This allows you to reach customers at the moment they are searching for the products or services you offer.

However, we would also recommend launching campaigns for the Bing search engine through the Microsoft Ads platform. In 2023, Bing had a 4.11% share of search engine popularity in France, which amounts to approximately 2.7 million residents. It is likely that Bing’s share among search engines will gradually increase, so we recommend advertising and automating campaigns now. You can read more about product campaigns for the Bing search engine on our BlueWinston blog.

Similarly, Facebook and Instagram are great platforms for visually oriented ads. You can target customers based on various parameters such as their demographic data, interests, or behavior. Facebook also offers dynamic ads, which automatically display relevant products from your e-shop.

Last but not least, advertising on price comparison sites can be very beneficial for a French e-shop. Among the most well-known price comparison sites in France are: LeGuide.com, Twenga, Kelkoo, ShopAlike, Idealo, and Buscape.

Summary and conclusion

Expanding into France can be very beneficial for your e-shop. Just like campaigns for other markets, online campaigns must be adapted for the French market. If you are expanding from a more distant country, attention must also be paid to logistics, which could be a challenge during expansion.

The French e-commerce market is quite advanced and continues to grow. Therefore, expanding into this country could mean increased orders and larger profit.

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