How to expand your marketplace presence in France

Written by The RI Team | Read Time: 5 mins

Traditional French marketplaces might conjure images of fresh produce, wooden stalls and cobbled squares - but today, French shoppers are more likely to flock to online marketplaces. 

35% of French consumers make purchases on marketplaces and 63% consider marketplaces the most convenient way to shop online. What’s more, 90% of French shoppers expect to increase their marketplace shopping in the future. 

However, to take advantage of favourable selling conditions, you have to find the right platforms and adapt to local nuances. Here’s how. 


France marketplaces overview

With 51 million online shoppers, France is the second largest ecommerce market in the EU after Germany and boasts a broad range of online marketplaces. Amazon.fr is, unsurprisingly, at the top of the marketplace food chain attracting 30 million unique visitors per month and 22% of the market share. But the French marketplace appetite goes well beyond Amazon with the likes of Cdiscount (general), Leroy Merlin (home and garden), Decathlon (sports and outdoor) and Fnac (entertainment) also boasting millions of monthly visitors. 

But to get your products in front of the right French audience and expand your marketplace presence, you need a bespoke French marketplace strategy. 

1) Focus on short-term goals

Increasing revenue and profits may be your longer-term aim, but it’s important to prioritise your short-term (1-2 years) objectives first. This will help you decide which online French marketplaces are most-suited to your needs. 

In particular, look at the suitability and viability (and eventually profitability) of marketplaces to your goals. 

  • Suitability. Be it spreading brand awareness in France, gathering French market intelligence before a new product launch or clearing old stock before the new season’s range comes out, create a list of key objectives for the French market. 

  • Viability. From Alpine villages to oceanfront towns, dense urban centres to rural French hamlets, France is a diverse country of 68 million. Before expanding into France, you need to think about the viability of delivery & returns, order fulfilment and national selling regulations across metropolitan France and its 13 overseas territories. 

  • Profitability. There’s no point pursuing your short-term objectives if there’s no path to eventual profitability. For example, if short-term costs for warehousing, delivery and marketing are too high for your business, it may be worth pursuing other objectives. 

Check out our blog for more in-depth advice on suitability, viability and profitability. 


2) Shortlist marketplaces according to your objectives

From specialist sports (Colizey) and two-wheeled adventures (Alltricks) to home improvement (ManoMano) and home furnishings (La Redoute), there’s a wide range of general and sector-specific marketplaces in France. To find the channels most compatible with your objectives, create a ranked marketplace shortlist based on financial, product, regulatory and operational factors. 

  • Financial. Be it monthly fees and product commission rates or order fulfilment and on-platform advertising spend, compare the key financial costs associated with selling on French marketplaces. 

  • Product. To find your audience quickly, scout out marketplaces that specialise in your product types, such as Darty for household appliances and consumer electronics. 

  • Regulatory. From listing product content in French to paying the right French VAT rate for your goods (there are four VAT rates in France), consider the marketplaces’ own selling rules and national regulations. For example, under French law, online sellers are responsible for delayed or damaged parcels. 

  • Operational. Would you prefer to process an order in-house or outsource some or all aspects to a third party? Your operational preference will be a clear dividing line when comparing marketplaces. 

Remember: even if you sell on ebay.co.uk or Amazon.de, the French entities are likely to have different costs and rules, and require specific selling accounts for the French site. 

Read this blog to help you choose the right marketplaces in France.  


3) Localise for the French market

French marketplaces and customers don’t operate like their UK, German or US counterparts. To expand your marketplace presence successfully in France, adapting your approach for local French nuances is crucial. Here are five areas to think about. 

  • Language. Fiercely protective of their language and culture, it’s no surprise that most French marketplaces require sellers to provide product listings (and sometimes customer support) in French - the language used by 96% of online shoppers.

  • Content. Simply translating your English product listings and adding French subtitles to promotional videos is not enough. The content of your product listings should speak to French shoppers by using French expressions, relatable images, and keywords that French consumers use. 

  • Measurements. In France, the vast majority of online shoppers use the metric system with celsius, litres, grams and kilometres the measurements of choice. For garment sellers, remember to use European shoe sizes and check that your standards for collar, waist or sleeve length align with French definitions. 

  • Deliveries & returns. Less than a quarter of French shoppers are willing to pay for returns, but French shoppers are also more willing to wait longer for a delivery (3-5 days). As such, create a delivery and returns policy that is suited to the local market’s preferences. 

  • Pricing and payments. Yes, French customers use euros, but your products should also be competitively priced (i.e. most French shoppers are looking online for a bargain, so research the prices of similar products on French marketplaces) and purchasable via preferred payment methods (i.e. 38% of French e-commerce shoppers use their phones, so enabling digital wallets is a must). 

For more information on localisation, check out how to nail your marketplace location strategy and optimise product listings for local marketplaces.  


Seek French marketplace expertise

From cinema and literature to music and cuisine, France is renowned for its distinct culture and French marketplaces have their own unique way of operating too. For advice on selecting the right French marketplaces for your objectives or localising your products for the French market, get in touch with Rich Insight. 

Back to Resources

How to expand your marketplace presence in France

Blog Comments

Want to make the most of your global marketplace opportunities?

Discover what Rich Insight can do for you.

Fill out the form and we’ll be in touch!