Eventually, most companies want to expand to foreign markets, but every market has its unique challenges. We spoke Pierre Pardies of the French marketplace Conforama about what you need to know!
Across the border!
Many ambitious companies arrive at a point where not much domestic growth can be realized anymore. Their online sales have peaked, and they are present on all relevant marketplaces. When that happens, it makes sense to start looking across the border for opportunities. This is a big step to take, but luckily it is relatively easy to expand your business internationally within the European Union. It is up to you to choose which country is appealing for your company, but every country has its own set of opportunities and challenges.
Take France, for example. With a population of over 67 million people, it is the 2nd biggest market within the EU. And a market that is estimated to be worth around 115 billion euro is nothing to sneeze at. Many of France’s consumer sales are done on marketplaces nowadays. Nobody knows this better than Pierre Pardies of the French marketplace Conforama. Conforama is well-known in France for selling furniture, bedding and consumer electronics. We sat down with Pierre and talked about the French market and Conforama.
What are the opportunities and challenges for foreign sellers?
France is one of the biggest ecommerce markets in Europe, and with regard to online marketplaces it is quite mature. In other words, many French consumers shop on online marketplaces. Because of this, it is quite easy for an international company to connect to a marketplace and start selling. Conforama is a great opportunity for foreign furniture brands, since there aren’t many furniture producers in France. This means that there is relatively little competition in the French market.
The French consumer has gotten used to the conveniences of online marketplaces. The French expect that items they bought online do not have long shipping times and have cheap or free shipping. Most of all, French customers want to communicate in French. So you should have somebody within your organization who speaks French well enough to communicate with customers. Having a French customer service is a requirement for many marketplaces in France. This is something that you have to keep in mind when you want to enter the French market.
Is it difficult to set up international payments?
If you sell on marketplaces, this will not be a problem at all. A marketplace like Conforama will take care of the payments and other financial services like collecting VAT. So regardless of your payment provider in your home country, you can easily connect to French marketplaces. Furthermore, Conforama offers every new seller on the platform technical and commercial assistance while they are in the onboarding process.
Are there any relevant trends going on in France?
France has set its sights on reducing waste and promoting a circular economy. To realize this, the French government has put the AGEC (anti-gaspillage pour une économie circulaire) laws into legislation. This new set of laws aims to preserve natural resources, biodiversity, and the climate. Generally speaking, AGEC focuses on informing consumers to change their consumption habits, phasing out disposable plastics, extending product lifespans and encouraging reuse.
The AGEC laws are something a new seller should keep in mind as it will be enforced in the near future. Conforama, for example, will start to implement the AGEC laws in 2022. This means that sellers need to have a unique identification number, which will be issued by local authorities. A seller would also be required to take care of the resumption of the customer’s old product. Luckily Conforama can help you stay informed and be ready when the AGEC is put into effect.
Do you want to know more?
Like we said, every country has its challenges when it comes to selling as a foreign business. But with a marketplace like Conforama you can accelerate the process, and you will be able to sell in France in no time. If you would like to know more about selling in France through Conforama, Pierre will be more than happy to plan a meeting with you. Contact us and we will make sure you get in touch with Pierre!