Selling in France: Pros and Cons of 5 major French marketplaces

selling in France

French shoppers will spend €100 billion online in 2019, according to new estimates from e-commerce association Fevad—a major increase from €72 billion in 2016. There’s never been a better time to start selling in France. But with a growing number of marketplaces, it can be difficult to choose where to sell and how. Not to mention, consumer expectations are outpacing the buying experience, which means that delivering great customer service is more important than ever when selling in France.
Whether you’re starting an e-commerce business from scratch or looking to expand to a new marketplace, you need to understand what your options are and how they operate, as well as where they differ.
The most important marketplaces to selling in France are: Amazon, eBay, Cdiscount, Fnac and PriceMinister. Here, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of each one so you can make an informed choice. Then we’ll explain how to deal with common e-commerce obstacles and reveal how you can become a remarkable seller.

#1. Amazon 

With more than 300 million customers and 200 million visitors a month, Amazon is an e-commerce leader, also for selling in France.
However, it’s still a competitive marketplace, mainly because of its super-secret algorithm that chooses which products win the Buy Box. That’s where 82 percent of Amazon sales happen. In other words, it’s the holy grail for Amazon sellers and if you don’t have it, success is unlikely.
If you do decide to sell on Amazon, you must first check who your competitors are. And if your products are offered by several vendors, consider using an Amazon repricer that adjusts your prices in real time and helps you stay ahead of the competition while making a profit.
Aside from its dominance, one of the marketplace’s biggest selling points is its Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service. If you become an FBA seller, Amazon will store, pick, pack and ship your products, as well as take care of customer support, saving you time and energy.
In short: Amazon is a marketplace with unquestionable visibility, services and reliability, but competition means it can be difficult to make an impact.

#2. eBay

Once known only as an auction site, 81 percent of eBay’s listings today feature new items sold at a fixed price.
With more than 20 million sellers around the world and about 1.1 billion live listings, competition isn’t as fierce as it is on Amazon, so it’s much easier for sellers to make a splash.
Another advantage that eBay has over Amazon is that costs are lower and sellers retain 5.13% more profit. In addition, eBay only allows customers to leave feedback on products they have actually purchased.
You can sell internationally, too, depending on the subscription you choose. But as eBay doesn’t provide a fulfillment service, you have to take care of shipments yourself.
The main disadvantage of eBay is that its customer support interface is very basic and isn’t equipped to manage a large volume of customers queries.

#3. Cdiscount

With 8.4 million customers and more than 2 million unique visitors a day, Cdiscount is one of the most powerful marketplaces in France. That’s why more and more sellers are choosing it to help grow their e-commerce businesses.
That’s not all: Cdiscount sellers get paid every 10 days. But similar to Amazon, the site does have a type of buy box and you are in competition with other sellers to win it.
The main disadvantage is that its clientele is largely French, though it is starting to grow in more markets. That being said, you can choose to sell only in France.

#4. Fnac

Fnac launched its marketplace in 2009 and now has more than 2,000 sellers, as well as a great reputation thanks to its brick-and-mortar roots reaching back to 1954.
There is no buy box. Third-party sellers’ products are displayed by price, ascending from cheapest to the most expensive. Similar to Cdiscount, sellers get paid every 10 days and you can sell everything but bulky items internationally.
In addition, Fnac recently merged with Darty, offering sellers the chance to sell in other categories, including home appliances.

#5. PriceMinister 

selling in France

Based in Paris and part of the Japanese giant Rakuten Group, PriceMinister is one of the country’s most visited online shopping sites, with over 20 million members and 200 million items for sale.
PriceMinister is not only available in France, but also in Germany, Spain, Brazil, the United States and Japan, and the site has about 5,000 sellers to date. Similar to Fnac, items that weigh less than 10kg can be sold internationally.
Like Amazon, third-party sellers offering the same product must compete for the buy box, but unlike Amazon, Cdiscount assigns it based on price alone.
Although buyers have a delivery or refund guarantee, sellers are guaranteed payment, which makes this marketplace very reliable.

Marketplace prices to start selling in France

Rates are pretty random and you have to consider the type of product you sell, as well as the commission percentage charged on your items, which can vary from single- to double-digits, depending on the marketplace you choose to start selling in France.
Amazon: A monthly subscription for professional sellers (selling more than 40 items a month) is €39, while commissions range from 5–20%.
eBay: Subscriptions are priced between €19.50 and €149.50 a month, plus an insertion fee for ads, and commissions range from 3–6.5%.
Cdscount: €39.99 per month for a subscription; 5–22% commission.
Fnac: Fees vary depending on the state of the product sold and the category. A professional subscription is €39.99 per month, excluding VAT, and commissions range from 6.5–16%.
PriceMinister: Subscriptions are priced between €39 and €499 a month. Commission fees vary by category, from 5–19%.

In summary

ProsHigh volume of trafficLow commissionsGrowing volume of trafficStrong notorietyGuaranteed payments for sellers
ConsCompetitionPoor customer support interfaceCompetitionFrench competitionHigh commissions

Common challenges faced by e-commerce businesses when selling in France

Selling online is not easy, no matter what marketplace you choose. You must have sufficient resources to deliver exceptional customer service and ensure your online store has a great reputation, while growing your sales sales and profit consistently.

  • Customer service

Customer service can make or break your e-commerce business. If it’s bad, not only will the customer never return, they might also leave you a negative review.
Online shoppers expect fast, personal responses. An e-commerce help desk can help you with that, by consolidating customer queries from all your sales channels into one shared inbox and putting all the information you need at your fingertips.

  • Reputation

Providing excellent customer service and offering great products are key to your reputation as an online seller. But buyers will rarely leave you a positive review without first receiving a prompt to do so.
Automated feedback software will help you target positive reviews by sending requests on the right products, to the right customers, at the right time.

  • Sell at the best price

f you are selling on Amazon and you are not the Buy Box winner on many of your products, you need to review your pricing strategy and consider investing in an automatic repricing tool.
It’s worth noting that Amazon’s algorithm awards the Buy Box based on several factors, including availability, fulfillment and customer service—not just price. An automatic Amazon repricer will ensure you never sell at a loss.

Final thoughts

Selling on several marketplaces allows you to broaden your horizon and reach online shoppers around the world. But with more marketplaces comes a greater need for an e-commerce help desk that can help you answer all your customer queries quickly and accurately.
Online sellers choose xSellco’s connected e-commerce platform to manage customer support, pricing and feedback in one place. Whether you sell on your own website or on multiple marketplaces around the world, our 60-plus e-commerce integrations help you centralize your support tickets, improve your seller ratings and win the Amazon Buy Box at the best price.
What is your best tip on selling in France?