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7 tips for selling and doing business in France

As one of the United Kingdom's closest European neighbours and just a short trip away across the Channel, France might well be the ideal commercial partner for Britain. France offers significant potential for business growth.  With more and more French people using online shopping, e-commerce in France is steadily on the rise.

Data from Statista predicts that the e-commerce market in France will show an annual revenue growth of 6.4% from 2020 to 2024 and is expected to reach an impressive market volume of 57 million euros by 2024. Not surprisingly, more and more British companies are looking for new opportunities to penetrate the French market.

Below are some valuable tips for interested companies.   We have included advice on studying the local market, the importance of localising business communication, and the best ways to introduce a business to France.  We will look specifically at digital channels, SEO in French, pay-per-click ads and communication via social media.

1. Studying the local market and its regulations

Before selling in France, an in-depth analysis of the local market and its main characteristics is essential. The company should consider these aspects:

● Is my product/service required?

● Are there products/services similar to the one I am proposing? How do they compare to mine?

● How many local direct competitors do I have? How do their offers compare to mine?

● What are the logistic infrastructures for the movement and shipping of goods?

● What delivery costs are incurred in sending goods to the customer?

Answering these questions will give a general idea of the situation and opportunities in the French market.

2. Finding your ideal customer in France

After considering the market, it is important to focus on the overseas client, whether a customer or another company. The key question at this stage is: Who is my ideal client in France?

To answer this question, it is essential to understand the customer's needs and desires, what benefits he expects to receive from the product/services purchased, and his purchasing power.

3. Discovering the cultural differences between Britain and France in the business world

This point is helpful for both B2C and B2B worlds, as it is crucial to bridge the gaps across cultures to improve communication. It is worthwhile considering: How your company should approach French clients.

The significant cultural differences between France and Britain; how to move towards the French way of interacting and operating to strengthen business relations.

How an awareness of cultural differences will help your company understand where successful business strategies in the United Kingdom may be less effective in France.


4. Communicating in your customer's language

To approach a new market and reach as many people as possible, it is vital to communicate in the most widely used language of the country. In this instance, the corporate language must be French and should be localised for the consumer's market.

Localising means making the messages suitable for the market you are addressing, using idioms or colloquial French expressions. This will familiarise the British company and help it integrate and blend in with local companies rather than standing out as a foreign entity.

 

5. Testing the new market with digital channels

Before exporting your products/services, you should consider conducting a test to see how interested the French market might be in your company.

For this phase, digital channels are a valuable source. Through these channels, the company can begin to promote itself and gauge the response of overseas customers without having to incur significant investments, like opening a shop or renting a warehouse.

The digital world reaches both consumers from the B2C and B2B world and helps businesses foresee their potential abroad.

On the practical side, to test the market in France, the website needs to be translated and localised by a native speaker; an SEO activity also needs to be implemented in French to make the company show up among the first search results on Google.  It is also essential to start promoting the company through the most popular social networks.

6. Setting business goals

Very often, there can be a tendency to focus on studying the country and overseas clients without prioritising goal planning. Simply wanting to sell in France is not enough to define your purpose: you need to have a clear idea of how much you are willing to invest in France and what you want to achieve.

Are you hoping for more customers from France? Or perhaps to be the leader in the French market in a particular sector? Are you aiming to penetrate the market beyond the Channel to increase turnover while still considering it a secondary market?

For each of these objectives, a different strategy will be necessary.

 

7. Rely on experts

To successfully sell abroad, the company needs to rely on professionals who know the particular market well and have experience dealing with it.

For over 15 years, Mintense has supported companies that go abroad with a targeted program on digital channels.

Furthermore, to engage fully in the various markets, Mintense has opened branches in the United Kingdom and France and is preparing to open others in Europe to become the expert Performance Marketing agency on a European level.



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