France is the world’s 7th largest economy and its GDP combines with high levels of digitalisation to provide fertile conditions in which e-commerce can flourish.
Indeed, that’s been the case for many years but now a number of market forces are combining to shake things up and drive evolution in the sector. How will French e-commerce respond to the pandemic? What changes, good or bad, do e-tailers need to bear in mind? How are shoppers’ attitudes changing?
We spoke to Asendia's France Key Market Development Manager, Natacha Ranger to find out.
Q&A with Natacha Ranger
Key Market Development Manager, Asendia
1) What do you see as the main characteristics that define the French e-commerce market?
The French e-commerce market is competitive but diverse. It is characterised not only by the presence of numerous online marketplaces but also many other categories of e-retailers, for example, local e-shops. There is a high purchasing power and a developed logistics sector. The French market’s propensity to purchase online is likely to remain high post-Covid, which means there is considerable growth potential for online businesses.
2) What other changes within retail will we see in the wake of the pandemic?
Today’s e-consumers are expecting a simple and seamless e-commerce experience. Some features, such as flexibility on delivery options and returns, real-time tracking information, mobile app availability or after-sales, must be part of the ‘new normal’. Consumers are aware that 2020 was a challenging year for e-tailers but, in the wake of the pandemic, they will be less likely to be loyal if there are still inefficiencies and delays during the e-shopping experience.
3) What else do retailers targeting the French market most need to keep in mind?
In recent years, we have observed changes in online usage and new expectations of retailers based in France. It is critical to be as close as possible to end customers. That means using local languages, providing flexibility on delivery and return options, being clear with things like customs charges, and having a good general understanding of your consumers. Retailers must work with the right local partners, those who have a good reputation and knowledge of the French consumer and the market landscape.
Want to know more?
For an in-depth, detailed analysis of developments in French e-commerce, and to read the rest of Natacha‘s interview, download the France 2021: E-commerce Country Report by RetailX in partnership with Asendia.