Britain and France are close cousins, and as such, share similar tastes in retail.
Over the past ten years, UK companies have not only been cracking the French market, but also thriving in it, and this is largely due to e-commerce. There are plenty of opportunities to be discovered when you build an online presence in France. In this blog, we take a look at seven British brands that have established a strong presence in the French market and learn from their success.
With its headquarters in London – a European fashion capital, the Farfetch team work to curate a selection of independent international fashion boutiques and make them available on its e-commerce platform. The company is rapidly expanding to areas like the US, Brazil and Asia, but it has created a dedicated fanbase in France. Often listed as one of the top-ranking European e-marketplaces for cross-border sales, Farfetch has been well received by French customers.
Farfetch relies on a smart logistical process that utilises multiple mini warehouses. The company uses drop shipping to minimise inventory costs and can therefore invest more in developing its brand.
Boots, the much loved British chemist, ships to France. Customers can enjoy the pharmaceuticals, health products, toiletries, cosmetics and electrical goods that are available in the UK by ordering them online and paying £9.99 for delivery. Delivery takes about five working days, and customers can collect points on their Boots Advantage Card just as they would in Britain.
Next isn't new to the international retail scene. The clothing, footwear, and home product brand has around 200 stores across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
For French customers ordering directly from Next's website, there is no delivery charge on orders over EUR35. Home delivery is available, and buyers can track their parcel online for added reassurance.
John Lewis caters to its international audiences by offering international shipping. While some items may not be available, French customers can purchase most of their favourite products online and expect to have them delivered within two to five days at a reasonable charge of £7.50.
Asos is an online fashion retailer that enjoys great success in the UK and abroad. Since the company has never had a physical store, their focus is always on optimising the online buying experience, and French customers are fully on board.
All the perks available to British customers are also open to French customers, with a standard delivery charge or free delivery on orders over EUR 42.00. Next day and nominated day deliveries are also available, as well as click and collect. There's also a Premier delivery service for France, just like there is in the UK, whereby customers can pay an annual fee of EUR15.00 to get unlimited next-working-day delivery. The success behind Asos lies not only with their products but also with their warehousing and delivery strategy that helps them to fulfil international orders within 48 hours. All of these factors, combined with a localised website drive growth in countries like France and beyond.
Marks & Spencer
Marks & Spencer relaunched its French website in 2011 and returned to the market with a combined store and e-commerce presence. The French language website makes it easy for French customers to choose from the wide range of products that M&S is well known and loved for and have the items delivered to their homes. M&S food stores operate throughout France; however, for customers wanting to purchase their fashion and home items, the retailer's website is the only point of sale.
With over 510 stores worldwide, you'd be hard pressed to find a market that this British multinational retailer hasn't tried to expand into. Popular with younger fashion buyers, Topshop works with high-fashion brands and celebrities to create acclaimed collections that customers love. Topshop opened its first outlet in Paris in 2013 and also has a dedicated French language website for its francophone audience.
The commonalities between these brands are easy to identify. Each has a tailored website in the French language that immediately appeals to francophones. These companies have developed reliable logistics strategies that give customers the confidence to order online, knowing that their goods will be delivered at a reasonable price. If you’re interested in expanding into the French market, we invite you to speak with one of our experts. As one of France’s most recognisable courier brands, we provide added value to our customers and ensure that your order fulfilment strategy is always on par with the best cross-border business in the world.