Growth
5 mins

Online marketplaces: Expanding your brand’s reach in France

Online marketplaces are a powerful tool for growing your online business. This guide will help you discover the most popular online marketplaces in France.

woman scrolls her phone looking at online marketplaces
Written by
Nicola Stebbing
Published on
August 16, 2022

Online marketplaces are a powerful tool for growing your online business. The world’s largest online marketplaces attract over 1 billion shoppers per month. That’s one of the main reasons why more and more online retailers are choosing to sell their products on these popular shopping sites.

Choosing the right online marketplaces for your brand depends on multiple factors, including: 

  • Which types of products you sell
  • Which regions and markets you want to target
  • The pros and cons of working with each marketplace
  • How to manage your logistics when selling through a marketplace

To maximise your profits when selling through marketplaces, it’s important to understand how each platform operates. 

In this guide, we break down:

  • What are online marketplaces?
  • Why sell on an online marketplace?
  • Advantages of selling on an online marketplace
  • Disadvantages of selling on an online marketplace
  • Top 5 e-commerce marketplaces in France

What are online marketplaces?

Online marketplaces are shopping websites that allow multiple retailers to sell their products side by side. As a retailer, you pay a fee for selling your products and you must follow the rules set by the marketplace.

Today, 44% of online product searches in Europe start on online marketplaces (the number is 52% among Gen Z shoppers). This means consumers are no longer even searching on Google for a product, they are just going directly to Amazon, eBay or the marketplace of their choice.

Why sell on an online marketplace?

The European e-commerce market expanded by 13% from 2020 to 2021, from €633 billion to €718 billion. In 2022, analysts forecast further growth of 11%, topping out at €797 billion. 

With this trend towards double-digit growth rates, the e-commerce industry is continually developing new strategies to reach more customers. Standing out from your competitors with an excellent customer experience and top service are crucial. This is why many retailers are turning to online marketplaces. They offer many major advantages, such as:

Advantages of selling on an online marketplace

  • Fast setup: The best marketplaces offer an easy online environment where retailers can easily put their products on the market, without a huge IT workload.
  • Large customer bases: Even if a customer has never heard of your brand, they are very likely to search for products like yours on marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. In fact, marketplaces are 5 times more likely than your own website to be the starting place for a consumer’s product search.
  • Excellent customer experiences: Leading marketplaces have set the new standard for excellent customer service. Amazon alone has probably done more than any other company to transform the way people shop online.
  • Scalability: When selling on a global platform like Amazon or Etsy, you can expand your business to new markets around the world.

Disadvantages of selling on an online marketplace

  • Costs: Most marketplaces, including Amazon and eBay, charge commissions or other fees.
  • Terms and conditions: Marketplaces may impose strict terms and conditions that you must obey.
  • Less brand recognition: When selling on a marketplace, it is harder to express your company’s brand, because your products will appear in a standardised environment alongside other brands.
  • Less control over your data: When selling via marketplaces, you do not own your customer data, which limits your ability to fine-tune your marketing strategy.

The seventh-largest e-commerce market in the world, France generated €112 billion (£93.7 billion) in e-commerce revenue in 2020. Around 93% of the population here are active internet users, and 81.4% of those people say they also shop online.

Like in most European countries, online marketplaces dominate the e-commerce market in France. In 2021, over 53% of French consumers say they had shopped on Amazon that year. While major international marketplaces top the rankings in most countries, France’s top-five list includes a couple of local retail platforms.

The top five e-commerce marketplaces in France

1. Amazon.fr

Amazon almost needs no introduction, as the largest marketplace in the world, many consumers start their product search here rather than google. Selling on Amazon can be made simple through Amazon FBA (fulfilled by Amazon) or FBM (fulfilled by merchant). Find out more about these schemes here.

Though do note, from May 2022, Amazon applies a 4.3% fuel and inflation surcharge if you use Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) to deliver your goods sold through the Amazon Marketplace in France.

Visits per month: 166 million

Category of goods: general

Fee for brands: €39 monthly, plus variable commission per order based on product categories (generally around 15.45% for the portion of the total sales price up to €45.00 and 7.21% for any portion of the total sales price greater than €45.00); Additional fees apply if you use Amazon's e-fulfilment service, FBA.

2. Cdiscount.fr

Cdiscount is an online marketplace unique to France. It is the leading e-commerce platform based in France and the go-to place for retailers looking to sell electronics in France.

While extremely popular, Cdiscount is also highly competitive. You will be competing against popular French brands, which may be difficult if you are new to the market. Plus, the Cdiscount site operates only in French, although English-speaking account managers are available to retailers.

Visits per month: 51 million

Category of goods: general

Fee for brands: €39.99 monthly, plus 2-15% commission per sale, depending on product category

3. Ebay.fr

Ebay is another huge global player with over 187 million eBay users worldwide. The platform can be used to sell any kind of goods. It facilitates consumer-to-consumer (C2C) and business-to-consumer (B2C) commerce. 

Visits per month: 39 million

Category of goods: general

Fee for brands: Starting at €19.50 per month, plus Variable fees, depending on selected services; 4.5% to 12% commission per sale, depending on the product category

4. Aliexpress.fr

AliExpress is an online marketplace based in China. Launched in 2010, it has grown to be one of the biggest online marketplaces in the world. It is known for selling inexpensive goods. 

AliExpress charges no fixed or monthly fees, meaning you only pay when you actually make a sale. This makes it a low-risk platform for retailers who wish to sell in France.

Visits per month: 33 million

Category of goods: general

Fee for brands: 5-8% commission per sale

5. LeroyMerlin.fr

Leroy Merlin is a France based home and garden marketplace hosting many different brands. They supply goods as well as services for home and garden improvements.

Visits per month: 33 million

Category of goods: home and garden

Fee for brands: €39 monthly, plus variable commission per sale

Which marketplace to choose?

Though Amazon is the clear market leader here, the French e-commerce market is home to a range of competitive local selling platforms which, amongst themselves, are almost equally popular with consumers. This gives online retailers a good range of locally approved platforms to choose from.

Working with a 3PL

If you are interested in putting all of your energy into just selling then why not consider teaming up with a 3PL partner like Hive to handle all of your brand’s operations. We integrate with your online store and pick, pack, and deliver your products. 

Interested? Find out more here.