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  • How does e-commerce work in France? We tell you!

Export from Switzerland

How does e-commerce work in France? We’ll explain it to you here.

Cross-border e-commerce in France - what you need to know

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Be well prepared for French online retailing

If you want to capture the international market, preparation is the key. Without an internationalization strategy, it will be difficult.

With the strategy, you can find out how to increase the average number of visitors from 12,500 to 370,000 with a country-specific website and an adapted offer.

In this blog we give you important information about the market potential in France and everything you need to know about exporting from Switzerland to France.

We will also tell you how to adapt your website and your shipping service perfectly to the wishes of your French customers.

Download country report



Ideal first step: the e-commerce France market

France is an ideal entry market for cross-border e-commerce because of its language and its close geographical location to Switzerland. 

However, this is not the only advantage.  According to estimates, 35% of orders in France in 2018 were from abroad.

At the same time, 413,000 customers ordered goods from a Swiss web shop. Arguments in favour of selling to France.


Swiss online shops have a good reputation

The percentage of people who shop online in France at least once a month is higher than the European average. Yet the potential is huge, as 6.3 million French people can envisage ordering something in Switzerland.

French people consider Swiss online shops to be very trustworthy and secure – 19% of those surveyed would recommend Swiss online shops to others.

Good to know: the average online spending per customer and year abroad is EUR 391 in France.


Read your French customers’ wishes in their eyes

If you want to be successful in the French market, you have to fulfil the wishes of your French customers. We’ve compiled the most important information for you here:

What do French people primarily buy online?

French customers mainly buy fashion items, cosmetics, home articles and electronics online from foreign online shops. 41% of French customers said that they ordered fashion items when shopping online.

The reason is also interesting: the main reason French people gave for shopping abroad was the low price and the large selection.

In addition, French people believe that products from Switzerland are of high quality. Remarkably, these statements are a common thread through in the answers of all our European neighbours.

Cross-border shopping-FranceSource: Country Report France

The Market Finder shows you whether your products are suitable for the French market.


Design your online shop with French customers in mind

Firstly, what are the preferred devices of French women and men:

Device choice-France-Online shopping

Most French customers make their purchases on the Internet via a PC or laptop. However, around 22% of French people shop via their smartphone – and the trend is rising.

That’s why it’s important that you optimize your website for mobile use or possibly even create an app.


The most frequently used payment methods in France

The payment options are very important for your customers. They have a significant influence on whether customers will use your online shop or not.

Generally, the more payment options, the better.

But this is not always so easy to implement in practice. Therefore, first limit yourself to the most frequently used and desired means of payment. Here’s an overview:

Payment options france e-commerce

Also interesting: 83% of retailers rate the non-payment risk of French customers as low or very low.


Mailing and logistics

As you have seen in the table, most products ordered abroad are light and small.

This has a direct influence on the size of the delivery. For example, 84% of orders in France are lighter than 2 kg and are therefore ideally suited for the low-cost letter channel and our shipping solution.


Customs clearance

Only 7% of customers had to pay customs duties on their last purchase – as you can see, foreign customers are not used to customs duties being levied on their international orders, and they don’t expect any additional charges when they receive their order.

This calls for a good customs clearance solution! Customers also want to know specifically what the delivery costs are. This information is considered one of the important arguments before finalizing an order. 

You can find all the information on how to ship abroad correctly in our blog. There we explain how you can optimize customs clearance and thus increase customer satisfaction.


Speed is important to the French

Shipping Speed-Customer Satisfaction-France

If you can offer your customers several options when it comes to shipping, all the better. 

89% of customers say that consignments from a neighbouring country should arrive within 7 days.

However: when customers have the choice between a fast, expensive delivery and a slow, cheap one, they usually opt for the slow variant without complaining about the longer delivery time.


Delivery options

56% of French customers want to choose the delivery location themselves. Most French people want the delivery to be sent to their home.

What is surprising is that in France, 46 % of the French choose collection from a parcel acceptance point as the second most attractive delivery option. This is rather the exception compared to other countries.


23% would like to confirm receipt by signature, while 27% would prefer that no signature is required.



As a rule, 63% of French people receive their international delivery without having to pay delivery charges. 49% of French people would like to have the option to choose sustainable delivery. Find out everything about sustainable online shops and how to use one in our blog article. 

48% would pay EUR 0.1 more for this. 59% would like to have sustainable packaging and 48% would be willing to pay EUR 0.1 more for it. 


Do you need more information for the e-commerce France market? We will help you without any obligation.

Still having some questions? Let's answer them!



On average, 5% of orders are returned in France. The returns rate in France is thus slightly higher than that in Switzerland.

A simple and reliable returns process is important for 55% of French customers. 

Learn how to optimize the returns process in our blog.

To return goods, French customers prefer to return them to the post office (32%) and to a courier parcel shop (32%).

Returns-Customer Satisfaction-Cross-Border-Order-France


Find out everything about shipping to France in the French country report.

Download country report



Netcomm Suisse 2017, IPC cross-border e-commerce shopper survey 2018, IPC Country report France, Internationaler E-Commerce - Chancen und Herausforderungen aus Händlersicht 2019


Are you planning to sell the products on your web shop in France? To help you succeed, we’ve compiled the most important key data for the e-commerce France market. Un, deux, trois – let’s go!