Globally, the French market is a similar market to the UK’s and habits in terms of business don’t vary much.
In other words, if your products or services are already successful in the UK, chances are they will be successful in France.
With a population of 66.99 million people, the country represents a large, open and diversified market within easy reach of the UK and offers real opportunities to export UK products and services across all sectors.
France’s Top 10 imports (source: worldtoexports.com)
- Machinery including computers: US$83.6 billion (13.1% of total imports)
- Vehicles: $73.3 billion (11.5%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $65.9 billion (10.3%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $56.6 billion (8.9%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $25.1 billion (3.9%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $24.2 billion (3.8%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $20.7 billion (3.2%)
- Aircraft, spacecraft: $20.6 billion (3.2%)
- Organic chemicals: $15.4 billion (2.4%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $12.3 billion (1.9%)
If your company operates in these sectors, there might be an opportunity for you there.
Route to market
Do your research
As with any territory, exporting to France should not be taken lightly.
Doing your market and customer research is essential to verify your potential on this new market and more importantly evaluate the risk associated if you decide to do it yourself.
Anyone who has ever tried to win a new territory in business knows that it can be a costly road. Exporting to France is no exception.
How are you going to break into the market? A robust strategy is a must-have. This plan will, in fact, be a business plan but focused on the development of your activities in France.
This strategy needs to define :
- How you are going to launch your product or service on this market
- Describe if you are going to do it yourself or via an agent or a distributor
- How you are going to organise the logistics
- The marketing and sales strategy (digital marketing/ sales agents/ strategic alliance etc.)
Check your finance
Your plan is going to give you information about the cost to your company. Can you sustain it until the results arrive?
- Can your activity in the UK alone maintain your company afloat on the long terms?
- If not, talk to a finance provider in the UK to discover what options may be available to you. Your bank or accountant are great places to start.
Assuming that your product or service is good and that your plan to deliver it to your customers is robust, finding customers in the local market is the key to the success of your company.
In our opinion, being able to speak the french language is a vital component to being successful in France. Although most individuals in the business world speak English in France, French associates prefer their native language whilst conducting business.
Many UK companies conducting business in France would support that the language and the cultural barriers can represent a challenge, even with existing customers.
In other words, firms that understand that the ability to speak French is more of an essential criteria rather than a desirable will certainly get ahead of those that don’t.
What to do next?
REEXIA is here to offer a turn-key solution to your business. Our French and English speaking team specialises in helping UK business Expand their markets to France. We are here to work with you on a strategy that will work and enable you to succeed in France with close to no risk.