What do i need to know to start selling our products in france

Question posted by Melanie Davies, on behalf of Foremost Magnets in OX7

We are a trade only supplier of promotional fridge magnets that are based in the UK, we are looking at expanding this to selling to promotional sourcing companies in france, but dont know where to start, what do i need to know, where can i get advice on all aspects of this??

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Nicola Carmyllie, on behalf of One Global in BD18.

Hi Melanie

You will need translation at some point so we can help with that - when you're ready just drop me a line.

Thanks, Nicola

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James Behan, on behalf of Reneport ltd in London.

Hi Melanie,

Correct me if I'm wrong, You need a representative in France who will generate orders from different businesses. You will then manufacture the magnets in the UK and send to the end user in France.

If this is the case we can assist in the process of finding suitable partners. We are also Oxfordshire based. I'd be happy to answer any more questions you might have.


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Paul Clist, on behalf of translationexpert.co.uk in BS48.


Another offer of a Translation Service which may or may not be of interest (!)
I lived and worked in France for 4 years so have a good working knowledge of French Business etiquette which may be of use to you.
There is an organistaion called UBIFRANCE which has around 20 offices in most "regions" with one or two staff whose objective is to help local companies develop their business. They are a usefeul contact over and above the usual chambr of commerce etc to generate fresh business.
In the UK Business Link are a good basic source of info.

Good Luck,


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Hi Melanie,

Following my colleague Matthew's message above, I thought I would send you a message to say that I am one of the Deputy Trade Advisers here in France who would be happy to help if you have any questions.

As mentioned above, you may wish to find an agent or representative who will be able to promote your business and source potential customers. However, have you done any market research into the French market or have you already done some business here? You might want to visit a couple of trade fairs in France which would give you an idea of the market and also identify potential partners and customers.

At the end of 2012, the promotional communication (promotional products) sector was worth €1.372 billion in France. Despite a 2% drop compared to 2011, promotional products are still considered an important marketing tool. As seen in a recent study by 2FPCO (the French promotional products federation) 81% of French people remember the brand associated with objects they have received and kept.

Salon Premium Sourcing
Next edition: September 2014 in Paris
Tradeshow dedicated to professionals with a meet the buyer element.

Salon CTCO
Next edition: 4-6 February 2014 in Lyon
Tradeshow dedicated to professionals.

Please do not hesitate to contact me by email Justine.Barker@fco.gov.uk if you would like to chat about the French market in more detail.

Kind regards,
Justine Barker

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Sarah Carroll, on behalf of Grow Global Limited in BN1.

Dear Melaine

Great to hear that you're looking to export your fridge magnets to France and perhaps into other markets.

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) offers a service called the Export Communications Review (ECR) which can help you to optimise your website for international trade, making you visible in search engines in France. This will help you to generate new leads and sales online, as well as finding new promotional sourcing companies in France.

I am the accredited ECR consultant for UKTI in London and the South East If you'd like to find out more, please take a look at www.growglobal.com under Services or send us an email to ecr@growglobal.com.

Good luck with your international plans!


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Bryony Porcas, on behalf of Flo-FX in E1.

Hi Malanie,

My name is Bryony and I work for a company called Flo-FX. We are able to beat corporate bank rates on foreign currency exchange. Due to the fact we are a trading name of Ebury Partners (whose turnover last year was in the region of £1bn), we have virtually no overheads and so can substantially undercut banks and competitors. We carry out all the necessary KYC checks in line with FCA regulations and maintain a fervent desire to ensure all our clients receive the fastest, most efficient service possible.

Please send me an email on b.porcas@flo-fx.com or visit our website at www.flo-fx.com for more information.

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Hello Melanie,

Selling B2B and B2C (online) is quite different. Clients are not looking for the same level of information and services. What are your looking for ? Finding distributors ? Or selling direct to consumer online ?

Lately, we’ve worked on promoting foreign company in France both on B2B aspect, and B2C. Here is what i find important on each type of clients :

B2B : need to create professional sales document and organize 1to 1 meetings in France. French professionals can be « afraid » of foreign providers and showing that you are taking the time to travel and meet them will be strongly appreciated. Their English level is not always best, to you’ll need to speak French are be accompanied by someone who speaks the language and can be the intermediary. Get prepared to answer questions on shipment prices and timing, import taxes, VAT issues, client service, guarantees. Also make sure your prices are aligned on the market offer in France (if you are higher or lower, you’ll need to explain why). Try to be as transparent as possible and explain you are looking for a long lasting partnership.

B2C : if online selling is the unique entry point, translation of your website in he local language is important, but it’s rarely « enough », you need to provide the client service that goes with it and also make sur your online research visibility. You might also want to consider advertising online, or a PR strategy to inform the specialized press of your entry on the French market and what your « added value » is.

I’ve written a few articles on this subject on my blog, which you can read here :
- 4 reasons your export marketing strategy is failing : http://www.my-french-communication-agency.com/4-reasons-export-marketing-strategy-failing/
- Preparing your website for international e-commerce : http://www.my-french-communication-agency.com/international-e-commerce/

I’d be glad to talk to you over the phone if you wish.


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