Not Selling to China Yet? Join the French Cross-border Boutique on Tmall Global!

La Boutique France (literally “the French boutique” in French) was officially launched on Tmall Global last October. Several brands have already joined this cross-border e-commerce program offered by Geopost, a subsidiary of La Poste Group, the French public postal company.

By setting up a store on Tmall Global, the leading cross-border e-commerce platform in China, the French postal operator aims to gather “made in France” brands under the same roof to reach the growing trend of Chinese consumers buying products coming from overseas.

La Boutique France homepage on Tmall Global during the Chinese New Year 

Why is cross-border such a hot topic in China?

To answer the expectations of Chinese online shoppers regarding overseas products, local e-commerce players have created platforms dedicated to cross-border e-commerce, widely encouraged by a favorable change in 2010 to the regulations towards exporters to China.

According to iResearch, the cross-border e-commerce business accounted for over 6% of the overall China e-commerce business in 2015 and has grown upwards of 50% annually (versus +26% for overall e-commerce). Reported by eMarketer,31% of online Chinese shoppers have bought on cross-border e-commerce platforms in 2015, and over 21% of the total population is expected to do so by 2018.

A large number of factors explain why the Chinese are attracted by cross-border online shopping.

First of all, they have a strong interest in new brands and products which aren’t necessarily available in the domestic market.

Secondly, products sold through cross-border are often cheaper than those distributed via traditional channels, partly thanks to favorable tax regulations.

Thirdly, shoppers on cross-border e-commerce sites mostly look for genuine products and therefore feel some degree of protection from counterfeit goods.

What is La Boutique France?

With the support of the French government agency Business France (the agency specialized in the internationalization of the French economy) and Alibaba, the French postal company has launched a multi-brand store on Tmall Global accessible at laposte.tmall.hk.

By setting up La Boutique France, Geopost has actually followed other national post operators such as Royal Mail, Australia post and New Zealand post which have already setup national boutiques in the past years.

Several brands are already available on the Boutique France: Arcancil (cosmetics), Parashop, Bioderma, Bi-Oil, Uriage (skincare), Baghera (kids), Regilait (food) and more brands, including some famous names, are expected to join the program in the coming weeks.

Arcancil was the first brand to join “La Boutique France” on Tmall Global

France is late but now accelerating!

Although France has a lot to offer in terms of brands and products, it is not yet a primary destination for Chinese online shoppers who buy from overseas. Indeed, France doesn’t appear in the top 5 countries on Tmall Global according to the latest “Annual Report on Tmall Global Data 2016” by Tmall Global and CBNData. 

However, France and China have recently joined forces in order to facilitate a higher penetration of French products into China. The worldwide e-commerce giant Alibaba has committed to favor the promotion of French brands on its marketplaces and has established a qualification program in partnership with Business France for businesses willing to join the cross-border e-commerce program.

As partners of Business France in this initiative to get closer to the Chinese giant, La Poste group has chosen to primarily help SMEs to take their first step on the largest e-commerce market worldwide.

La Boutique France guarantees the authenticity of their products to the Chinese consumers, and promotes a French “art de vivre”.

As a result, French online merchants now have access to a global selling-distribution offer, which includes the following services: uploading products online, managing orders, guaranteeing payments, prompting brands to build their awareness in China, shipping orders, clearing customs, delivering to the the end consumer’s household, as well as  customer service in Chinese.

As a French business, why should you join La Boutique France?

Geopost offers several advantages, such as:

  • Allowing you to sell in China on Tmall Global and access their 650 million clients without the necessity to get a license
  • Selling in China with a fast time-to-market (within 2 months)
  • Providing a full-service e-commerce operations solution
  • Taking advantage of a discounted pricing on shipping (handled by La Poste transport operators Geopost and Colissimo), as well as a marketing investment from La Poste group (over 1 million € per year) to build brand equity
  • Reasonable investment requirements: a flat annual fee of 70 K€ for a 12-month subscription, 60 K€ per year for a 24-month commitment and even 50 K€ per year for a 36-month commitment (vs. a minimum of several hundreds K€ per year when setting up your own flagship store on Tmall Global and promoting it).
  • Reduced risk of financial loss by adding La Boutique France’s offer to your BPI France export ensured budget

I am a French brand, how could I join the program?

If you represent a French business or a French brand, it’s possible to join the La Boutique France’s program. You are eligible to sell on La Boutique France if:

  • Your brand is registered in France
  • You have the brand’s authorization to sell in China
  • Your products have a potential in China(1)
  • Your products are authorized for airfreight

For more information, feel free to download the full offer from Geopost (in French) and check the official video.

If you are interested in joining La Boutique France, or would like to get additional information, please contact:

  • Thibault Boiron (based in China), Managing Partner at altima° (tboiron (at) altima-agency.cn)
  • Marc Lissak (based in France), La Boutique France Director at La Poste Group (marc.lissak (at) geopostgroup.com)

And follow La Boutique France on Wechat:

(1) La Boutique France's team can check your products' China e-market potential. Feel free to contact us to find out more.

Written in 10 Aug 2015

Thibault Boiron

Managing Partner, Business Development Director