Eric Kebani, Director of Development at Exertis, France recently shared a number of insights into how to do business with the distributor as well as a number of considerations that brands need to take on board when approaching the French market.
Exertis is part of the DCC Group, and has been present in the French market since 1987. The distributor’s product portfolio is organised into four categories - Gaming, Audio/Video, Computing and Home.
Exertis offers two broad levels of service to its vendor partners. The core distribution services of shipping products to retailers and managing the invoicing process, and the value added level of sales and marketing services for brands that want a deeper level of support to engage consumers and develop their brand awareness. Services include integrated marketing, trade and field sales and amazon support. The company has also been developing a D2C model and recently executed a campaign for Netgear to sell its premium range of products directly to consumers.
Exertis has a dedicated in-house team for each of the four product category groups so vendors can benefit from a premium level of support combined with the infrastructure of a broadline distribution company. The company’s positioning is one of being a ‘go to market’ platform for brands to enter the retail and online markets in France and Iberia.
Growth Areas for Exertis
There is opportunity in the gaming category with the French market showing some appetite for more brands and products. Under the ‘Home’ banner, health related products are of interest, and urban mobility is a growth area. Exertis’s portfolio of PC accessory brands is extensive so there is no interest at present to add to their lines.
Why is France such a different market compared to the rest of Europe?
The route to market for consumer technology brands is still dominated by retail. 76% of sales is happening offline so consumers still prefer to do the bulk of their shopping in store. France also has a good number of independent retailers that all work differently, and have varying margin requirements so it can be a complicated process for vendors to get their products listed.
How does Exertis work with potential vendor partners?
The decision making process for onboarding potential brands is very fast, and there are no requirements in terms of company size or years of trading. Kebani shared a summary of the process followed during the Buyer Insider session including:
Establish the type of partnership the vendor is looking for, and any presence they plan to have in France
Exertis analyses the market potential for the proposed product
Discuss the vendor’s business approach to the market
Discuss the vendor’s pricing strategy, and feedback on proposed pricing structure
Evaluate proposed % margins at distribution level and retail level
Contract stage - Exertis is a plc so a standard business contract is necessary
Agree launch plan and strategy
Exertis sees partnerships as just that and the distributor takes a patient approach to supporting their vendor partners to realise their channel potential.
Important considerations for international brands
Kebani highlighted that the margins demanded by French retail were higher compared to other markets so it was important for vendor’s to understand this and incorporate this into their pricing strategy.
Getting the product’s packaging is very important. There are strict regulations in France so vendors need to be aware of how to make their product packaging compliant. Exertis supports their vendor partners with this process and helps brands ensure they meet the necessary requirements. Their expertise covers everything from checking the correct translation of product manuals to GDRP compliance for any accompanying mobile apps.
The full interview is available to Vendor ChannelHub members only via their online account. If you are a vendor and would like to access the Buyer Insider Sessions, register now for your free ChannelHub membership.
Coming soon: Buyer Insider - Innov8