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From offline to online: French babycare company goes digital and finds smart ways to validate new partners for market expansion

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“We found many creative ways of using Semrush—from producing content to validating new partners in other markets and expanding our e-commerce branch.”
Joe Marcucci, Export Sales Vice President at Candide Baby Group

About Candide Baby Group:

Founded more than 40 years ago, Candide is a premium B2B French brand that creates high-end products for baby care and parents’ sleep environment. The company’s other business activities include goods such as wooden furniture and middle segment goods. Candide traditionally targeted francophone countries, but the recent launch of their e-commerce branch lechoixdesbebes.com . allowed them to enter more market segments and move onto B2C sales.

Business Challenge: build e-commerce sales and support expansion to new markets

Candide went online in 2017 when they decided to add a B2C storefront to their traditional B2B sales model. 
 
Launching Le Choix Des Bebes—Baby’s Choice—website was a solution they needed to reach customers directly and compete with manufacturers who were also starting to leverage the power of digital for direct-to-consumer sales.
 
The initial site was launched without a promotional strategy, so its organic rankings, as well as sales, stalled for three years before the company decided to rebuild its site and enter the Google search results with a plan. 
 
At the same time, Candide was looking to grow internationally. The company needed a way to evaluate potential foreign partners that could successfully expand its geographic reach.

Solution: robust site health, keyword strategy and traffic data

In 2020, the Candide team rebuilt their website, migrating from Magento to PrestaShop. Next, it was time to rewrite the content and give the new site a head start. 

They separated their digital efforts into three key areas:

  1. Le Choix des Bebes site improvement and maintenance
  2. Content and digital marketing management (in-house)
  3. Search for new international partners
     

1. Finessing the website and maintaining site health

Although Le Choix des Bebes’ website was fully remade, the Candide team knew their previous site’s performance was hindered by numerous issues.

This time, they made sure to run regular site audits and fix problems detected by Semrush’s Site Audit tool.

  • For the first few months, they did a daily check of Site Audit and explored all the issues reported within the tool.
  • They had no need to set priorities as the tool conveniently split the issues by importance—so they simply followed the tool’s guidance, and fixed all their site problems.
  • Once they reached close to a 100% site health score, they simply went back to the tool once a month to see if anything was wrong. They continue this practice today.
     

As an interim result, the Candide team immediately saw positive signs—the site’s UX appeared to be working better and customers noticed this.

To give their organic performance an even bigger boost, they made sure to do monthly backlink portfolio health check-ups with the help of the Semrush Backlink Audit tool. 

Again, the team simply followed the tool’s lead—whenever they spotted a new toxic domain linking to Le Choix des Bebes’ site, they acted on it before Google could potentially downrank the site.

This way, the Candide team made sure nothing stood in the way of their online visibility, which was amplified through a spot-on content strategy. 

2. Building a smart keyword portfolio and strong content

The key goal here was to use the right keywords and improve the quality of product presentation (though descriptions) that matched the product quality itself.

This is where Semrush’s keyword research and analysis capabilities came in handy.

Some of Candide’s online competitors entered the digital realm long before the launch of Le Choix des Bebes. This made it hard for the newer site to rank for high-volume general keywords. So Candide needed to find workarounds—and they did it by answering the most popular questions around their products.

The keyword research process

The Candide team managed to build a keyword research workflow that they use each time they need to develop new topic ideas and ways to beat their rivals’ in organic search:

  1. Google the product name and check the People also ask section of the SERP.
  2. Create a list of all possible questions about the given product, and double-check with the help of Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool which pulls up a list of all question variations around a certain search term.

    3. Explore competitors' keyword portfolios through the Semrush Organic Research report. The tool shows which keywords a competitor’s page ranks for. This information helps enrich their content with more keyword variations and raise the page’s ranking odds:

Example of a competitor page’s keyword profile

   4. With a preliminary keyword list at hand, they sorted it by search volume and keyword difficulty metrics that reflected user interest and competition level. 
   5. Next, they picked search terms that had maximum demand and the lowest competition. 

As an extra layer that would help to outrace the competition, the Candide team made sure to choose long-tail keywords.

For instance, through the research via the Keyword Magic tool, they discovered that optimizing content for a “high chair in wood” keyword wasn’t the smartest strategy. Instead, they targeted a longer-tail keyword “wooden high chair Scandinavian style”, and saw impressive results—in a little less than six months, the page's organic traffic doubled from 3,000 visits to 6,000.

“Since we started using Semrush, our keywords are much more targeted and we are seeing much more traffic and activity. Hence, our content performance is also now much stronger than ever before,” shares Baptiste Gouraud, e-commerce project manager at Candide.
 

Using keyword research for on-target content localization

At Candide, keyword stats do not only determine the future direction of content creation. They also impact their localization strategy.

The content for Le Choix des Bebes was originally created in French. Therefore, the initial keyword research is also run in the same language. 

When they localize the titles, descriptions, and other textual site elements, they cannot simply use direct translations. And it’s not just because some words, phrases, and expressions translate differently. 

For instance, English has various ways to say “baby cocoon”—such as “baby nest”, “baby lounger”, or “baby pod”. 

To choose the most relevant and high-impact keyword for translation, they use keyword stats from the Semrush Keyword Overview tool to find the best option, such as the keyword that has higher monthly searches and lower competition level.

As we see, “baby nest” is a much more popular term in the U.S. and is more preferable despite a higher (yet achievable) keyword difficulty score.

Monitoring page performance

“We do not want to lose a single drop of our performance, so rank tracking is something we allocate time to every single day”, says Jade Anxoine, digital development manager at Candide.

For each newly created site page, the Candide team sets up rank tracking via the Position Tracking tool—to pre-empt any significant ranking drops and take action whenever they see a negative ranking trend. The tool sends daily ranking updates and sends an alert whenever significant changes in positions occur.

3. Determining top partners for market expansion

The Candide team uses traffic intel to research potential partners and ensure they choose the right e-commerce sites for further international growth.

Once again, they set up a process that helped them to evaluate each potential partner’s compatibility with their brand:

   1. The team does a quick audit of the website’s visibility and performance. Stats from Semrush’s Domain Overview report help to unwrap the key specs: traffic, keyword breakdown, advertising strategy, and more.

    2. If the potential partner shows promising signs—high traffic, efficient digital strategy, relevant keyword portfolio—The Candide team takes its exploration further by, reviewing the site’s UX, traffic generation strategy, and geo coverage in more detail. For this, they use insights from the Traffic Analytics tool.

Thanks to these insights, Candide managed to unwrap new partners in several countries, including Poland, Bulgaria, UK and UAE.  

Results: +79% traffic, +26% revenue YoY

  • In less than a year, the site began to show positive engagement signs—thanks to improved health, performance, and overall UX.
  • For two consecutive years (2020-2022), website traffic has been growing from month to month at around 9%.
  • Therefore, it is a 73% increase in organic traffic YoY.
  • Revenue growth of 26% for the same period.
  • Candide validated several new international e-commerce partners Bulgaria, Poland, UAE and UK.
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