Many business owners are already very familiar with the term E-commerce. It is the method that allows them to conduct business transactions – purchases and sales – with other people or other businesses through the internet or some other electronic means. The idea of selling items through the internet has been around for quite a while. Many businesses today sell on amazon.com or other online websites in order to bring more visibility to their business. They also have the ability to complete transactions or sales directly through their own hosted website. This kind of sales can often help cut down on costs, but it can also have a lower profit margin because they have to first get their website in front of the right set of eyes. When they sell through an online merchandiser, such as when they sell on Walmart.com or some other online retailing giant, then they can spend less of their budget on marketing and on SEO advertising in order to get their website to the top of the Google search results.
There are many different types of e-commerce. The four main categories are Business to Business (known as B2B), Business to Consumer (known as B2C), Consumer to Business (also known as C2B) and Consumer to Consumer (C2C). This many sound complicated, but each type of e-commerce can influence and encourage the other categories equally.
Business to business e-commerce is two businesses that buy and sell to each other as a company. This could be the manufacturer of a product selling the product to a distributer, or a wholesaler selling a product to the retailer.
One the distributer or retailer has purchased their product, Business to Consumer e-commerce then takes over. This is when an individual shops online and purchases a product from a business. So if a business sells their items to target.com and then a consumer purchases that item from Targets website, then that is B2C e-commerce.
Consumer to Business e-commerce can be the most confusing of the four categories. In this category, e-commerce is occurring when the individual consumer adds value to a business. This type of E-commerce is also known as reverse auction or the demand collection. The best example of C2B e-commerce is when an individual adds value to a company by writing them a positive review of their products. Another example is when a consumer completes a survey in order to assist that business with fine tuning their products that they plan to offer in the future. If you think about it, Consumer to Business e-commerce happens all the time, but since there is no currency exchanged in the transaction, people tend to not view it as a business transaction.
Consumer to Consumer e-commerce has become very popular in the last few years, but it has been around for quite a while. This is when individuals sell items directly to each other, but neither has a formal business model. Examples of this type of e-commerce are EBay, online classifieds such as craigslist or garagesale.com or even the online craft store Etsy.