What Are the Types of E-Commerce

There are various types of e-commerce though we tend to focus on the business to consumer type, or "b2c." But did you know that e-commerce can also apply to business to business (b2b), consumer to business (c2b) and consumer to consumer (c2c)? It may surprise you that, out of all these types, business to business takes up the largest share of e-commerce. Let's discuss the different types of e-commerce, and look at examples of each.

Business to Consumer (b2c): Business to consumer is the most familiar type of e-commerce. This model is used when the business is a supplier, and the consumer is the purchaser. The most common set up for this type of e-commerce is for the business to sell items through its Web site. Usually, these businesses offer a catalog and an online shopping cart, and the business is able to accept payment through its Web site. The consumer then has immediate access to the service online, or the product is shipped to them directly.&

An example of business to consumer e-commerce is Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut was the first delivery restaurant to offer e-commerce on their site. Consumers who order pizzas through Pizza Hut's Web site have the option to pay online or upon delivery or pick-up.

Business to Business (b2b): Most businesses do not manufacture the products they sell. Instead, they purchase these products in bulk from wholesalers or the actual product manufacturer. The businesses are then engaging in transactions with each other. E-commerce in this case takes the form of purchase orders, invoices and payment receipts. Best Buy is a perfect example of a business that sells items not originally manufactured by the company.

Consumer to Business (c2b): Consumer to business e-commerce occurs when a consumer is selling a product or service to a business. In this instance, a consumer is defined as a non-business entity. The most obvious example of this type of e-commerce is the relationship between a freelancer and a possible employer. A freelancer, or the consumer, sets the price first instead of the other way around, and the business decides if that price is fair. An example of this type of e-Commerce is Get-A-Freelancer, where freelancers offer their services to companies who post available work.

Consumer to Consumer (c2c): This business model is one of the most popular types of e-commerce. Sites such as eBay and Craigslist allow consumers to buy and sell products directly without an imposing middleman.

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