Generally speaking, when most people think of e-commerce, they think of the purchase of goods or services by use of the internet. However, there is a more specific way to refer to the type of online transaction by the means of mentioning which e-commerce category the transfer falls under. There are six basic types of e-commerce — Business-to-Business (B2B), Business-to-Consumer (B2C), Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C), Consumer-to-Business (C2B), Business-to-Administration (B2A) and Consumer-to-Administration (C2A) — and all of them represent a different purchasing dynamic.
B2B e-commerce refers to all electronic transactions of goods and sales that are conducted between two companies. This type of e-commerce typically explains the relationship between the producers of a product and the wholesalers who advertise the product for purchase to consumers. Sometimes this allows wholesalers to stay ahead of their competition.
Perhaps the most common form of e-commerce, B2C e-commerce deals with electronic business relationships between businesses and consumers. Many people enjoy this avenue of e-commerce because it allows them to shop around for the best prices, read customer reviews and often find different products that they wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to in the retail world. This e-commerce category also enables businesses to develop a more personalized relationship with their customers.
This level of e-commerce encompasses all electronic transactions that take place between consumers. Generally, these transactions are provided by online platforms (such as PayPal), but often are conducted through the use of social media networks (Facebook marketplace) and websites (Craigslist).
Not the most traditional form of e-commerce, C2B e-commerce is when a consumer makes their services or products available for companies to purchase. An example of this would be a graphic designer customizing a company logo or a photographer taking photos for an e-commerce website.
This e-commerce category refers to all transactions between companies and public administration. This is an area that involves many services, particularly in areas such as social security, employment and legal documents.
Another popular e-commerce category, C2A e-commerce encompasses all electronic transactions between individuals and public administration. Examples of this include taxes (filing tax returns) and health (scheduling an appointment using an online service.
Have you participated in more than one e-commerce category before? Tell us your preferred method in the comments section below.