B2C (Business to Customer) Sales: 5 Types and Examples

image of Business to Customer

Table of Contents

Business-to-consumer (B2C) sales involve companies selling directly to customers. Most direct-to-consumer companies are B2C.
B2C is a business term; It was popularized during the late 1990s dotcom boom when online retailers sold goods and services to consumers.

Business-to-consumer (B2C) differs from B2B, which involves two or more businesses trading.

Key Points
Business-to-consumer sales are made directly to consumers by businesses.
B2C retailers sell goods and services to consumers online.
Online B2C threatened traditional retailers, who profited from markups.
Amazon, eBay, and Priceline have thrived, becoming industry disruptors.

Understanding B2C

B2C sales are popular. Michael Aldrich pioneered B2C marketing in 1979 using television.
Mall shopping, restaurants, pay-per-view movies, and infomercials were B2C. E-commerce, or online sales, opened up a new B2C business channel.

Amazon and Priceline, among other B2C leaders, survived the dotcom bust and have thrived since.
B2C businesses must keep customers happy to keep selling. Marketing must be reviewed and adjusted regularly.

Unlike business-to-business (B2B) companies, B2C companies use marketing to evoke an emotional response from customers.

What’s a B2C Company?

Shopify, a major B2C company, allows small retailers to sell their products online. Before the Internet, business-to-consumer meant takeout restaurants or mall businesses. Michael Aldrich promoted this term on television in 1979.

Which 5 Business-to-Consumer Models Exist?

B2C models are typically direct sellers, online intermediaries, advertising-based, community-based, or fee-based. Direct sales from online retailers are the most common. Online intermediaries like Expedia connect buyers and sellers. Disney+, for example, charges for video-on-demand streaming.

Online retailers versus B2C storefronts

Many manufacturers sell to physical retailers. Retailers profited by marking up manufacturer prices. The Internet changed that. New companies promised to sell directly to consumers, bypassing retailers and lowering prices. Businesses fought for a web presence during the 1990s dot-comm bust. Many retailers had to close.

B2C companies with a web presence outperform their brick-and-mortar competitors decades after the dotcom revolution. Amazon, Priceline, and eBay are dot-comm survivors. They became industry disruptors after their early success.

Direct sellers, online intermediaries, advertising-based B2C, community-based, and fee-based online B2C exist.

image of Online retailers versus

B2C in a Digital Environment

Most companies target consumers online using five B2C business models.

image of Digital Environment

1. Direct sellers

Online retailers use this model most often. Manufacturers, small businesses, and online department stores selling products from different manufacturers are examples.

2. Internet intermediaries

These non-owners connect buyers and sellers. This includes Expedia, trivago, and Etsy.

3. B2C advertising

This model attracts website visitors with free content. Visitors see digital ads. Advertising sells goods and services via high web traffic. HuffPost, a popular media site, mixes advertising with native content.

4. Local

Marketers and advertisers use sites like Meta (formerly Facebook) to reach consumers directly. Websites target ads by demographics and location.

5. Fee-based

Direct-to-consumer sites like Netflix charge for content. The site may offer limited free content and charge for most of it. Large newspapers like the New York Times charge for B2C services.

Relationship Between B2C Businesses And Mobile

B2C companies are still eyeing mobile purchasing decades after the e-commerce boom. As smartphone apps and traffic grow year-over-year, B2C companies have capitalized on mobile users.

As with websites decades earlier, B2C companies rushed to develop mobile apps in the early 2010s. Thus, B2C success depends on adapting to consumers’ tastes, preferences, trends, and needs.


A Compare Between B2B and B2C

Business-to-consumer (B2C) differs from B2B, as mentioned above. Businesses use products, while consumers use them for themselves. Capital equipment purchases require company leadership approval. Businesses have more complex purchasing power than consumers.

B2B pricing differs from B2C. Consumers pay the same price for B2C products. Prices vary. Companies negotiate prices and payment terms.

How Is Business-to-Consumer Different from Business-to-Business?

Business-to-consumer (B2C) companies with end-users became popular in the 1990s. In contrast, B2B companies serve other businesses. B2C companies sell online. B2C companies include Amazon, Meta (formerly Facebook), and Walmart.



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