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What is Consumer-to-Consumer eCommerce?

The C2C Business Model: Cutting Out the Middleman 

What is Consumer-to-consumer eCommerce?

C2C or Consumer-to-consumer eCommerce is one consumer selling goods or services to another consumer online, similar to how eBay, Etsy or Craigslist works. This sale is usually facilitated by a third-party site that helps take care of the details of the transaction, usually referred to as a marketplace. Clarity's eCommerce Marketplace platform has been used in such marketplaces for more than 10 years.

The purpose of consumer-to-consumer eCommerce is to enable consumers to sell directly to other consumers without having to go through a middleman, or spending a huge amount of money building and maintaining their own online storefront. This allows the seller to keep more of their profits and the buyer to potentially purchase the goods at a better, more competitive price. Many times people call these types of eCommerce sites, marketplaces. Clarity's own C2C eCommerce platform can be used as a marketplace or in another model, such as a single online store, multi-store (i.e. many franchises connected to a single product database), multilingual-multi-currency global marketplace and much more. Read on to see how you can benefit from setting up your own consumer-to-consumer eCommerce marketplace.


The Multi-seller Marketplace

Examples of C2C eCommerce Sites

C2C commerce is growing with Clarity e-Commerce C2C, C2B marketplace software

One of the best examples of a site where consumers can sell online to other consumers is eBay. eBay is the largest auction site on the web. It makes money by charging a small flat fee or a commission on each sale, often called a commission or transaction fee. The buyer pays the seller through a payment processor, and then the seller is in charge of shipping the item to the buyer. Another example is Craigslist. Craigslist is basically a website of online classified ads. Craigslist actually just helps people find buyers for the products they are trying to sell, or sellers of the items they are looking to buy. Then it is up to the consumers to meet and make the transaction happen on their own.

Amazon also allows consumers to list items to sell to other consumers. Buyers pay with PayPal or credit card, and sellers are reimbursed through bank account deposits or PayPal. Amazon keeps a small percentage for helping facilitate the sale, although the percentage is much higher than almost every other marketplace, especially for businesses, however, their popularity and reach is second to none. According to Forbes, although C2C eCommerce sites may have more competition, they usually have a higher margin due to the lack of retail or marketing costs needed to promote your products. 


Who Collects and Pays Who?

Disadvantages of C2C e-Commerce

One of the biggest challenges of C2C eCommerce can be handling the payments. If the seller doesn’t get paid for the item that they sold and shipped, it can be hard to get the item back or make the buyer pay. Likewise, if the buyer doesn’t like the quality of the item, the seller isn’t always required to offer a refund like a typical brick and mortar store would. Using third-party sites like eBay and Amazon usually help solve some of these issues by forcing users of the platform to accept their polices, which set the tone for how they expect Sellers to conduct business in the marketplace, or they will not be allowed to continue to do business on the platform. Amazon deducts the money from the buyer right away to make sure there is a payment for the item.

\Amazon also has return guidelines for sellers to follow in case buyers do have a justified reason for returning an item.  One payment platform Clarity's used before uses an escrow model (Payoneer), where a portion of the purchase price is deducted and paid right away to the seller, with the balance held in an escrow account, and once the item has been shipped and the buyer accepts delivery, the rest of the payment is released. This adds some protection to both sides, especially when dealing with overseas payments and shipments. 


Scalable to Millions of SKUs

Advantages of Clarity's C2C e-Commerce 


Clarity e-Commerce, C2B provides global marketplace platform for goAfrica

One of the greatest advantages of C2C eCommerce is that it allows the seller to keep most of their profits, reaching a larger audience more quickly than they could on their own, while enabling the buyer to get a better price than if they would have bought the item from a business, since the seller controls the pricing and usually has less overhead than most retail businesses.

Convenience is high for sellers, who can simply list an item and wait for someone to buy it without any additional advertising, marketing costs or legwork. C2C eCommerce offers shopping-from-home comfort for buyers. When done well, a well-designed C2C marketplace is a win-win for both buyers and sellers alike. The most difficult thing about C2C eCommerce, is finding a platform that can handle all of the functionality of a robust marketplace, yet not cost millions of dollars to purchase and take years to set up.

Clarity eCommerce is such a platform. It costs a fraction of what most global marketplaces cost and can be set up in weeks and months, instead of years, and still handle millions of SKUs, with tens of thousands of buyers and sellers. And if needed, comes in a multilingual, multi-currency model as well. It allows sellers to set up and brand their own stores, upload and customize their own pricing for both products and services, report on sales, track shipments, and much more. One such Clarity marketplace is, similar to, but for Africa, within the first few months of being set up, it had thousands of sellers and hundreds of thousands of SKUs, all being set up by the Sellers themselves. 


What Does B2C have to do with C2C?

The B2C e-Commerce Business Model


There are a couple of things to discuss when talking about B2C (C2B) vs. C2C. First of all, B2C implies that a business is selling directly to the end consumer. Businesses normally have some kind of infrastructure. Whether that's a bunch of employees, a physical location, an ERP, an Accounting department or more, businesses know how to run their company and what that all entails. C2C means, like Craigslist, some end consumer of an item, wants to sell that item to someone else. That's how it may have started, but not how it ended. Now consumers, using technology relationships, can sign up as resellers of multiple products, list those in a marketplace, such as Amazon or eBay, and sell them. They don't have to handle checkout, the orders are sent to their vendors who pack and ship the items for them, and Amazon cuts them a check for their percent of the sale.

The only real business they have to do is to list the products, which Amazon has automated with UPC loading, and paying their vendors. Consumers are now their own business. The final thing that rounds out their business is normally a marketing department. In a C2C world, that is replaced with Social Media. The ability to share their purchase with their social media, link out to your Social accounts, rate and share their product reviews. It's all built into the marketplace for you. Do a good job, selling good products and you can create a successful revenue stream without all the overhead of creating a full business.


Global Marketplace Experts

Clarity Can Help

What is C2C e-Commerce?

Well, now that we've answered that question, what's next? Is your business looking for business suggestions to help facilitate a consumer-to-consumer eCommerce marketplace? Clarity can easily design and build you a marketplace to help accomplish that. With more than 14 years and 350+ combined years of experience, our team has built more than 1,300 custom websites for every need. To find out more about how Clarity can deliver your marketplace, request a free quote.

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