7 Types of eCommerce Business Models: Everything You Need to Know

Published  |  6 min read
Key Takeaways
  • An eCommerce business model refers to the structure and strategy that a company uses to conduct online transactions with customers.
  • There are several different eCommerce business models, including B2B, C2C (marketplace), B2C, B2G, C2B, D2C, and B2B2C.
  • Businesses may combine these models. For example, Amazon is both B2C (selling directly) and C2C (other vendors selling via Amazon Marketplace).
  • Finding the right eCommerce platform for a particular business is a vital part of starting a business.

As more businesses embrace digital technologies, it is important to understand the different types of eCommerce business models and their implications for business operations.

Online business models are characterized by their unique characteristics which include operational flexibility, cost savings, scalability, and customer convenience. These characteristics enable companies to quickly scale up or down in response to market conditions or customer preferences.

In this article, we explore all these topics in greater detail so that readers can make informed decisions about the different types of eCommerce, so let's get started.

What a business sells will often determine the business model they choose.

What Is eCommerce?

ECommerce is the process of buying and selling goods or services over the internet. It involves a wide range of activities, including setting up an eCommerce store, designing and developing an eCommerce website, marketing products and services, processing orders and payments, managing customer service inquiries, and more.

ECommerce businesses are becoming increasingly popular with consumers who are looking for convenience, variety, and competitive prices. ECommerce business models provide companies with an opportunity to expand their reach by reaching customers from all over the world.

By engaging in eCommerce activities, businesses can increase their market share and profitability while reducing costs associated with a physical presence in the marketplace.

ECommerce business models are diverse, as we'll discuss below. Each type of eCommerce business offers its own unique advantages to its users.

Businesses must consider various factors when selecting an eCommerce model such as customer preferences, competitive landscape, cost structure, and user experience when determining which model best suits their needs.

Every eCommerce store uses at least one online business model.

Why Are There So Many Types of eCommerce Models?

Generally speaking, the three most common types of eCommerce models—business-to-business, consumer-to-consumer, and business-to-consumer—make up the bulk of businesses you'll find online.

Other business models include B2G, C2B, D2C, and B2B2C, each of which serves niche needs.

Each of these models has its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages that should be considered when deciding which type best suits an individual or company's needs.

The choice of which eCommerce model best suits an individual or company's needs depends on a variety of factors including cost efficiency, accessibility, customer service levels, delivery options, payment methods, and scalability among others.

Taking all these into account will help ensure that the chosen model maximizes profits while providing customers with an enjoyable experience that promotes loyalty over time.

Selecting Your eCommerce Business Model

Having a clear understanding of popular eCommerce business models is a great start to selecting the best model for your business.

How Are You Different?

The most important factor in this decision is understanding what sets your business apart from the competition, and how you can leverage that unique characteristic to make your eCommerce model successful.

What Are the Challenges?

It is also essential to identify any challenges that you may face when setting up an online store and determine whether or not these will have an impact on which eCommerce model you choose.

Which Model Is Right for You?

It is recommended that entrepreneurs take time to evaluate each of the different eCommerce models available before deciding on one. This evaluation should include assessing the advantages and disadvantages of each model, as well as their suitability for different types of eCommerce businesses.

It's important to consider the scalability of any given model and its potential for growth over time. Understanding the potential risks associated with different models can help entrepreneurs make informed decisions when selecting their own eCommerce website and business model.

ECommerce companies should establish which model to use early in the startup process.

7 Popular eCommerce Business Models

As online shopping continues to grow in popularity, it is important for businesses to understand the different eCommerce business models available and how they can be used to benefit their organizations.

Each one has advantages and disadvantages that should be considered when deciding which one best suits your organization’s needs.

B2B (Business-to-Business)

Business-to-business (B2B) eCommerce is a type of electronic commerce where businesses transact with other businesses. This business model has become increasingly popular in recent years, as more companies are recognizing the cost and time-saving benefits associated with conducting transactions online.

How B2B Works

The most common example of B2B eCommerce is when a manufacturer sells its products to wholesalers, retailers, or other manufacturers. In this model, the buyer typically purchases large volumes of products at discounted prices in order to benefit from economies of scale.

This type of transaction is beneficial for both parties as it allows buyers to access high-quality products at lower costs while sellers can meet their customers’ demands quickly and efficiently.

B2B Hybrid Models

In addition to traditional B2B models, there are also hybrid models such as consumer-to-business (C2B) which involve consumers selling products or services directly to businesses. This type of strategy has become especially popular among small business owners who lack the resources or capital to purchase large volumes of stock from suppliers. By connecting directly with consumers, small business owners can save money on inventory costs while still providing quality products and services to their customers.

Through this model, companies can make use of B2B eCommerce software to access new markets, increase customer satisfaction levels, reduce operational costs, and maximize profits. As such, B2B has become an invaluable tool for modern businesses looking to remain competitive in today’s digital marketplace.

B2B is when one business sells to another.

B2C (Business-to-Consumer)

Now let's look at the difference between B2B and B2C eCommerce. This model involves selling products and services directly to consumers, rather than to other businesses. B2C has become increasingly popular in recent years due to the convenience that it offers customers.

Some of the advantages that come with using a B2C model include:

  • Increased customer access: B2C stores are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, allowing customers to shop at their own convenience.
  • Lower costs: Operating an online store is typically cheaper than maintaining a physical store since there are no overhead costs or inventory management costs associated with it.
  • Increased product selection: ECommerce businesses offer customers a wider range of products to choose from compared to traditional brick-and-mortar stores.
  • Personalization: Online stores can customize their offerings based on customer preferences and past purchases, providing customers with a more personalized shopping experience.
  • Global reach: With an online store, businesses can easily reach customers all over the world without having to build physical locations in each country.

In order for businesses to successfully use the B2C model, they must ensure that their websites are optimized for mobile devices and maintain good customer service practices.

They should also invest in digital marketing campaigns to attract new customers and keep existing ones engaged. By doing so, companies will be able to maximize their potential profits and establish themselves as leaders in the eCommerce B2C industry.

B2C is the most popular choice of model for online businesses.

C2C (Consumer-to-Consumer)

What is C2C? In this model, other consumers are the primary buyers and sellers of goods. Instead of a seller selling directly to customers, in this model, customers are selling directly to other customers. This setup provides convenience for customers who do not have access to traditional retail stores or those who just prefer to buy from other consumers.

This type of eCommerce business model presents unique opportunities for people who would otherwise struggle to make money from their product or service due to a lack of access to a physical store or website. It also eliminates the need for middlemen like wholesalers and distributors, allowing everyone involved in the transaction more control over how they price their products and services.

The C2C eCommerce business model sometimes called a C2C marketplace model, has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its ease of use and low-cost structure. Customers are able to quickly find what they need without having to worry about dealing with complicated online payment systems or waiting days or weeks for their items to arrive through traditional shipping methods.

C2C examples include Amazon Marketplace, Etsy, Facebook Marketplace, and eBay. All in all, this type of business model is proving invaluable for anyone looking for an innovative way of making money from their products or services while simultaneously providing convenience and value for customers.

A C2C eCommerce company can take a cut of each marketplace transaction.

B2G (Business-to-Government)

B2G (business-to-government) is an eCommerce business model where companies transact with government agencies on goods and services. It is a growing sector, driven by the need for agencies to use eCommerce as an efficient means of procuring goods and services.

Companies that provide these goods and services can receive government contracts for the supply of goods or services at competitive prices. This model has advantages for both parties, as it enables a government agency to purchase the necessary goods or services more quickly and cost-effectively from online vendors.

For companies, business-to-government provides access to a large potential customer base in the form of government agencies. Through this model, companies can build relationships with agencies through successful bids for contracts.

Government contracts offer stability and are often long-term agreements that allow businesses to plan their growth better. These transactions can also bring a company greater visibility due to the public nature of doing business with governments.

A government agency will employ the B2G model.

C2B (Consumer-to-Business)

The C2B (consumer-to-business) eCommerce business model is a relatively new concept that enables consumers to offer their goods and services to businesses. It is an online marketplace that connects buyers and sellers, allowing businesses to purchase goods and services from individual consumers on a large scale.

One example of this model is when entrepreneurs pitch inventions to potential investors for funding. In this case, the consumer is offering their invention or product to the business in exchange for monetary compensation.

Another popular form of C2B eCommerce is subscription services such as streaming platforms or digital content providers. In this type of service, the customer subscribes to access exclusive content from the provider on a regular basis. This type of service allows customers to access content without having to purchase it outright, giving them more freedom and flexibility with how they consume media.

C2B can include the companies that use a subscription model.

D2C (Direct-to-Consumer)

This model allows companies to bypass traditional third-party retailers, giving them greater control over their product distribution and customer relationships. It also enables them to offer products at lower prices since they are not reliant on a middleman.

An example of this successful business model is Dollar Shave Club, an online subscription model service that offers razors and other grooming products directly to customers, without going through a different online retailer.

Benefit to Businesses

The D2C model offers numerous advantages for both the business and consumers. For businesses, it reduces overhead costs associated with retail outlets, while allowing them to build stronger relationships with customers through tailored messaging and personalization strategies.

Benefit to Consumers

Consumers benefit from more product options at lower prices, as well as better customer service due to direct contact with the company itself. Furthermore, D2C can be used for marketing purposes by creating brand loyalty and increasing brand visibility on social media platforms.

The D2C business model provides businesses with a viable option for achieving success in the eCommerce industry. By offering products directly to consumers at lower prices and emphasizing personalization strategies, companies can gain a competitive advantage in today’s online marketplaces while providing customers with a greater value for their money.

ECommerce stores online can sell directly to consumers with no middleman.

B2B2C (Business-to-Business-to-Consumer)

This model involves businesses selling products to other businesses, who then sell the same product to consumers. This creates a two-level distribution system that provides an additional layer of convenience for customers.

At its core, the B2B2C business model is centered around business deals. Businesses can access larger volumes of goods at lower prices, while suppliers have access to larger markets. Companies are able to build relationships with both buyers and sellers, making it easier to secure better deals in the future.

The third-party supplier is also able to benefit from this relationship as they can access higher quality goods at lower prices and avoid dealing with individual consumers. It differs from B2B in that there can be a dozen steps of B2B before finally reaching the consumer when mining, manufacturing, and wholesalers are considered.

Conclusion: Your Business Plan Starts with Your Model

In conclusion, it can be seen that there are many different types of eCommerce business models available for businesses to choose from. Each model has its own advantages and disadvantages, allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to select the best option for their unique situation.

By taking some time to research the various models and understand their individual nuances, business owners can make informed decisions that will help them achieve long-term success in their eCommerce endeavors.

Clarity Ventures can help you make the most of online commerce.

Which eCommerce Platform Is Best?

Clarity Ventures can help you make the most of online commerce.

No matter which business model you choose, Clarity Ventures can help make it successful. The Clarity eCommerce Framework, CEF, offers an excellent platform that can handle any type of successful eCommerce business model out there...or any combination of models.

Built with APIs in mind, CEF lets you pick and choose the best supplemental software out there. Instead of being stuck with what your platform dictates, you can choose the best software for payment hubs, inventory management, ERP, CRM, shipping, and much more.

How We Optimize Each Model

We'd love to show you how it works. Get in touch for a free, no-pressure discovery process. We'll help you create a plan to get your project off on the right foot.



The best business model for eCommerce depends on the specific goals and resources of the business.

A model growing in popularity is the marketplace model (C2C, or consumer-to-consumer), where the eCommerce platform acts as an intermediary between buyers and sellers, earning a commission on each transaction. This model allows for a wide variety of products and services to be offered, and the platform can benefit from network effects as more buyers and sellers join the marketplace.


Amazon is a multi-category eCommerce platform that offers a wide range of products and services. Originally focused on selling books, it has expanded to sell nearly every type of physical product, including electronics, clothing, groceries, and more.

In addition to physical products, Amazon offers digital products and services such as streaming video, music, and e-books through its Prime membership program.

Amazon also operates as a marketplace, allowing third-party sellers to offer their products alongside Amazon's own inventory.


The most common type of eCommerce is business-to-consumer (B2C) eCommerce. This refers to online transactions between businesses and individual consumers. B2C eCommerce includes online retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, and Target, as well as smaller online shops.

Consumers can browse and purchase products directly from these businesses' websites, and the products are shipped directly to the consumer's home. B2C eCommerce has become increasingly popular in recent years due to the convenience of online shopping and the wide variety of products available.


Consumer-to-business (C2B) is a type of eCommerce in which individual consumers offer their products or services to businesses. In a traditional business-to-consumer (B2C) model, businesses offer products or services to consumers. However, in C2B eCommerce, consumers can sell their products or services to businesses.

This model is often used by freelancers or small businesses that offer specialized services, such as graphic design or copywriting. C2B eCommerce platforms, such as Upwork and Fiverr, allow businesses to browse and purchase services from a pool of individual contractors.

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Stephen Beer is a Content Writer at Clarity Ventures and has written about various tech industries for nearly a decade. He is determined to demystify HIPAA, integration, enterpise SEO, and eCommerce with easy-to-read, easy-to-understand articles to help businesses make the best decisions.