The C2C Business Model: Cutting Out the Middleman

Explore the Revolutionary Opportunities in eCommerce with Consumer-to-Consumer Business
The C2C Business Model: Cutting Out the Middleman

What is C2C eCommerce? A Marketplace

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. It is a type of trade relation where both the sellers and buyers are consumers instead of businesses. 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, which takes a small cut or commission for bringing the parties together. The purpose of consumer-to-consumer eCommerce is to enable consumers to buy and sell directly with other consumers without having to go through a middleman, or spending a huge amount of money building and maintaining their own online storefront.

Clarity's eCommerce Marketplace platform has been used in such marketplaces for more than 10 years.

This allows the seller to keep more of their profits and the buyer to potentially purchase the goods at a better, more competitive price, since many times, there are more sellers selling the same products, competing with each other. 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. If you are looking for business to consumer products or services, 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

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, paid by the seller. 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 are second to none. According to Forbes, although C2C eCommerce sites may have more competition, causing them to be a difficult to locate C2C site B2B business. Because of this they usually have a higher margin due to the lack of retail or marketing costs needed to promote your products.

Scalable to Millions of SKUs

Advantages of Clarity's C2C e-Commerce

One of the greatest advantages of C2C eCommerce is that it allows the seller to reach a larger audience more quickly than they could on their own. Which in turn provides the opportunity to generate a higher revenue. Not only does the seller benefit, but also the buyer. Since the seller controls the pricing, this enables the buyer to get a better price online than if they would have bought the item from a business. Typically, retail business have higher overhead costs which prevent them from having the same price flexibility that individual sellers have.

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.

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 as a typical brick and mortar store would and the marketplace itself is not responsible for the transaction, shipping or quality of the product. Using third-party sites like eBay and Amazon usually help solve some of these issues by forcing users of the platform to accept their policies, 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, big dollar transactions and shipments.

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 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. This form of business benefits from the competition for products. 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, sell quality products, and you can create a successful revenue stream without all the overhead of a full business.

Global Marketplace Experts

Clarity Can Help

Well, now that we've discussed the foundations of what C2C eCommerce is, what's next? Is your business looking for business suggestions to help facilitate a consumer-to-consumer eCommerce marketplace? Easily design and build a C2C e commerce business model with a proven C2C marketplace with Clarity Ventures. If you are looking to make money in your marketplace from your C2C transactions with taking credit cards to process payments, Clarity has the solution you need. Whether it is from an online auction, goods or services, and even items for sale, you can see better returns with us. With more than 14 years and 350+ combined years of experience, our team has built more than 1,300 custom websites for every need. You can see examples of our C2C platform products or services and how our solution can add revenue while cutting expenses. To find out more about how Clarity can deliver your marketplace, request a free quote.

C2C eCommerce FAQs

  • What is an example of a C2C eCommerce model?

    A great example of what a C2C model is would be eBay, an online auction site, and Amazon, a marketplace that acts as both a B2B and C2C solution. Consumer to Consumer eCommerce enables the building of relationships between end-users, where the website acts as a platform where consumer correspondence occurs.

  • What is a consumer-oriented website?

    A consumer-oriented website, in both content and design, focuses on the needs of the end-users. The content specifically targets user pain points and how they can be resolved with the services and products provided. This consumer-centric messaging tied in with a friendly user interface and design makes for and welcoming web experience.

  • What is the difference between C2C and C2B eCommerce?

    Consumer to Consumer (C2C) eCommerce: This model of eCommerce focuses on the facilitation of consumers to perform standard commerce between each other. The most common application is an online marketplace akin to eBay or Amazon.

    Consumer to Business (C2B) eCommerce: The consumer to business eCommerce model functions as a means for consumers to sell to businesses. A common example would be paid advertisement on a personal website where businesses would pay the owner of the website for the ad space.

  • What does C2C mean?

    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. It is a type of trade relation where both the sellers and buyers are consumers instead of businesses.

  • What is a C2C business?

    A C2C business acts as a medium for consumers to conduct business with each other. The first thing that comes to mind is eBay, Amazon, Etsy, etc. These online marketplaces are a facilitator for consumers to buy goods from sellers. Ranging from online marketplaces to freelance services like Fiver, the consumer to consumer business model is a versatile and rapidly growing industry.

  • Is Uber a C2C?

    The simple answer is yes and no. Traditionally, taxi services would be considered B2C, or Business to Consumer, where the consumer would hire the company for their services. Uber is a unique case because they employ private drivers who use their vehicle instead of Uber providing them one. Each driver is incentivized through a rating system where users can select their driver based on the ratings they have received. These ratings are entirely separate from the company at large and are unique to each driver. To put it plainly, the consumer hires the driver, not the business.

  • How do I start a C2C business?

    Starting a C2C business is very similar to starting any business: What is your Mission Statement? Are you going to facilitate the offering of services, products, or both? Now that you know your goals, it's time to consider how you will help promote these offerings. Are you going to build a marketplace like eBay, a software application to connect consumers and drivers like Uber, or maybe a website that is a medium for freelancers and end-users to conduct business? Regardless of where you plan to start, always keep your consumers and mission statement in mind. If you follow that bit of advice, you are sure to be successful.

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