Expanding Your Target Marketplace Audience

The C2C Business Model: Casting a Net to a Wider Audience

Expanding your Business Horizon with a C2C Business Model

C2C eCommerce is the –not only alphabetical– continuation of B2B and B2C. Whereas in both B2B and B2C cases there is at least one business partner involved, either targeting other businesses (B2B) or customers (B2C), C2C stands for customer to customer transactions, referring to business transactions between customers (or clients). This model might be also seen as peer-to-peer marketplace (P2P), as both the buyer and the seller involved in the transaction are considered peers, equals. With several existing and thriving examples of C2C already available, one would think that C2C eCommerce practices are well-known and developed. However, with abundance of all kinds of services, how easy is it for new marketplaces to flourish?

C2C eCommerce: Casting a Net to a Wider Audience

One of the first C2C examples, already 25 years ago, was eBay, an online marketplace where buyers and sellers would gather and exchange services or goods for money. One could say that eBay was (and still is) a big flea market, where customers of the platform (sellers) would offer their good to other customers of the platform (buyers), similar to the concept of sellers having to rent a space in the flea market area and potential buyers having to pay a small fee to enter the flea market. The idea of flea markets and online flea markets (more fancily named “marketplaces”) is that both sellers and buyers avoid the need for third parties to initiate connections. Both sellers and buyers are using the same platform to connect with each other, both being customers to the platform provider. Successful examples of C2C eCommerce and marketplaces can offer specialized products or services (such as Airbnb, Uber, couchsurfing), or have a more general market, with products and services varying to an extreme (such as Amazon, Upwork, Craigslist).


What are the Advantages of C2C eCommerce?

Many of these platforms have gained several loyal users, as they make communication between the buyer and seller easier, facilitate transactions, offer worldwide connections, and can provide great customer service to both Cs of the equation. Revisiting the idea of the flea market discussed earlier, a major advantage of C2C eCommerce through marketplaces is that they lead to mutual profit. The seller saves the cost of a physical or electronic shop front, while however having a contact outlay. The platform facilitates everything from one-of or occasional transactions, to regular services or product supply, and provides a “tried-and-tested” notion and usually some form of background check. From the buyers’ point of view, a marketplaces offers a wide variety of products or services (similar to going to a shop mall rather than your local boutique), while however retaining the personal touch of seller-to-buyer communication. Furthermore, prices can be friendlier, service can be faster, and long-term relationships can be developed.

Another advantage, not available for every type of marketplace, is the ability to include all of C2C, B2C, and B2B services, where ultimately every member is considered a customer to the platform. Examples of such “inclusive” platforms are Amazon, Booking.com, Etsy, and Alibaba.


Targeting Your Market and Shaping your Marketplace

Whereas creating a C2C marketplace sounds straightforward in principle (who would say no to choice abundance, better prices, and easier procurement?), in practice it requires a lot of effort. C2C can be described as a disruptive business model, because that is what it does, it shakes up the way B2B and B2C models have been working so far. This means that the audience targeting and marketing practices used by B2B and B2C models could be deemed outdated, and improvements should be developed for C2C target market segmentation and eCommerce in market audiences.

Targeting Your Market and Shaping your Marketplace

From the beginning of the notion of C2C marketplaces, to today, where C2C eCommerce is flourishing and new platforms are popping up every day, things have changed, with many of the new platforms targeting specific markets or locations and creating their own niche, and many of the “old”, established platforms trying to open up their eCommerce approach and attract a wider audience. There are several approaches a business (platform) owner can use to increase traffic and interest on their platform, some of them well-known, tried-and-tested, and others more recently developed, trying to catch the vibe of their audience and stay relevant.


Knowing your Business and Getting to Know your Audience

The more traditional approaches include email marketing, search engine optimization and management, conventional public relations practices, or affiliate marketing, trying to attract people “by the book”. Although there is nothing wrong with that, and these practices have proven very successful in the past, one needs to know who their audience is for successful C2C eCommerce audience targeting. If for example the target audience of a platform is people who think of emails as spamming, following an email marketing campaign is not going to result to increased traffic.

Of the newest eCommerce marketing tools for developing the C2C marketplace business model are viral marketing and community building, both heavily relying on the power human relationships have, and on the mouth-to-mouth approach. In the case of viral marketing, existing customers are encouraged to bring in new customers, thus increasing traffic and potentially the growth of the C2C marketplace. Making a marketplace go viral is not easy, as it relies on the existing customers to do the marketing. Which means, that they need to be given a reason to do so. This is where the hard work lies, as for each platform the reasons for customer satisfaction (or at least their ranking) might change, so it is down to the platform owner to understand the C2C target market segmentation and create an environment where customers (both sellers and buyers) get what they want. When it comes to community building, the idea behind it as a growth technique is the sense of belonging to a community of peers, the sense of being valued. When these factors are satisfied, it is more likely that members of this community will be more inclined to invite others to join, and will be less likely to leave the community they helped build.


Helping your Marketplace Flourish with a Wider Audience

There is no secret technique or combination of marketing strategies to magically nail C2C target market segmentation and make eCommerce in market audiences explode. There are however two secrets which can lead to the growth of a C2C marketplace and C2C eCommerce audience targeting. The first one is to know the audience. This comes from having a clear vision and scope for the platform, and doing a good market research. The second one is to be able to observe, listen, and adapt.

Marketplaces are alive communities, so testing, advancing, or changing marketing strategies is suggested for traffic retention and growth. If you've been wondering how to build a peer-to-peer marketplace website, it's time to talk to a company with experience. Get in touch for a complimentary disovery session today!