The Rise of the C2C eCommerce Business Model
Consumer-to-consumer, or C2C eCommerce is a relatively new business model. In C2C commerce (eCommerce if transactions occur online), the seller is also a consumer. This is distinct from B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer) models, where the seller is an individual business and might even have a physical store to supplement their online sales.
To illustrate, think about a farmers’ market. Producers gather on a designated day and area to sell their produce. Producers can rent their spots in the area on a weekly or monthly basis, or as a one-time trial. Depending on the region, there might be different rules on the rotation and pricing of available spots, protection from adverse weather, any fees for potential buyers entering the market, or anything else the market-space provider is willing to offer.
This concept translates to an online market space, where sellers must pay the online platform provider for a spot on the platform in order to sell their products or services. In that way, both the seller and the buyer are consumers in the C2C business model.
Though farmers’ markets have been around for hundreds of years as the first example of a C2C model, the C2C eCommerce business model is still considered relatively young. The first—and highly successful—example of C2C eCommerce is eBay, which began more than 25 years ago. EBay follows the marketplace business model, where buyers bid for the best price on items, provided by sellers, by a closing deadline. Today, there are many other C2C eCommerce business model examples, with the list growing every day. International examples include: Amazon, Craigslist, Airbnb, PayPal, Upwork, Etsy, SkillShare, Facebook Marketplace, Uber, and more. Each of these has either a specific target audience or a more general audience for online shopping. Additionally, many smaller platforms may cater for specific items or operate on a national level.