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Business-to-consumer

Business-to-consumer (B2C, sometimes also called Business-to-Customer) describes activities of businesses serving end consumers with products and/or services.

An example of a B2C transaction would be a person buying a pair of shoes from a retailer. The transactions that led to the shoes being available for purchase, that is the purchase of the leather, laces, rubber, etc. as well as the sale of the shoe from the shoemaker to the retailer would be considered (B2B) transactions.

[edit] Types of B2C

While the term e-commerce refers to all online transactions, B2C stands for "business-to-consumer" and applies to any business or organization that sells its products or services to consumers over the Internet for its own use. When most people think of B2C e-commerce, they think of Amazon, the online bookseller that launched its site in 1995 and quickly took on the nation's major retailers. In addition to online retailers, B2C has grown to include services such as online banking, travel services, online auctions, health information and real estate sites. Peer-to-peer sites such as Craigslist also fall under the B2C category.

B2C e-commerce went through some tough times, particularly after the technology-heavy Nasdaq crumbled in 2000. In the ensuing dotcom carnage, hundreds of e-commerce sites shut their virtual doors and some experts predicted years of struggle for online retail ventures. Since then, however, shoppers have continued to flock to the web in increasing numbers. In fact, North American consumers adopted e-commerce so much that despite growing fears about identity theft, they spent $172 billion shopping online in 2005, up from $38.8 billion in 2000.

By 2010, consumers are expected to spend $329 billion each year online, according to Forrester Research. Whatâs more, the percentage of U.S. households shopping online is expected to grow from 39 percent this year to 48 percent in 2010.

[edit] Unique attributes

  • Negotiation: Selling to another business involves haggling over prices, delivery and product specifications. Not so with most consumer sales. That makes it easier for retailers to put a catalog online, and it's why the first B2B applications were for buying finished goods or commodities that are simple to describe and price.
  • Integration: Retailers don't have to integrate with their customers' systems. Companies selling to other businesses, however, need to make sure they can communicate without human intervention.

[edit] See also




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