Types of E-Commerce

E-commerce is an online commercial transaction between a supplier and a client. It has six types:

  1. Business-to-Business (B2B)
  2. Business-to-Consumer (B2C)
  3. Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C)
  4. Consumer-to-Business (C2B)
  5. Business-to-Administration (B2A)
  6. Consumer-to-Administration (C2A)


Business-to-Business (B2B)

Business-to-Business (B2B) e-commerce encompasses all electronic transactions of goods or services conducted between companies. Producers and traditional commerce wholesalers typically operate with this type of electronic commerce. In this type of e-commerce, a business buys from or sells to another business electronically. For example, a bag manufacturer needs more red dye for their new line. They would proceed to electronically transact to get this ink from an ink business. On the other side of the transaction, the ink seller is also engaging in business-to-business e-commerce by electronically making the sale and binding agreement.

Business-to-Consumer (B2C)

The Business-to-Consumer type of e-commerce is distinguished by the establishment of electronic business relationships between businesses and final consumers. It corresponds to the retail section of e-commerce, where traditional retail trade normally operates. This massive market consists of the average consumer at home, going online and placing orders with businesses.

Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C)

This type of e-commerce takes place strictly between two consumer parties. It can take place in many forms including direct sales, trade arrangements, auctions, and more. If a business is not party to this online transaction, it is considered consumer-to-consumer e-commerce. The moment you think of C2C e-commerce eBay.com comes to mind. That is because it is the most popular platform that enables consumers to sell to other consumers. Since eBay.com is a business, this form of e-commerce could also be called C2B2C e-commerce (consumer to business to consumer e-commerce). Craigslist, vehicle trading posts, and sites like TradeAway.com also facilitate this type of e-commerce.

Consumer-to-Business (C2B)

This commerce has empowered consumers to originate requirements that businesses fulfill. In consumer-to-business e-commerce, the business is temporarily acting as a consumer, purchasing a product or service from the actual consumer. This type of e-commerce is much less common than most other types, but does comprise a number of key slices of the e-commerce market. Crowdsourcing is a prime example of this. In crowdsourcing, a group of individuals combines effort to create a product or service that the business entity wants to purchase.

Business-to-Administration (B2A)

Businesses electronically vend services and products to administrative entities. This most commonly takes place when government administrative offices transact with businesses in order to fulfill operational needs. This part of e-commerce encompasses all transactions conducted online between companies and public administration. This is an area that involves a large amount and a variety of services, particularly in areas such as fiscal, social security, employment, legal documents and registers, etc. These types of services have increased considerably in recent years with investments made in e-government.

Consumer-to-Administration (C2A)

Any electronic commerce that takes place between the consumer and an administrative body falls into this category. Other common examples include social security payments or a local community center’s membership payments. Both models involving Public Administration (B2A and C2A) are strongly associated to the idea of efficiency and easy usability of the services provided to citizens by the government, with the support of information and communication technologies.