5 Major Types of eCommerce

by Rose Johnson ; Updated September 26, 2017
Ecommerce allows individuals to start companies with low start-up costs.

Ecommerce is the process of selling products and services electronically, which can happen via the Internet or mobile phone. With significant increases in technology, ecommerce has revolutionized the way people do business. Ecommerce allows business transactions to flow easily between countries. There are several types of ecommerce activities that transactions fall under.

Business to Business, B2B

Business to business, B2B, ecommerce transactions happen between two companies. B2B activity is not new, but the Internet has changed how everything is transacted. An example of B2B is a company that outsources its bookkeeping activities to another company. Another example includes a business that buys its products from a wholesale company. B2B transactions are usually handled with lines of credit and companies often times have long-lasting relationships with one another. The seller has responsibility of determining the buyer's creditworthiness.

Business to Consumer, B2C

Business to consumer, B2C, transactions deal with customers purchasing products and services from companies through the Internet. Online shopping has increased significantly in recent years. Many companies take extreme security measures to protect the sensitive financial information of consumers. B2C ecommerce transactions are not strictly bound to retail shopping. Many customers purchase health insurance, auto insurance and similar products online. One reason for the popularity of B2C ecommerce is consumers enjoy the convenience of purchasing products and services online.

Consumer to Consumer, C2C

Consumer to Consumer, C2C, ecommerce activity is more recent, and usually requires a business to play the middleman. Companies like ebay and Amazon have made C2C more popular. The way it works is companies that have products to sell list them through a third-party site. Consumers looking to purchase products visit the site and search the available products. The consumer purchases the product and the seller is responsible for delivering the product. The business that plays the middleman usually requires a transaction fee from either the seller or buyer.

Consumer to Business, B2C

Consumer to business, B2C, transactions occur when a company places a job online and businesses bid on the project. For example, a consumer that needs a website designed will place the details of the job on a bidding site along with his budget. Companies with experience in web design will submit bid proposals to the consumer. The consumer chooses a company, submits the agreed upon payment to the business and waits for the delivery of the website. Bidding companies act as the middleman verifying that payment and service are delivered.

Mobile Commerce

Mobile commerce deals with business transactions that happen through mobile phones. Many companies now offer mobile applications that customers can download to their phones. The applications are typically a condensed version of the full version of the site. Many retail stores offer mobile software applications to purchase items and have them shipped. Another common mobile commerce transaction is mobile banking. Consumers can check account balances, transfer funds and look at bank activity while mobile.

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