E-commerce exists in various forms, from simple online stores to exchange sites and service platforms. Before starting out in e-commerce, an SME must think about the right model to adopt.
There are three main types of e-commerce, differentiated by their customer base and their sources of revenue: Business–to-Consumer, Business-to-Business and Consumer-to-Consumer.
Business-to-Consumer (B2C) means traditional e-commerce between a business and consumers, i.e. the sale of goods or services to customers who are individuals from a website.
B2C e-commerce can take the form of a sales site exclusively on the internet or a virtual addition to a physical store. The aim is to increase the business's customer base and visibility through online sales. B2C revenue comes from sales to individuals.
Examples of B2C: leshop.ch, CeDe.ch
What are known as private sale sites constitute a sub-category of B2C. The principle involves offering significant reductions on products for a limited period. Generally, users have to sign up beforehand as members in order to view offers.
Examples of private sale sites: eboutic.ch, fashionfriends.ch, my-store.ch, myprivateboutique.ch, qoqa.ch, deindeal.ch
Business-to-Business (B2B) denotes a company’s e-commerce sales to other companies. This involves exchanges between two traders or between a supplier and a business, for example. B2B revenue therefore comes from the sale of goods or services to businesses.
Examples of B2B: nespresso.com, mobility.ch, papierexpress.ch, shop.roline.com
Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) platforms are the internet equivalent of small ads. The website simply provides the interface and system for the exchange of goods.
C2C revenue comes either:
- From a percentage on sales. Major auction websites charge sellers when a transaction is completed between two customers (e.g. from 1% to 5% of the final sale).
- From advertising. Websites for direct selling between individuals are remunerated by advertising or by paid-for ads. The seller of goods can choose to pay for their ad to give them greater visibility.
- From a combination of the two.
Examples of C2C: ricardo.ch, car4you.ch, scout24.ch, immofute.ch, natelsavendre.ch