Types of E-commerce

There are many ways to classify electronic commerce transactions—one is by looking at the nature of the participants. The three major electronic commerce categories are business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce, business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce, and consumer-to-consumer (C2C) e-commerce.

  • Business-to-consumer (B2C) electronic commerce involves retailing prod­ucts and services to individual shoppers. Amazon, Walmart, and iTOnes are examples of B2C commerce.com, which sells books, soft­ware, and music to individual consumers, is an example of B2C e-commerce.
  • Business-to-business (B2B) electronic commerce involves sales of goods and services among businesses. Elemica’s website for buying and selling chemicals and energy is an example of B2B e-commerce.
  • Consumer-to-consumer (C2C) electronic commerce involves consumers selling directly to consumers. For example, eBay, the giant web auction site, enables people to sell their goods to other consumers by auctioning their mer­chandise off to the highest bidder or for a fixed price. eBay acts as a middleman by creating a digital platform for peer-to-peer commerce. Craigslist is the plat­form most consumers use to buy from and sell directly to others.

Another way of classifying electronic commerce transactions is in terms of the platforms participants use in a transaction. Until recently, most e-commerce transactions took place using a desktop PC connected to the Internet over a wired network. Several wireless mobile alternatives have emerged, such as smartphones and tablet computers. The use of handheld wireless devices for purchasing goods and services from any location is termed mobile commerce or m-commerce. All three types of e-commerce transactions can take place using m-commerce technology, which we discuss in detail in Section 10.3.

Source: Laudon Kenneth C., Laudon Jane Price (2020), Management Information Systems: Managing the Digital Firm, Pearson; 16th edition.

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