What Is B2C? (Plus Types, Benefits and B2C Channels)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 3 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Companies typically operate to sell either a service, product or both to their clients or customers. Who a company's clients are can vary depending on the kind of service or product they offer and the industry they're in. The customers of a company can be businesses, individual consumers or both. In this article, we explain what business to consumer (B2C) is, discuss its role, provide the types of B2C marketing, outline the difference between B2C and B2B and share various B2C marketing channels.

What is B2C?

The answer to the question "What is B2C or business to consumer?" is it's a type of commerce transaction in which a company sells its services or products directly to the customer who uses the service or product. For example, an oral care company that sells mouthwash, toothpaste and toothbrushes to individuals or a real estate agency that rents and sells residential properties to individuals, students and families

B2C involves selling a service or product directly to the customer without the use of a wholesaler. This allows the company to minimise its overhead costs and get higher profit margins. The B2C model is ideal for small- to mid-size businesses that don't need the support or power of a wholesaler.

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What is the role of B2C commerce?

Michael Aldrich, an English inventor, innovator and entrepreneur, first used the idea of B2C to reach consumers directly through TV advertising. Business to consumer commerce primarily consisted of infomercials, retail shopping and eating out at restaurants. With the advent of the internet, though, the B2C commerce model started to expand to the e-commerce model, in which companies sell their services or products directly to consumers online. Companies that rely on B2C sales strive to maintain good relations with their customers to make sure they return.

Types of B2C marketing

There are a few types of B2C commerce and each has its own distinct benefits and features. Some companies often use multiple types of B2C models to reach their target audience. Here are the types of B2C marketing:

Direct sellers

Direct sellers are perhaps the most popular form of B2C commerce. Direct sellers are retailers who sell their services or products directly to customers through a website. There are two types of direct sellers. These include:

  • Product manufacturers: Manufacturers often use the internet so they can eliminate the use of retailers, wholesalers and other intermediaries to bring their goods to their customers.

  • E-tailers: These refer to online retail stores that ship goods from their personal warehouse stock or another business' stock. E-retailers, such as department stores, usually use both physical and online retail shops to sell their products.

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Community-based models

Community-based B2C models rely on the power of online communities, which are built around common interests, to promote a specific service or product to a specific target audience. For instance, companies often use communities on social media websites to develop ads designed for certain demographics. A community-based B2C model allows companies that have created services or products for a particular group of people to reach their target market.

Online intermediaries

An online intermediary acts as a broker who offers a service to customers that connect them with sellers. Online intermediaries don't manufacture or own the service or product they sell. One example of an online intermediary is a website the collects information from several other websites within a particular industry and presents several buying options to customers in one location, such as online travel websites.

Advertising-based models

An advertising-based B2C model uses free content to persuade people to come to the company's website. The website then has paid ads that people may come across as they scroll through the content posted on the website. An advertising-based B2C model leverages the power of high-quality content to boost the traffic of a company's website and then uses that large traffic volume to sell ad spaces to businesses. One example of an advertising-based B2C model is large media outlets that don't charge potential customers a subscription fee for access to their content.

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Fee-based models

Unlike an advertising-based model, a fee-based B2C commerce model charges consumers a subscription fee for access to their website, service or product. Some examples of fee-based B2C commerce models include media outlets and online streaming services that charge people a subscription fee for access to their content. Some companies, such as large magazine and newspaper publications, use a fee-based model that draws people to their website by allowing limited access to content for free and then persuading them to buy a subscription to have full access to their content.

How is B2C different from B2B?

The main difference between business to business (B2B) and B2C is who the customers of a company are. A company that uses a B2C marketing and sales approach targets consumers as its direct customers, whereas a company that uses a B2B marketing and sales approach targets other companies as their customers. The types of marketing and sales strategies that are effective in B2C commerce are often different from the marketing and sales strategies that are most effective in B2B commerce.

A company using a B2C commerce model often relies on invoking emotion to move their clients to purchase their services or products. A company using a B2B commerce model often relies on establishing strong relationships with its customers' decision-makers. For this reason, the sales cycle of the B2B commerce model is often longer than that of the B2C model.

Benefits of B2C e-commerce

If you're considering a career in a B2B company, or you're beginning a marketing role, you may be interested in learning about some of the benefits of B2C commerce and marketing. Here are some of the advantages:

No physical overheads

In-store purchases, in which customers visit a physical store to purchase something from a brand, have primarily dominated B2C. By introducing an e-commerce element to business, companies can lower overhead costs. By shutting down physical stores which don't generate revenue and spending a fraction of the cost on marketing, businesses can send customers to the online store to make purchases.

Global reach

Perhaps the most popular benefit of B2C e-commerce is the global reach it has. Even small companies operating out of homes can sell their products or services to customers on the other side of the world. This availability to sell to anyone and anywhere can help a company boost its profit.

More data to profile clients

When companies move their businesses online, they can access more information about their clients and more ways to target them directly. Using analytics tools, companies can gather demographical information about their clients and psychographic information such as consumer values and interests. This information can help companies create a persona of their customers who inform how companies talk to them through their websites and any marketing materials.

Trackable marketing

Conventional marketing strategies have always been difficult to track, but through B2C e-commerce, companies can easily implement online marketing and track conversions. Attrition models seek to show the significance of various marketing channels in attaining business success online. Reports through analytics tools can show how a customer-first came to a company's website, how many visits it took for them to convert and which webpage they converted on. With this information, companies can build a stronger website that converts better than their competitors.

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A short sales cycle

Unlike B2B marketing, in which the sales cycle is much longer, B2C customers don't usually spend hours on research, hesitating and comparing each feature of a product. B2C clients often purchase products that their friends or family members recommend. Thus, the entire process is less intimidating for customers and sellers.

B2C marketing channels

Here are some of the popular B2C marketing channels:

  • Email marketing: This can be an effective way for companies looking to boost their sales to reach their target audience. It involves sending out personalised promotional emails to loyal customers or new leads.

  • Social media marketing: This refers to the use of social networks to promote services or goods directly to consumers. It often involves creating and sharing a variety of marketing content on various social media platforms.

  • Mobile marketing: This can help B2C companies reach mobile users through mobile-optimised and interactive promotions.

  • Search Engine Optimisation: This is an organic or natural marketing process for improving the visibility of a website on search engines' non-paid results. Effective SEO tools and practices can help companies improve the traffic to their sites and consequently boost sales.

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