What is B2C or business-to-consumer? Definition and examples

B2C, which stands for Business-to-Consumer, means commerce between a business and individual consumers. It refers to the exchange of products or services from businesses to end-consumers, i.e., retailing. We once used this term to describe commerce between traditional brick-and-mortar retailers and people who walk in. However, today we also use it for online shopping.

Online shopping means purchasing goods and services on the Internet.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a business-to-consumer model involves:

“The sale of goods or services directly to customers for their own use, rather than to businesses.”

When writing, please remember that in its short form – B2C – the number ‘2‘ represents the word ‘to‘ in ‘business-to-consumer.’ The words ‘2‘ and ‘to‘ sound the same. Don’t make the mistake of writing the long form as ‘business-two-consumer.’ It is wrong!

B2C - Business-to-consumer

Some companies, like Ford, sell both B2C and B2B, i.e., business-to-consumer and business-to-business. In the image above, Hertz, a multinational car rental company, is a business customer. The woman who just purchased the blue car, on the other hand, is an individual consumer.

B2C vs. B2B model

The business and marketing strategy of a B2C model is significantly different from that of a B2B model. B2B stands for business-to-business.

The marketing process is also different. When trying to attract consumers, companies have to add, for example, emotional factors to their strategy. This is much less the case when selling to businesses.

The decision-making process of a consumer is much simpler compared to a company. In other words, companies take much longer than individuals to come to a purchasing decision.

A department manager, for example, may need to get the OK from the legal department to purchase something. Also, if it is a large order, perhaps one of the directors must sign.

Old and modern B2C models

Traditionally, a B2C model referred to the exchange of goods and services at shopping malls, supermarkets, restaurants, etc. Today, however, the meaning also includes online shopping.

  • McDonald’s

One example of a 100% traditional business-to-consumer model is McDonald’s. The fast-food giant has its products available for customers only at physical places, i.e., you cannot buy its meals online.

  • Amazon

Amazon, on the other hand, is an example of a 100% e-commerce B2C model. E-commerce means doing business online.

The online giant works as an intermediary. It offers all kinds of products from different places at any time to anybody with access to the internet.

Six different business models

Business-to-consumer is one of six e-commerce models. They are:

B2C online business models

There are five common types of B2C online business models. Below is a brief description of them.

  • Direct sellers

This is a very popular model. Companies offer a wide variety of goods and services to people online.

  • Intermediaries

Intermediaries don’t offer anything of their own. Instead, they offer their platform to users so that they can buy or sell products.

  • Online communities

Online communities offer an open space for companies to advertise their brand or products to platform users.

  • Advertising-based

Advertising-based companies offer key advertising features to attract specifically end-consumers in large volumes.

  • Fee-based

Fee-based companies offer their services, products, or benefits to people in exchange for a fee.

Example sentences.

Below are some example sentences containing the term we use for the different business models – B2C, B2B, C2C, G2B, B2G, and G2C – to help you see how we can use the term in context:

B2C (business-to-consumer)
  • “Our B2C platform allows customers to purchase goods directly from the manufacturer.”
  • “In a business-to-consumer model, the company sells its products directly to the end-user without any intermediaries.”
B2B (business-to-business)
  • “We’ve developed a B2B solution to streamline the procurement process for large enterprises.”
  • “Our business-to-business clients appreciate the tailored services we offer, which are designed to meet their specific industry needs.”
C2C (consumer-to-consumer)
  • “Popular C2C websites like eBay allow individuals to sell products to each other online.”
  • “The consumer-to-consumer market has exploded with the advent of internet marketplaces where anyone can become a seller.”
G2B (government-to-business)
  • “The new G2B portal simplifies the way companies submit their tax filings.”
  • “Government-to-business initiatives can help small businesses secure contracts that were traditionally out of reach.”
B2G (business-to-government)
  • “Our company just won a B2G contract to supply computer systems to the Department of Defense.”
  • “In the business-to-government sector, regulatory compliance is often more stringent than in commercial markets.”
G2C (government-to-consumer)
  • “The IRS has launched a G2C online service to help citizens process their tax returns more efficiently.”
  • “Government-to-consumer communication strategies have been revamped to improve public access to healthcare information.”

Video – What is Business-to-Consumer or B2C?

This educational video, from Marketing Business Network, our sister channel on YouTube, explains what ‘Business-to-Consumer (B2C)’ is using easy-to-understand language and examples.