What is C2C or consumer-to-consumer? Definition and examples

C2C, which stands for consumer-to-consumer, is the exchange of products or services among consumers. Nowadays, we mostly use this term when referring to trading goods online.

The term also stands for customer-to-customer.

Traditionally, people would participate in C2C commerce when selling or buying products at a flea market. Individual consumers could also interact commercially through newspaper adverts.

A flea market is an outdoor market where people sell second hand, items, antiques, etc. In the UK, people call them ‘car boot sales.’

Wikipedia says the following regarding the term:

“Customer to customer (C2C) markets provide an innovative way to allow customers to interact with each other.”

“Traditional markets require business to customer relationships, in which a customer goes to the business in order to purchase a product or service.”

C2C - Consumer-to-Consumer
Millions of people buy and sell things to each other each day. They are C2C traders.

C2C process is simple

The consumer-to-consumer model differs from others because consumers interact with each other. The process of selling is relatively simple. It is much simpler than, for example, in the B2B or B2G worlds.

B2B stands for business-to-business, i.e., companies selling to other companies. B2G, on the other hand, means business-to-government.

In most cases, consumers need no marketing strategies because they can offer their products through different platforms online.

The consumer-to-consumer model has become progressively more popular since the advent of the Internet.

C2C – the Internet

Through the internet, individuals have been able to sell their products to bigger audiences over platforms or intermediaries.

Intermediaries have also increased consumer-to-consumer interaction, promoting engagement between users.

Amazon and eBay, for example, are two giant intermediaries.

  • eBay is an online auction site that enables consumers to trade with each other at any time.
  • Amazon has a B2C and C2C mix, i.e., it lets businesses sell to consumers and consumers sell to consumers.

B2C stands for business-to-consumer, i.e., companies selling to individual people.

Most websites will let purchasers buy freely. However, the seller must pay a fee or commission. The size of the fee depends on the exposure the seller requires.

Promoting your product for two weeks, for example, costs more than doing it for just one day.

Online C2C disadvantages

Like any type of business, consumer-to-consumer has some disadvantages. Methods of payment can sometimes be a problem. The quality of the product on sale can also be an issue.

Some C2C websites, however, have secure payment facilities.

PayPal, for example, lets people make and receive online payments.

Levels of quality may sometimes be a problem because some trades might be one-off exchanges. Also, many consumer-to-consumer trades are for second-hand goods.

Online C2C advantages

For consumers, a consumer-to-consumer e-commerce model has its benefits. Users can keep their costs low and get a higher margin.

E-commerce stands for ‘electronic commerce.’ E-commerce means doing business, i.e., buying and selling things, online.

C2C sites offer a better deal because consumers can trade without having to sell at a brick-and-mortar store.

People can save time looking for the item they need online without having to drive all over town.

Video – What is C2C?