B2C: Business to Consumer Sales

B2C vs B2B

Business to Consumer B2C
B2C businesses work directly with consumers. Andrew Olney | Getty Images

Definition of B2C

B2C is an acronym for "business to consumer". A B2C business is one that sells products or services direct to the consumer, as opposed to another business (B2B).

In the Internet age, the ability for small businesses to market directly to consumers has increased, which has led to the growth of the word. In essence, the Internet has eliminated the middle man. Although there are services that are set up to provide direct-to-consumer services, such as eBay for selling goods or Amazon for selling ebooks, people can create their own storefronts and sell to consumers without the need for eBay, Amazon and other services.

The challenge of B2C business is to maintain steady sales. When the economy gets tough, consumers may make changes in their spending that can affect a B2C business. While it can happen in B2B businesses, because businesses often require goods and services to stay in business, the impact of a bad economy may be less. For example, businesses always need marketing, and therefore companies that providing marketing services to businesses will have an easier chance of survival.

With that said, targeting the right group of consumers can be a great way to build a business. For example, providing high-end or gourmet products for affluent people. Health and wellness is an area that always does well.

B2C Examples

Examples of a B2C business include:

  • Ebay selling.
  • Online storefront. This can include a multitude of products such as jewelry, books, home decor items, clothes...anything used by individuals in their personal lives.

How is B2C Different than B2B?

A B2B business is one that offers products or services direct to other businesses. The business can be the end buyer, such as when a company hires a copywriter (the copywriter is the B2B business) or it can be a source for the business.

For example, drop shippers provide products to other companies who then sell them to the end user. The drop shipper is a B2B company selling their good to B2C businesses. Examples of B2B businesses include:

  • A virtual assistant business providing support services to entrepreneurs
  • A direct mail marketing service that provides mail marketing services to other business.

Some businesses may operate as both B2C and B2B businesses. For example, a day care business may be open to the public but may also provide special arrangements to care for the children of employees of a local business as a group. Or office stores, such as Staples, which offers supplies for both businesses and individuals (such as students).

Also Known As: B to C, business-to-consumer

Examples: Some entrepreneurs run a B2C businesses because they prefer to work directly with consumers.

Updated October 2015 by Leslie Truex