Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) e-Commerce: Definition, Business Model & Examples

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  • 0:02 C2C E-Commerce
  • 0:35 Business Model
  • 1:34 Examples
  • 3:43 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Donna Swarthout

Donna has a B.A. in German, B.A. in Political Science, and M.A. in Political Science from University of California, Berkeley. She has over 20 years of teaching experience at the college level in subjects including business and political science.

Consumers have a growing number of opportunities to engage in electronic commerce with each other. Learn about how consumer-to-consumer e-commerce works and take a quiz to test your knowledge.

What Is Consumer-to-Consumer E-Commerce?

Have you ever bought or sold an item on or If so, you have participated in consumer-to-consumer (C2C) e-commerce. People who come together to buy, sell or trade items online take part in C2C e-commerce. This type of e-commerce is the modern version of using the classified advertising section of your local newspaper or going to an auction. C2C e-commerce is a convenient way for consumers to buy and sell goods without getting in their cars and driving to a store.

Business Model

C2C e-commerce differs from a business-to-business model or a business-to-consumer model because consumers interact directly with each other. However, a business does operate the online platform on which C2C transactions take place. Typically, buyers can shop for free, but sellers sometimes have to pay a fee to list their products. Consumers often play an active role in monitoring e-commerce sites for scams and other inappropriate content.

The C2C model entails lower costs and higher profits for buyers and sellers. Sellers can store inventory in a home office, and it costs less to market and distribute products than in a traditional business-to-consumer model. Both new and used goods are sold through C2C e-commerce, and fewer middlemen are involved in the transactions. Advances in technology and ease of access to the Internet have also made it possible for a growing number of individuals to launch C2C e-commerce businesses.

Examples of C2C E-Commerce

Craigslist is one of the top websites in the world and the leading service for classified ads. Consumers can not only buy, sell and trade items, but also conduct other transactions such as housing and job searches. The site is very user-friendly, allowing consumers to register and list an item for sale within minutes. For consumers looking to make a purchase, they simply go to the 'for sale' category and choose the appropriate subcategory (e.g. computers, furniture, books, etc.).

The craigslist site is easy to navigate.
craigslist image

The craigslist site is easy to navigate. Consumers conduct their craigslist transactions via e-mail, but the system disguises the e-mail addresses to protect consumer privacy. Craigslist has more than 25 million new classified ads each month posted from more than 450 different cities. Since craigslist has a small workforce, users play an important role in monitoring the site's content and reporting scams or other unethical or illegal activities.

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