O

Customers

Customers' customers

Figure 1.5 The distinction between buy-side and sell-side e-commerce

Business-to-consumer (B2C)

Commercial transactions between an organisation and consumers.

Business-to-business (B2B)

Commercial transactions between an organisation and other organisations (inter-organisational marketing).

Consumer-to-consumer (C2C)

Informational or financial transactions between consumers, but usually mediated through a business site.

Consumer-to-business (C2B)

Consumers approach the business with an offer.

Business or consumer model?

It is now commonplace to describe Internet marketing opportunities in terms of whether an organisation is transacting with consumers (business-to-consumer - B2C) or other businesses (business-to-business - B2B).

Figure 1.6 gives examples of different companies operating in the business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) spheres. Often companies such as easyJet and BP will have products that appeal to both consumers and businesses, so will have different parts of their site to appeal to these audiences. Figure 1.6 also presents two additional types of transaction, those where consumers transact directly with other consumers (C2C) and where they initiate trading with companies (C2B). Note that the C2C and C2B monikers are less widely used (e.g. Economist, 2000), but they do highlight significant differences between Internet-based commerce and earlier forms of commerce. Consumer-to-consumer interactions were relatively rare, but are now very common in the form of the community components such as discussion groups or forums on B2C or B2B sites. These interactions are also found on sites focusing on C2C interactions such as eBay (www.ebay.com) which are still run on a business basis and some blogs which are not run by companies, but individuals. Figure 1.7 is another example of a C2C site: the youth network Dubit (www.dubit.co.uk) which is also used by FMCG brands to research youth market trends and engage opinion formers. Hoffman and Novak (1996) suggest that C2C interactions are a key characteristic of the Internet that is important for companies to take into account, as is shown by Activity 1.2.

Consumer or citizen

From: Supplier of content/service Business (organisation)

Government

Consumer or citizen

From: Supplier of content/service Business (organisation)

Government ten as t si nn oa c g s is nu o C

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