B2C stands for business to consumer. It differs from B2B which is business to business. The business to consumer company model is one in which companies offer their products or services for sale to consumers rather than to other businesses, as in B2B. Today, B2C often refers to the online selling of products, which is known as e-tailing. E-tailing products to consumers may be conducted by either manufacturers or retailers.
Virtually any product can be e-tailed. The challenge for retailers and manufactures in a B2C online selling environment is to get consumer traffic to their website marketplace. This need makes search engine marketing (SEM) of extreme importance in business to consumer selling. SEM promotes a website by making the site highly visible on search engines.
Consumers typically only choose websites on the first few pages of results that come up after they enter a keyword or phrase query into a search engine. In order to get their website ranked on the first few pages, businesses typically purchase paid listings as well as employ search engine optimization (SEO) techniques that include using popular consumer keywords in their web text. The more Internet search traffic that can reach an e-tail website, the better because the business is receiving views from consumers actually interested in their product, industry or subject.
Providing on-site security is a must for B2C. Consumers must feel secure in entering credit card and bank information when ordering and paying for items. In spite of its challenges, the business to consumer online model can greatly benefit both consumers and businesses. Consumers get the convenience of shopping online in their own home, while businesses enjoy a low overhead since a storefront and a large inventory aren't necessary. Business can offer good prices to consumers and provide free or low cost shipping in many cases.
Since no brick and mortar storefront or large overhead costs are required, the B2C Internet model of selling is ideal even for small businesses. For instance, traditionally, a small jewelry designer wanting to sell to consumers would have mostly craft fairs as a venue. Today, with business websites so affordable to create, small businesses can thrive on selling their products directly to consumers via the Internet. Whereas a brick and mortar jewelry store would need to be filled with products for customers to look at, online photographs allow them to select items. This is a big advantage to a small business owner such as a jewelry designer, because the product doesn't have to be assembled until the consumer orders it.