Types of marketplaces: C2C, B2C and B2B

There are three business models of marketplaces. What is the difference between C2C, B2C and B2B marketplaces? What are their peculiarities? What kind of interaction is established between the participants of these models? We will explain and compare the models in this article.

Select the platform of interest for business

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C2C model

C2C model
Idea edaa1bfad1bc7a6d4e35c744da4719991a29919801fe955b74b311fa573f3551

All parties to the deal usually share concerns and can form communities (for example, couchsurfing – experience and cultural exchange; blablacar - lift-sharing)

Similar interests
Shuffle 24ee3d4a8b189e3c308f3a8ea2ff1ea461277fb764639d46de98d09eaf7a1774

Parties take up interchangeable positions (seller can become a buyer and vice versa).

Role reversal
Bank f16b60c9c6014f13a7563404f6b3a0b3a2954f50f7f29baeb764c489a1613635

Both seller and buyer benefit from a deal


C2C marketplaces imply that all participants are equal. Therefore, the model can also be called P2P by capital letters, which may have three definitions: person-to-person or people-to-people. People that gather on the platform are not entrepreneurs. They are similar in interests, wealth, age and go to the site to share something. In such a situation, people can interact in a few ways. Users may agree on favorable terms that mean they can save money as well as get profit. In this case, the cooperation becomes convenient for both sides of the deal.

C2C model implies uniting in communities where people share their interests as well. Moreover, this type of marketplace gives more freedom. It is easy to change roles - today they are buying, tomorrow they are selling. These 3 peculiarities are suited for all C2C platforms. To make it clearer, we'll review each feature based on the examples of already existing marketplaces.

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B2C model

B2C model
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Business is involved in trading relations
Cart f448f056e8063834ad2020cae064771a8c48e75961b892e0a7dcd17b89766ac4
B2C marketplaces can be derivatives from C2C model
Shopping ef813a1668085334aa2dda5a79d9090618ae1f9c15a1285492f0954f256e8880
Marketplaces of such kind provide the widest range of goods and services
Checked 1ddb13dc54106ae7c8b5e27d061a3e9f73156b1cda4189ea6f31e455b687a9ac
Features both retail and wholesale trading schemes

Another marketing model - B2C - is different as it involves business. Entrepreneurs and their clients interact among themselves. Users do not stop at hospitable couchsurfs, instead they choose hotels at or BedandBreakfast.

The advantage of such websites is a large selection of commercial offers on a single site. This is "one stop shop". In simple words, it is a place where everything can be found.

With the B2C model, the aliExpress marketplace works - a huge trading platform where different suppliers put out their products. The platform is visited by hundreds of millions of users each month. They find offers of manufacturing companies there: from clothing and household appliances to cars and motorcycles.

There, each product is sold under its own brand so it is obvious that the seller is not a person but a company.

That is why on the website of the Airbnb housing search it is possible to seenot only private announcements but also rental offers from companies. And on the Etsy platform, which also started as an absolute C2C marketplace, the products are now presented by the manufacturers.

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B2B model

Deals are arranged between legal entities (companies)
The widest range of various product categories
The general part of the deals is wholesale purchase
B2B marketplaces can offer services both in a certain field and in various fields
B2B model

Speaking about B2B type, a company sells something to another company on favorable terms. A good example is the Alibaba platform that allows businessmen to do bulk purchases. There are about 40 categories of goods. Any company can make a wholesale order.

Depending on the goods and services sold on the marketplace, different B2B models are distinguished:

  • Vertical - concern only one sphere of the industry;
  • Horizontal - offer services from different spheres (industries).

It is important that the marketplace can work with the B2C scheme but also separately create proposals for business.

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