McDonald's, Walmart, Office Depot, Amazon and Overstock are examples of business-to-consumer, or B2C, companies. Other well-known examples include TJ Maxx, Denny?s, Target and ShopRite, but many local boutiques and small businesses are also B2C companies.
B2C commerce refers to retail transactions that occur directly between businesses and customers. A transaction may involve goods or services, and B2C companies may have an Internet-based storefront, brick-and-mortar locations or a combination of both. Consumers engage in B2C commerce every day when they shop for clothing, household goods and groceries or dine out at a restaurant. Ongoing improvements in electronic payment methods and security encryption enable national, international and independent retailers to sell goods online, and consumers have the freedom to initiate and complete transactions virtually.
In contrast, business-to-business, or B2B, commerce involves transactions between businesses. For example, auto parts manufacturers design and sell goods to auto companies that sell their completed vehicles through auto dealers. Many well-established companies run both B2C and B2B operations, but they typically apply different marketing and sales strategies when dealing with consumers vs. businesses. B2B marketing is usually straightforward, pragmatic and reliant on clear identification of the product benefits. On the other hand, B2C marketing emphasizes benefits but also frequently targets emotional triggers to compel consumers to make impulsive purchases.