The definition of business-to-consumer sales refers to a sales model in which business target individual consumers. Examples of B2C sales reps would be sales reps selling cars, gym memberships, or stereo systems. While some B2C goods are at a high price point (real estate, cars, boats, etc.) the majority of B2C goods are at lower price points with only one or two decision-makers. As such, the typical B2C sales cycle has a much shorter sales cycle than the typical business-to-business (B2B) sales cycle.
B2C sales can refer to any sales process that sells directly to consumers though it tends to refer specifically to retail sales. This can include brick-and-mortar establishments such as Gap or Urban Outfitters. It can also include e-commerce sites such as Zappos, which sells shoes and apparel online.
As reported by the Census Bureau non-store companies account for 72.4% of all B2C retail. Some other major participants and their shares were Motor Vehicle and Parts Dealers, Sporting Goods, Book, Hobby, and Music Stores, Electronics and Appliance Stores, Clothing and Clothing Accessories Stores, and Building Materials
B2B commerce can be divided into some specific categories. These include:
- Direct sellers- Like Amazon, Banana Republic and Zappos that sell directly to customers
- Online Intermediaries- Such as Amazon.com that can sell products from a variety of vendors. They act as an intermediary and can broker deals between two parties
- Community-based models- These represent specific interest groups like a bulletin board for gardeners. They are useful to advertisers because they can be used to market to specific segments.
- Advertising based models-websites designed to generate high traffic to expose users to ads
- Fee-Based models-Such as Spotify and Netflix offer content on demand for a fee
Contrasting to B2B Sales
Business-to-consumer (B2C) sales differ from business-to-business sales in several ways.
Lower Price Points: B2C price points tend to be lower than B2B price points. Even a major B2C purchase such as a new car, for example, is tiny compared to the capital that changes hands monthly in large B2B enterprise software or services businesses, where contracts are routinely in the six or seven figures.
Shorter Sales Cycles: Partially due to lower price points, B2C sales cycles tend to be shorter than B2B sales cycles as a general rule.
Fewer Decision Makers: Most B2C transactions only have a single decision-maker. Sometimes there are two decision-makers if the purchase is being made by a couple. B2B sales often involves several individuals influencing the outcome of a deal.