Generally, there are two distinct types of business – business-to-business (B2B), and business-to-customer (B2C), though some would argue that a third segment (business-to-government or B2G) would also be applicable – but B2G transactions are broadly similar to those of B2B, and most experts categorise them as such.
The main characteristic of a B2B sale is one of high volumes being traded between two companies. B2B transactions are historically linked to raw materials – however, in the digital age this has changed more towards being data or software. Credit rating check companies such as Experian and Callcredit are two such examples of this new model, offering a service where they provide a detailed financial history on individuals to help businesses manage their risk in handing out credit or loans.
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B2C is the format that the general public will be most familiar with, and covers all sorts of different business models. Generally, a B2C sales can be classed as any form of transaction between a company and an individual, and can include physical purchases (such as supermarket shopping), online transactions (through ecommerce) and contracts or policies (such as insurance).
Companies such as online auction site eBay have pioneered a new business model that has been stylised as customer-to-customer (C2C) – though some would argue that eBay acting as the middle man in all transactions made through their platform means that this new term is somewhat of a misnomer.