Consumer-to-consumer e-commerce is the practice of individual consumers buying and selling goods via the Internet. The most common type of this form of transaction comes via auction sites, although online forums and classifieds also offer this type of commerce to consumers. In most cases, consumer-to-consumer e-commerce, also known as C2C e-commerce, is helped along by a third party who officiates the transaction to make sure goods are received and payments are made. This offers some protection for consumers partaking in C2C e-commerce, allowing them the chance to take advantage of the prices offered by motivated sellers.
There are four distinct types of e-commerce, or electronic commerce, which is the buying and selling of goods or services through the use of computer technology and Internet service. Electronic commerce can take place between businesses, also known as business-to-business e-commerce, or between consumers and businesses, which may refer to either business-to-consumer e-commerce or consumer-to-business e-commerce. The final type is consumer-to-consumer e-commerce, which takes businesses out of the picture and allows for transactions to take place between consumers via the Internet.
Auction websites, like the extremely popular eBay, have recently sprung up all over the Internet and represent the most popular form of consumer-to-consumer e-commerce. On an auction site, one consumer will post the item or items for sale, and then other users will bid on the items. The user who comes up with the highest price in the allotted time for the sale will receive the item in question.
To make sure that the transaction takes place, consumers involved in this type of e-commerce will often use a third party to officiate the transaction. This may come in the form of a payment service that holds the money involved or an online escrow company that follows every part of the transaction. In addition, many auction sites also allow the users to rate the quality of the items bought from a certain seller, thereby showing the reliability of those offering the items for sale.
Other sites exist that are devoted to the process of consumer-to-consumer e-commerce. Online classified sites work just like the typical classified ad in a newspaper. One user puts up an ad describing the goods or services being offered and the desired price, and other users seeking those goods or services can respond. Another possibility is an online forum that is devoted to a specific type of product or service, although consumers may have a harder time researching the reliability of sites like this.