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Different classifications of e-commerce

In this step, we'll explore the different classifications of e-commerce.
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0

There are different classifications of e-commerce depending on the parties involved and the type of transaction that occurs between businesses and customers.

The main classifications are:

Business-to-Business (B2B)

This category involves transactions from business to business, such as a wholesaler and a retailer. It can include e-transactions, e-procurement, supply chain management and the negotiation of purchases.

Business-to-Consumer (B2C)

Through this category, a business introduces products and services to consumers via internet technologies. This can include selling, delivery and providing digital services, such as online magazines and search engines.

Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C)

This category is where individuals (not a business) trade and exchange goods/services or information with other individuals. One of the popular examples of this e-commerce model is eBay.

Business-to-Government (B2G)

This e-commerce category refers to the selling and exchanging of goods and services from businesses to governments or government agencies, such as the army, police force, hospitals and schools. It can involve competing in an online environment for contracts to provide services to the public on behalf of the government.

The following table shows other types of e-commerce categories where the e-commerce participants are varied. For example, government-to-consumers (G2C) provides a system where the government can trade and exchange information or goods with consumers, such as an online system to declare and pay for tax.

A matrix classification e-commerce. Also available as a downloadable PDF at the bottom of this page. Examples of C2C include eBay, peer-to-peer (Skype), blogs and communities, product recommendations and social networks. Examples of C2B include Priceline, and consumer feedback, communities or campaigns. Examples of C2G include feedback to government through pressure group or individual sites. Examples of B2C include transactional (Amazon), relationship building (BP), brand building (Unilever), media owner, news corp, and comparison intermediary. Examples of B2B include transactional (Euroffice), relationship building (BP), media owned (Emap), business publications, and B2B marketplaces (EC21). Examples of B2G include feedback to government businesses and non-government organisations. Examples of G2C include national government transactional (tax), inland revenue, national government information, and local government services. Examples of G2B include government services and transactions (tax), and legal regulations. Examples of G2G include inter-government services, and exchange of information. Selecting the image above will open the image, on which you can then zoom in. An accessible PDF is also available to download at the bottom of this page.

Your task

Use the comments section below to share examples of any other types of e-commerce.
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
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Introduction to Digital Transformation and E-Commerce

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