A consumer to consumer commerce system is when a marketplace is created that allows consumers to interact directly with each other. When consumer to consumer commerce, known as C2C, transactions are done online, then it is considered C2C e-commerce. Instead of purchasing items from companies that sell on Walmart.com, for example, instead an individual can seek out an item directly from another consumer. The most common example of this type of e-commerce is the invention of the online auctioning system. This system allows people to put individual items up for sale and allow potential consumers to bid on them. The highest bidder wins the item and submits payment through the same online auctioning site. Unlike businesses that sell on overstock.com or other similar sites, the items that are made available for purchase in an online auctioning system are consumer driven with their pricing. No two items are typically sold for the same amount of money, and often the individual that is selling an item is not the creator or manufacturer of that item.
The websites where online auctions and other types of Consumer to Consumer e-commerce occur often function as a third party to the transaction. They help to list the item and facilitate the auctioning. They also manage collecting payment from the buyer and passing that payment on to the seller. This helps to create a baseline or a trust system for each party that is participating in the Consumer to Consumer business. The third party site helps hold each side accountable for their responsibilities in the transaction. If one party fails to pay, or fails to deliver the purchased item as specified, then the third party can become involved to help resolve any issues. This creates a marketplace of trust between all parties involved.
Another type of Consumer to Consumer e-commerce is those transactions that take place on online classifieds. These classifieds have the entire internet as their potential customer base, as they can attract a much higher number of views. Craigslist is a great example of a website that takes part in Consumer to Consumer e-commerce, while selling on bestbuy.com is more targeted at Business to Consumer e-commerce. Although it should be pointed out that Best Buy has greatly increased their own online marketplace to allow a larger number of businesses to advertise and offer products than ever before. But when it comes to Consumer to Consumer transactions, sites like craigslist and eBay seem to have the market cornered.
Another example of consumer to consumer e-commerce is niche sites that connect individuals like Etsy.com. These sites have many of the same features and benefits of eBay, but they are directed to a singular point of interest. Etsy for example is geared towards individuals looking to sell or buy vintage goods or handmade items. No matter what the venue or marketplace is, the idea stays the same: consumers that have items that they want to sell to other consumers and wish to use the internet in order to do so.