While the term e-commerce refers to all online transactions, B2C stands for "business-to-consumer" and applies to any business or organization that sells its products or services to consumers over the Internet for its own use. When most people think of B2C e-commerce, they think of Amazon, the online bookseller that launched its site in 1995 and quickly took on the nation's major retailers. In addition to online retailers, B2C has grown to include services such as online banking, travel services, online auctions, health information and real estate sites. Peer-to-peer sites such as Craigslist also fall under the B2C category.
B2C e-commerce went through some tough times, particularly after the
technology-heavy Nasdaq crumbled in 2000. In the ensuing dotcom carnage,
hundreds of e-commerce sites shut their virtual doors and some experts
predicted years of struggle for online retail ventures. Since then,
however, shoppers have continued to flock to the web in increasing
numbers. In fact, North American consumers adopted e-commerce so much
that despite growing fears about identity theft, they spent $172 billion
shopping online in 2005, up from $38.8 billion in 2000.
By 2010, consumers are expected to spend $329 billion each year online,
according to Forrester Research. What’s more, the percentage of U.S.
households shopping online is expected to grow from 39 percent this year
to 48 percent in 2010.
In October 2010, an extension of B2C, B21 was coined (sometimes referred
to as B2I). While B2C includes all manners of a business marketing or
selling to consumers, B21 is specifically targeted towards an
individual. B21 requires specific Personalization for that individual.
B21 requires Insight in order to create the personalized experience.