Introduction to C2C e-commerce: online classified ads and online auctions

C2C (Consumer-to-consumer) e-commerce is the type of business conducted online or through the Internet, where the buyer and seller are individuals. Unlike the traditional business model where a customer has to go to a physical store to purchase a product or service. C2C e-commerce has enabled individuals to open an online store which comes at a relatively lower cost due to the absence of the need to purchase real estate to run the business. Moreover, since the online store does not have a physical presence for the buyer to visit it directly, it is able to offer a practically innumerable number of products. Additional product information that cannot be seen by traditional businesses, such as product reviews and comparisons, can also benefit consumers when shopping online. There are two typical implementations of C2C e-commerce: classifieds and auctions.

Online auctions

Online auctions work in such a way that a buyer places a bid on an item they intend to purchase, other buyers (bidders) viewing the same item should also place their bids at a higher price . Online auctions normally have a time limit, usually ranging from a few days to a few weeks, at the end of the time limit the item will be sold to the highest bidder. It is not uncommon for an item in high demand to be bid competitively: as the number of concurrent bidders increases, the final bid will be very close to, and sometimes even higher than, its actual market value. A major online auction service provider such as eBay charges a final price commission to the seller when an item has been successfully sold. A listing fee may or may not be imposed for an item to be listed or auctioned, depending on the service provider. An online auction site connects all geographically distant buyers and sellers around the world and international trade stimulates the activity of a national seller. The item is delivered to the buyer by shipping and it takes a few days or more depending on the location of the buyer. A premium shipping service usually shortens the delivery time at the expense of higher cost. For example, the overnight shipping service guarantees that the item will arrive the next day. Despite the buyer-seller position in this business model, online auctions offer a wide range of products, ranging from homemade goods to high-end electronics.

Internet Classifieds

While internet auctions allow global users to conduct business, internet classifieds are another C2C e-commerce model where buyers and sellers can meet locally. Evolved from newspaper classifieds, a seller posts classified ads on a classifieds site, interested buyers in the neighborhood find the ad and contact the seller by email or phone. The two parties will discuss the price of the item (so it’s flexible), and they will meet at a specific location: park, mall, etc. Once the buyer is satisfied with the item brought by the seller, the money will be released to the seller and the transaction is complete. As Internet classifieds mature, it is not just about items for sale, it is more of a community site where people can post information about local events at come. The “Lost and Found” section of an Internet classifieds site is another great place for the local who loses something because someone else who found the item might also post about it in this section. Nowadays, online classifieds sites are gaining popularity among employers and job seekers as they are an alternative to placement agencies and thus satisfy both parties. Small businesses and individuals also use online classifieds to advertise the services they offer. Likewise, real estate classifieds is another great feature offered by the service provider. Landlords who have apartments for rent can attract more potential customers without incurring agent or commission fees and thus generate a higher rental return.

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