What are the Different Types of E-commerce Marketplace Platforms: Explained

Aren’t you glad we are no longer in the pandemic era? Now we just call it endemic. We coined it as a dark age since it greatly impacted every Industry. Most importantly, it almost crushed the eCommerce marketplace bringing down small businesses and entirely wiping out cottage industries. Surviving ones took the online marketplace as a resolute, others followed and soon we had a booming online eCommerce foundation.

Statistically, 2020 saw a 16% rise in overall global sales, which was pandemic inclined. Can you imagine how strong an impact COVID-19 must have had to boost project gains in a single year five times more than what five years combined couldn’t bring? 

With that, let’s get to know what an eCommerce marketplace truly means.

What is an Online eCommerce Marketplace?

Traditionally, a marketplace is where buyers and sellers meet intending to purchase and sell goods or services. Economically, it is the exchange of property rights but when talking about the eCommerce marketplace, it’s more buyer and seller oriented branching out into three main categories mentioned below: 

  • Business to Business (B2B)
  • Business to Consumer (B2C)
  • Consumer to Consumer (C2C)

Although it goes unsaid in most explanations, we also have a fourth type known as the customer-to-business marketplace. The reason is that it is not truly an eCommerce marketplace. Every defined eCommerce platform has a separate meaning, sells differentiated goods and services, and has advantages and drawbacks. 

Let’s learn about them in more detail!

Types of eCommerce marketplace platforms

B2B (Business To Business)

A business-to-business eCommerce marketplace or platform is a professional place for sellers to participate in transactions with other businesses or organisations rather than directly serving customers. According to recent studies, 80% of all B2B sales transactions take place through digital platforms or channels. Hence, we coined the term e-commerce to specifically define sector undertakings.

B2B (Business To Business)

In the present century, we take digital platforms very seriously since every procedure is automated and streamlined only with the help of a digital platform. However, we also draw a limitation. Emerging technological advancements are further responsible for decreasing the importance of traditional B2B and B2C businesses.


  • Pillow company provides comfortable mattresses, sheets, and soft pillows to hospitality businesses.
  • A website localisation, optimisation, and building service provider.

These organisations come together when the pillow company needs a website built. They don’t directly deliver to customers, they might be customers by definition in this example but their major line of business deals only with other business organisations. 

Types of B2B


When you first read distributor, you must imagine a middleman working hard to sell all his wares! Surprisingly, you aren’t wrong. The definition of a distributor goes near to the original perception of a middleman, but it’s true in the case of a B2B e-commerce marketing platform when they funnel sails into other organisations instead of directly making goods available to customers in online marketplaces.

A Distributor is someone that can increase the potential of your organisation by partnering up with multiple businesses. Back in the day, this was a complicated task because connecting to various manufacturers and communicating with them simultaneously was nearly impossible. The online platform and digital technology have made this possible, automating or mechanising the task of a distributor.

Manufacturers prefer connecting to distributors when they face a fall in profit margins with a simultaneous fall in sales. They might not have an established network of wide resources where they can find reliable leads, but a manufacturer has as much customer experience about their expectations, requirements, and advancements. By maintaining a record, manufacturers assist businesses to connect and participate in the B2B marketplace.


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An organisation maintains two types of goods- Stock and supply. Stock is the original quantity bought in bulk or manufactured. Supply is a proportionate percentage of the given stock the wholesaler is willing to funnel into the eCommerce market. 

Generally, most B2B transactions rely on the principle of bulk buying since that offers streamlined purchases, quick easy, one-time transactions, and seamless account management.

The wholesale marketplace thrives on eCommerce because digital platforms when designed with the system to adapt to multiple differentiated products between two business organisations, can reduce human effort. The more automatic business management becomes, the more productive organisations will be


Unlike wholesalers and distributors, a manufacturer has complete control over who they sell finished goods. They like selling finished products directly to consumers since it guarantees a higher profit margin. But is profit margin the only thing in their sales target? For certain challenges like a lack of endogenous distributors in the manufacturing company, they rely on a B2B model.

Manufacturers are taking their selling platforms online to carry on uninterrupted purchase procedures and manage e-commerce sales. Digital buying options have beneficial facilities like real-time accounting updates, uploading order status, having a safe, secure, and private portal for payment, etc.

B2B2C (Business To Business To Customer)

Have you ever heard of the term middleman? A middleman is not sufficient but often necessary when customers and wholesalers or manufacturers cannot directly connect. The gap in their line of communication is automatically filled by another business organisation.

However, in a B2B2C e-commerce marketplace, we eliminate the middleman by establishing direct communication channels. The wholesaler can reach customers directly in a designated space online, known as the website. Advanced B2B2C companies also have established mobile phone applications to make eCommerce procedures further refined. 

B2C (Business To Customer)

B2C (Business To Customer)

A B2C or business-to-customer marketplace is the most commonly established eCommerce platform. We use social media and other places through the Internet to either connect or avail products and services. Connecting for the sole purpose of making purchases is the key motive of a B2C marketplace.


  • A food outlet providing home delivery services allows their customers to make online orders from an E menu.
  • Online shopping via mobile applications, websites, or social media applications.

Both these business types allow customers to make a purchase online. Customers directly buy from the website or mobile app.

Why sell in B2C?

Market to target audience

If you are yet to analyse your target audience, this is your calling! Let’s give you some spoilers- most of them are present online. And that is where you are supposed to be selling.

Your business would initially face challenges like generating organic traffic. But once you begin the search engine optimisation and setting up of your eCommerce platform process, it goes only uphill from here. Selling in a B2C market without the assistance of online platforms means missing out on a major chunk of your target audience base.

Preference towards online shopping

Preference towards online shopping

Tracing back our steps to the pandemic again, the already established preference of the masses towards online shopping only increased when physical outlets shut down. Some small businesses did not survive due to a lack of funds, backup capital, and outsourcing conveniences to build digital eCommerce platforms for them.

We have a solution for you. Don’t take up learning digital marketing from scratch, connect with professionals with a simple Google search or social media platforms. An online marketplace allows businesses to seek professional services exogenously. Your preference for online marketing shows how diverse and readily available a digital platform is. Similarly, consumers’ desire to shop online is also because of the wide variety they can window shop before making final purchases. Besides the key requirement, consumers also love the flexibility in wish listing items, adding them to a cart, applying online coupons or vouchers, and so forth. 

Brand awareness

Brand awareness, commonly also known as brand loyalty and goodwill, maps the path for customers to trust a business organisation, especially if they are new in the niche. An online marketplace can help your business build consumer trust so they can remain loyal and keep coming back to you, feeling confident enough to buy your product and services.

Importance of B2B and B2C websites

To survive in the eCommerce platform competition, strengthen your website with SEO strategies, revamped web pages, and a mobile app focused on user engagement experience. A website for B2B and B2C is important because:

  • Helps reinforce search engine optimisation strategies and appears in Google search Oregon product listings
  • Allows online campaigning
  • Continue recommending relevant products to loyal customers, and expand the customer base furthermore
  • Helps with organisation scalability and reaches new marketing targets and goals.

C2C (Customer To Customer)

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Image Credits: Shutterstock

Customer-to-customer or person-to-person marketing does not involve an official business structure. They function without a management team or sales and brand awareness incentive. When a person makes a one-time purchase from another individual online, we call it C2C marketing. When such transactions take place digitally it is an eCommerce marketplace.

If you have ever bought second-hand products online from eBay, Flipkart, or OLX, you have participated in C2C eCommerce.


In today’s digital age, the importance of robust eCommerce websites cannot be overstated. These websites act as the foundation for successful eCommerce ventures, offering search engine optimisation, online campaigning, and personalised recommendations to customers. Businesses must invest in these platforms to strengthen their online presence, build brand awareness, and foster customer loyalty. The eCommerce landscape continues to evolve rapidly, shaped by technological advancements, changing consumer behaviours, and emerging market trends. As businesses embrace the potential of eCommerce marketplace platforms, they can unlock new opportunities, broaden their customer base, and compete effectively in the global market.

The world of eCommerce is vast and dynamic, offering endless possibilities for businesses of all sizes and industries. To thrive in this ever-changing landscape, businesses must embrace digital platforms, understand their target audiences, and adopt innovative strategies to stay ahead of the competition. As technology continues to evolve, the eCommerce marketplace will only grow stronger, presenting exciting opportunities for businesses to flourish and succeed on a global scale. So, let’s seize the potential of eCommerce and build a thriving future for businesses in the digital realm.


What are the main types of E-commerce Marketplace Platforms?

There are three primary types: B2B (Business-to-Business), B2C (Business-to-Consumer), and C2C (Consumer-to-Consumer). Each serves unique market dynamics and user interactions.

What differentiates B2B from B2C E-commerce Platforms?

B2B platforms cater to wholesale and bulk transactions between businesses, while B2C platforms focus on retail sales to individual consumers. B2B often involves negotiated pricing and complex order processing.

How does a C2C Marketplace Platform work?

C2C platforms enable consumers to buy and sell directly to other consumers. Individuals list products, and interested buyers interact to negotiate prices and complete transactions. Examples include online classifieds and auction sites.

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