Retail [business-to-consumer, B2C]

Business-to-consumer (B2C) is the retail part of commerce; retail is the process of selling consumer goodsservices, or information directly to consumers. The term was popular during the dot-com boom of the late 1990s when online retailers and sellers of goods were a novelty.

Of French derivation “retaillier”, in ancient French, means “to cut” or “to reduce”: from this expression it is possible to deduce the difference existing between this modality of commerce and the sale to the ingrosso. The latter, in fact, presupposes the sale by a company to another company, as happens in the case of the sale of large quantities of goods by producers to wholesalers, who in turn sell them to retailers (for example, supermarkets); the goods purchased by them in large quantities are then sold (in smaller quantities) to final customers.

The acronym “B2C” stands for “Business to Consumer” and denotes the business relationship between company and consumer. This also includes all communication by companies with potential or existing private customers, i.e. consumer-oriented marketing. If a company’s products or services are intended for other companies, i.e. business customers, this falls under the B2B (Business to Business) category.

B2C marketing encompasses all marketing tools aimed at private consumers. In contrast to business customers, consumers’ purchasing decisions are predominantly emotional. Therefore, a B2C marketing strategy aims to highlight the personal and emotional benefits or advantages of the product or service to the end consumer. The most common strategies in this area involve content, email, social media, and websites.

The purchasing process in B2C is shorter and less complex than that of business-to-business transactions, which usually involves several meetings before the client buys. In business-to-consumer, on the other hand, the consumer is invited to buy immediately.

Customer feedback in the business-to-consumer market tends to be more immediate, allowing companies to make product changes more easily and adapt more quickly to consumer demands. Social media has enabled consumers to take an increasingly active part in the process of designing and refining products and services.

Types of retail

  • Retail “in permanent location”: it is the classic store inside which presents the assortment of goods. Depending on the type of sale, it uses special structures for display, such as shelving or other types of displays. They can be located on the roadways or within shopping centers.
  • Supermarket: originally specialized in the sale of foodstuffs, over the years it has expanded its offer, expanding also to household goods and technology sector.
  • Discount: also in this type of retail is the food genre to be the master. It is distinguished from the supermarket by the offer of so-called “non-branded” goods, which are retailed at low prices.
  • Temporary stores: these are stores created directly by producers to launch a new product on the market or to consolidate their own brand.
  • Vending machines: maybe the name doesn’t mean much to you, but you’ve probably noticed in the last few years the spread of fully automated stores open 24 hours a day in Italian cities. If you haven’t figured out what I’m talking about yet, I’m referring to those stations composed of a series of vending machines where you can buy food and other products. Those are the vending machines!
  • Mobile retail: it’s a commercial exercise based only on a smartphone app through which you can buy the goods offered.
  • Internet retail: is the classic e-commerce site through which you will order the desired product, and you will receive it directly at home through an express courier.