C2C E-Commerce: Advanced Strategies To Stand Out From The Crowd

By azfar on April 25, 2017

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c2c-e-commerce advanced strategies

We’ve all heard a lot about business to business and business to consumer sales, but what about consumer to consumer? Thanks to the age of the internet, consumer to consumer e-commerce is now a booming industry.

One of the main advantages of consumer to consumer sales compared to B2C model for example, is that it is easy to start. Anyone anywhere anytime can sign up to eBay or Etsy, create a listing and sell something.

Being easy to start doesn’t make it easy to master, however. On the contrary, it often makes it even more difficult. There is a huge crowd that you have to stand out from, and if you don’t, you’ll be underperforming and losing out to a whole swathe of competition.

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Fortunately for you, if you’re interested in starting up a consumer to consumer venture, there are useful strategies and approaches adapted from successful business strategies that can help you be more successful very quickly.

This article will help you understand the elements of consumer to consumer e-commerce, the difficulties and opportunities, and arm you with actionable tips and strategies to push you ahead of your competition.

Here we go!

What Is C2C E-Commerce?

What is C2C? Well, C2C is defined as any individual selling things to other individuals without the use of a business entity. Breaking this down further, there key ingredients are these:

  • Seller – If you’re reading this, that’s probably you.
  • Buyer – If you’re reading this, you’re probably looking for more of these.
  • Sales Platform – This can be eBay, Etsy, Amazon, or an independent E-Commerce store on your own website. There are a huge number of different platforms to choose from and each works different in terms of commissions and charges. You’ll need one of these to advertise the products you are trying to sell.
  • Payment System – Depending on your platform this may well be provided as part of the service. The platform will hold the money in escrow or deliver it to your bank account for a small fee. Usually however this boils down to online payment, via card or PayPal, or in local circumstances, Cash On Delivery.
  • Delivery – If your customer is a long way away you may wish to use shipping to get the item to them, but this comes at a cost. Typically, you can save on that cost by charging the buyer, which reduces the chances of them making a purchase, or by delivering it by hand, which costs you time and effort.

The Rise And Rise of C2C E-Commerce

The internet has made it easier than ever to sell things online. Starting out as a simple way to list things publicly, platforms soon developed to offer better features, including payment facilitation, image uploads, accounts, user ratings and more.

Now, eBay, Alibaba, Amazon, and even Facebook facilitate consumer to consumer sales. eBay alone now enjoys $60 million in transactions every single month, and is increasing by up to 20% month-on-month right now.

It’s easy to understand why more and more people are getting involved, and how such extreme growth figures can be made possible. There are currently 242 million online shoppers active at any given time, spending up to $40,000 a second. Every second.

This all sounds very impressive on its own, but what about in context? It’s even more impressive.

consumer to consumer ecommerce is growing and show no sign of stopping any time soon.

C2C Ecommerce is growing and show no sign of stopping any time soon.

Three years ago, C2C E-Commerce sales were estimated to be worth $105 billion. Business to Consumer was estimated to be worth $71 billion. This means individuals without a business can enter a bigger and potentially more lucrative market than businesses. This a quiet revolution that has been building for years.

The revolution is such that businesses are even starting incorporate the C2C model as a channel for their sales. Those that haven’t done so yet are receiving some pretty dire warnings of what will happen if they don’t.

Hopefully this briefing has got your pulse racing, your mouth watering and your tail wagging. In the next section, we’re going to help you get a piece of this action, and make your first foray into C2C E-Commerce as successful as possible.

C2C E-Commerce Strategies

Today, I’m writing based on the assumption that you already have a presence on an e-commerce platform, or you have your own e-commerce website.

We’re not looking at setting up here, as that’s relatively straight forward. Instead, we’re looking at optimizing everything you do after that to maximize your potential audience and optimize your conversion to sales.

1. Content Marketing

writing contents is an example of good consumer to consumer ecommerce marketing ideas

Writing content allows your ecommerce site to be discovered in additional ways. Content can also drive readers to purchase.

The Idea

Publish content regularly to build a following that can later be converted to purchasers.

How Does It Work?

It’s a proven, lucrative method of attracting audiences and ‘funnelling’ them toward your product. Start with a broad topic people are looking for information on, and narrow their perspective down to your product.

This allows you to draw search traffic (called organic traffic) to your blog and products by using SEO – matching the words and phrases you use with those being searched for.

You can also share this content on social media to get social media traffic.

What’s more, you can create sign-up opportunities on your website to hook people onto an email list, which you can then market to directly in the future.

Long term, all these actions serve to help you build a following and convert readers into buyers further down the line.

Setting up a blog is super easy, and you only need to be able to research topics you know will be really helpful to your potential customers. You can even outsource the writing part to ghost-writers.

Examples

  • Reviews – Product-specific content can help you promote your own product long term, by hooking people searching for similar items and brands. Honest, fair reviews will help build trust and credibility.
  • Informative Blogs – Create How to’s, Guides, and Tips and Tricks that will be useful to users of what you’re selling. You can occasionally include your products in these posts, so you drip-feed product awareness to a loyal audience. In a list of the 10 Must Have Camping Accessories, yours can be one of the ten, but readers still get plenty of other value.
  • Casual Blogs – Untargeted blogs offering information on everyday life and a personal journey can be a great way to appear relatable and honest. People like buying from other people, and making the products you sell part of your real story can help people see the difference they make in everyday life.

2. Vlogging

creating interesting videos is a great consumer to consumer tactic

Video contents can be a place where you can link to your products and convert your viewers to purchase.

The Idea

Content marketing, but with video instead of written content.

How Does It Work?

Video is a huge market, from YouTube and Vimeo to Facebook Video. There is a whole host of unique content in the video world that can help you sell, including reactions, unboxing, experiments and more.

We are designed to see and hear people, and Video allows us to do just that. Vision is our primary sense, and videos use it most naturally, making them easier to consume and more likely to be shared.

You can include links to your product or ship in the annotations or sometimes within the video itself depending on the platform. You can also start to get your personality across. Remember, C2C is about people, and letting people see you, hear you and relate to you is essential for building trust.

Examples

  • Demonstrations – Show your product in use, identifying what problem it solves and how it solves it, explaining how people can benefit from having it.
  • Tutorials – Show people how to use your product. Are there features they may not have made use of? Advanced settings or easter eggs? Equally, if your product is simple to use, show how it can be utilized more creatively.
  • Endorsements – If you can, stage a product test and find consumers willing to interact with your product and give their honest feedback. You control the edit so you can get across exactly what you want to say, but people will believe it coming from a more ‘unbiased’ source.

3. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is a basic c2c e-commerce activity

Social media platforms are treasure troves full of engaging audiences.

The Idea

Social media offers a huge audience to draw traffic from, and doing so by establishing a strong presence within the social media framework means more engagement from potential customers.

How Does It Work?

Social media is huge. Facebook has over a billion users. Millennials in particular are socially influenced to make purchases based on what their friends like, and what a purchase signals about them to others.

By selecting and focusing on the most suitable social media platform for your product, you can concentrate your efforts for maximum reward.

Create niche pages, group or account that people can follow to get useful updates.

Curate content, and start sharing your own original content in the mix, to create a sense of equivalency between respected sources and your own material.

Used paid advertising to boost occasional high performing posts and expand your audience.

You can also use social media to share testimonials, mediate issues and make announcements when you have new stock, or are out of stocks, or have completed a batch of deliveries.

4. Build Relationships

The Idea

C2C E-Commerce isn’t about the volume of different transactions being made. Instead, it’s about the quality of relationships with existing customers. By forming bonds with them, you increase the likelihood they’ll come back for more.

How Does It Work?

Relationship building will allow you to retain existing customers, and give you the opportunity to reconnect with old customers. If you leave a strong positive impression, old customers only need periodic reminders to check out what you’ve been up to in the meantime.

Establishing an email list is something I’ve already recommended, but it bears repeating. Once you have a list, remember to contact those people whenever you’re making discounts available, when you new stock is coming in or when you’re down to your last couple of items. Make them feel special and prioritized.

Unique to C2C is the use of messaging apps like WhatsApp or Viber – you can afford to be more friendly and chatty with people, and that familiarity can really help to build loyalty. Text messaging is worth remembering too, as it has a far higher open rate than emails, ensuring your message is getting through.

5. Start An Affiliate Program

using affiliate marketing to automate sales in <strong><p class=consumer to consumer business is a good tactic to do less and earn more” width=”648″ height=”330″ class=”size-full wp-image-20583″ /> Affiliate marketing is a referral-based online marketing system where affiliates promote products and earn commission in the process.

The Idea

Affiliate programs enable others to sell your products on your behalf, and earn a little bit of commission in exchange. This motivates people to recommend your products and gives you access to other people’s networks.

How Does It Work?

Having an affiliate program allows you get automatic sales created by other marketers and bloggers. Ideally this is a symbiotic relationship, where people with a talent for marketing but lacking in administrative and business experience can benefit from having a product to sell without the hardship of managing it. Equally, you get to sell your product without promoting it.

In exchange for a minor reduction in profit, you can significantly increase your sales volume, which should make it worth the trade-off. Because the commission is only on items sold, there’s no risk of losing out as there would be by paying a full fee to a marketing firm or similar.

Fortunately, creating an affiliate program can be super simple. Elegant Themes can show you step by step how to set one up with a WordPress site, all in a matter of minutes.

6. Go Mobile-Friendly

Making your own C2C e-commerce website mobile-friendly is worth the effort as it opens up door for a wider range of buyers

Making your own C2C e-commerce website mobile-friendly is worth the effort as it opens up door for a wider range of buyers

The Idea

If you’re running on your own ecommerce site, it’s a good idea to make sure that it’s mobile-friendly, as most people now spend the majority of their online time on their mobile devices.

How Does It Work?

Mobile optimization is now a factor in Google and other major search engines’ ranking algorithms. This means that if your site is mobile optimized you’re more likely to be spotted higher up the rankings, meaning more organic traffic.

Simultaneously, a great user experience on mobile platforms is something most of your competitors aren’t doing. Mobile conversion rates are pretty poor. That means that if you DO provide a great experience, you have a huge advantage.

By opting for a responsive e-commerce framework, you can get a mobile optimized platform ‘for free’, as your site will dynamically rescale and reorder itself to look great on any screen size. You can check this site for a good mobile-friendly C2C e-commerce websites list. The headline? Up to 57% increases in mobile conversion thanks to mobile friendly designs. Not to be sniffed at.

Fortunately for most of you, Amazon, eBay and others have made efforts to offer more mobile friendly designs, but if you want to strike out on your own, then this is a must.

7. Specialization

Focusing on a select group of buyers first is a great step when it comes to C2C e-commerce.

Focusing on a select group of buyers first is a great step when it comes to C2C e-commerce.

The Idea

Using niches is a well-established way of mobilizing a small but passionate group of people by using highly targeted appeals based on who your product best serves.

How Does It Work?

The funny thing about specialization is that almost anyone looking to sell something will say their target audience is “anyone” “everyone” “humans” or some similarly silly answer. This will only ever create problems. You need a target to aim at in order to succeed in hitting it, and you can do this in several ways.

You can create a buyer persona, which allows you to identify the traits, economic status, passions and interests of your ideal customer, and this gives you plenty of ideas for content that you can use to target them.

Equally, you can divide your niche not by personality, but by locality. Specialize in your geographic region and find forums where community members gather. Become an active participant and suggest your product as a solution when the relevant problem gets posted about.

This focused approach will help you maximize your chances of selling to one type of person, with the categories able to be drawn along several lines.

Budget Conscious Growth

As a C2C seller you have to look at how you can make the maximum return for minimum investment. I’ve excluded more professional approaches like Pay Per Click because they will cost you money, and that’s not great way to make money on products that usually carry small margins and come in limited runs.

Most of these tactics involve expanding the reach of your C2C operation through multiple channels. Optimizing for search engines, making use of video sites, maximizing your presence on social media – these are all pre-existing infrastructures with huge audiences you can appeal to free of charge.

Of course, there’s the classic triangle of Time, Effort and Cost. If you want something that requires lots of effort in no time, it’ll cost you. If you want something fast and cheap, it’ll take a lot of effort. But if you spend your time and effort, you can minimize cost.

That’s what we’ve tried to do here. If you know of any ways to maximize your consumer to consumer impact online that we haven’t mentioned here, please share them in the comments below!

Master The Arts Of A Successful Full Stack Marketer

    "Complete mastery of Online Marketing. No expensive courses needed!" - Steve Han
  • 28 Free Resources That Cover All Aspects Of Online Marketing.
  • Includes Everything From Setting Up To Cashing Out Your Website
  • Universal Guide Regardless Of Your Background

Updated: 24 September 2017

Azfar Hisham

About Azfar Hisham

A copywriter with previous experience developing computer simulations, managing websites and being the social media guy. Interested in Google Patents, Knowledge Graph and questioning everything.

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