If you’re familiar with dropshipping and eCommerce but aren’t familiar with the phrases D2C and B2C, don’t worry; they aren’t some kind of complicated calculation.

Business-to-consumer, or B2C, is a term that’s probably not new to you. Dropshipping businesses typically operate as business-to-consumer enterprises. These days, however, a new business model known as direct-to-consumer (D2C) seems to be taking over the dropshipping industry.

What, then, distinguishes D2C from B2C? What sets D2C apart from B2C if both types of businesses sell directly to consumers?

Let’s jump in and figure out what kind of online sales strategy will work best for your dropshipping business.

B2C Overview

Business-to-consumer, or B2C, is the first of many abbreviations and abbreviated terms that will be discussed in this article. For the most part, business-to-consumer (B2C) models are used when selling goods and services online.

Most dropshipping retailers fall into the category of business-to-consumer enterprises.

Business-to-consumer, or B2C, dropshipping is the conventional model. You are not a stockholder. In fact, it’s possible that you’ll never ever get to use your creation. You just put it on your store’s shelves and order it from the provider after someone buys it.

Your sole responsibility in the B2C dropshipping model is to promote and generate sales of the product. The product then goes via a series of intermediaries, including suppliers, manufacturers, and shipping companies, before finally reaching the consumer.

While the B2C model has its advantages, it also has certain drawbacks. Yes, let’s look at the flip side as well.

B2C Pros

There is no need to maintain a warehouse full of stock;
Lessen the danger and the cost of the first step;
Finding successful goods from among several candidates is simplified;
Quicker startup and throw;
expanded visibility in a variety of online and offline markets;

B2C Cons

Reduced ability to manage the customer experience;
Delay in shipping;
Quality management becomes more difficult;
An increase in rivalry for the same goods;
Lower margins of profit

D2C Overview

Direct-to-consumer (sometimes written as DTC) is an abbreviation for “direct to consumer.” In this type of business strategy, companies produce and sell their goods directly to consumers, skipping the traditional middleman.

Therefore, you will handle the complete chain, from production and sales to the organization of the delivery process, instead of relying on retailers, suppliers, or distributors, to get the product into the hands of your customers.

D2C Pros

Benefits of moving production in-house and dealing directly with customers include increased profits and fewer expenses.
independent of a convoluted supply chain (no middlemen);
Capacity to establish a sustainable private label;
enhanced client satisfaction, confidence, and commitment to the brand;
better management of your company and data (because you’re the producer);
greater options for individualization and modification of products;
Brand’s presence is customizable across several digital and physical channels; this includes social media, retail outlets, and point-of-sale systems.

D2C Cons

higher potential for loss in product sales compared to business-to-consumer transactions;
bigger initial outlay;
Every link in the supply chain is managed by you;
You locate options for storing goods in a warehouse or inventory;
It got off to a sluggish start;
The ability to sell via social media platforms is essential;
B2B models require more effort;

Feature Comparison: What Is the Difference Between D2C and B2C?

Let’s examine the many differences between business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-consumer (D2C) models to find out which one is best suited to your needs.

Startup Costs

The initial investment required to create a firm selling directly to consumers is the first area we’ll examine.

To start a direct-to-consumer firm, you’ll need to invest more money in areas like product development, packaging, and order processing.

On the other hand, a business that sells directly to consumers can start up with fewer resources because the dropshipping business model commonly employed by such ventures requires no payment until the customer places their first order.

The expenses of production, storage, and distribution are avoided in a business to consumer (B2C) approach.

Ease of Launch

When compared to B2B, B2C launches are often more swiftly accomplished. In comparison to direct-to-consumer models, B2B models require less initial investment in setting up an e-commerce site, cataloging products, developing a marketing strategy, and managing orders.

Direct selling, on the other hand, necessitates manufacturing, packing, and branding before any sales are made.

Therefore, B2C is the best option when it comes to getting started quickly.

Product Manufacturer

Most noticeably different between the direct-to-consumer and business-to-consumer models is the role played by the product maker.

In direct-to-consumer sales, the merchant also serves as the manufacturer, while in business-to-consumer (B2C) sales, the dropshipper sources goods from other businesses.

By handling production in-house, direct-to-consumer companies can save money and give their customers a better deal.

Order Fulfillment

Both the production process and the act of fulfilling orders are components of the supply chain.

Direct-to-consumer methods place the onus of order processing squarely on your shoulders. This entails accepting orders, preparing packages, applying labels or branding, and arranging for shipping.

In contrast, B2C models frequently employ a supplier or dropshipping agency to handle product shipment directly to the customer.

Profit Margins

B2C enterprises often have lower profit margins than D2C businesses, despite the fact that the former have larger initial expenditures. You had to be asking why this is the case, right?

The reason for this is that any intermediary between you and the consumer will take a cut of your earnings. Therefore, if you want to enhance your B2C profit margins, you will either need to start dropshipping high-ticket items or raise the final product price, which could lead to a loss in sales.

On the other hand, direct-to-consumer (D2C) enterprises typically have a higher profit margin since they have a shorter supply chain and pay fewer middlemen.

Customer Service Quality

Direct-to-consumer (D2C) companies often provide superior service in this area.

Traditional business-to-consumer (B2C) dropshippers can offer first-rate customer service. In spite of this, you are powerless to do anything if the supplier or whoever is responsible for order fulfillment fails to provide a tracking number or delivers the item late.

However, with a D2C model, you have complete command over all aspect of your interactions with customers, from the moment they first make contact with you until they receive their orders.

Differences Between Direct and Indirect Sales Online 1

Control over Business Data

The degree to which you, the business owner, are in charge of your operations and the customer information obtained is a second key distinction between business to consumer and business to consumer direct.

With a business-to-consumer (B2C) approach, your customers’ personal information is shared with suppliers and middlemen. In addition, the success of your company is contingent on factors such as the supplier’s product quality, the order fulfillment agent’s delivery timeliness, etc.

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) businesses have the advantage of being able to manage every facet of their operations, from product quality to client information.

Growth Possibilities

Growth is possible in this area for both business-to-consumer and business-to-business enterprises with the correct approach.

However, there are three key reasons why a direct-to-consumer company may have additional expansion opportunities:

Higher margins of profit with fewer middlemen;
Customer information ownership;
One hundred percent ownership of your brand;
There is still room for expansion and scalability in a business model based on dropshipping from B2C to consumers.

Finding profitable products and figuring out your margins accurately are two of the most important steps to success in the classic B2C dropshipping business.

It’s not a good idea to dropship commonplace things that can be purchased on any e-commerce platform, including AliExpress.

Instead, focus on dropshipping evergreen products and adding your own special twist to them in order to create a scalable, profitable B2C business.

Collaborating with a full-service dropshipping agent who can assist with product sourcing, inventory storage, and global fulfillment is another viable option for achieving B2C success.

Risks Involved

Traditional dropshipping B2C businesses that don’t hold inventory often face less risk than direct-to-consumer (DTC) businesses.

Imagine you’ve decided to open a direct-to-consumer soap shop where you sell your own creations. In order to begin advertising, you must first have things ready for sale. As a result, you will likely need to produce a huge quantity of soaps, which will require a larger outlay of capital.

But if you can’t move any of the inventory, your initial investment will have been for naught.

Differences Between Direct and Indirect Sales Online 2

B2C vs. DTC vs. B2B: Side-By-Side Table Comparison

A visual comparison is always helpful in order to further clarify the situation. Examine the following comparison table:

ProviderBusiness (Retailer, Wholesaler, etc.)Business (Manufacturer)Business
Startup CostLowMediumHigh
Profit MarginsMediumHighHigh
Risks InvolvedLowMediumHigh
Control of Customer DataMediumHighHigh
MarketingPlatforms/Social Media/Online StoreSocial Media or Online Store (no retailers)Multiple approaches
Customer ServiceLow qualityHigh qualityAccount Manager
Inventory and WarehousingNoYesYes
Brand Loyalty and Repeat BuyersLow/MediumHigh High

FAQs on D2C vs B2C

To make sure we’ve got everything covered, we’re answering all of your questions about how D2C differs from B2C.

What Is D2C?

Direct-to-consumer (sometimes written as DTC) is an abbreviation for “direct to consumer.”

Using this strategy for conducting business online, the producer can bypass the middlemen and sell directly to the customer.

With a direct-to-consumer (D2C) approach, you can manage every facet of your company, from production to distribution.

Due to the fact that in D2C models, the manufacturer sells directly to consumers, many B2B manufacturers who previously sold in bulk to retailers might now consider about creating a secondary income stream by implementing a D2C approach for one item or their entire product range.

What Is B2C?

Many internet stores and dropshippers follow a business model known as “business to consumer” (B2C).

To some extent, business-to-consumer (B2C) sales can be viewed as an extension of the dropshipping business model. After a purchase is made in your shop, you send an order to your supplier, who subsequently ships the product to the buyer.

Manufacturers, retailers/wholesalers, the dropshipper (you), delivery, etc. are all examples of intermediates in a conventional business-to-consumer (B2C) transaction.

What Is B2B?

Considering the vastly diverse nature of the B2B market and purchasers from that of D2C and B2C enterprises, the business models for these three types of organizations couldn’t be more dissimilar. What we call “business to business” or “B2B” is actually a term for interactions between companies.

In contrast to traditional enterprises, B2B operations focus on serving other organizations rather than individual consumers.

For the most part, businesses that sell to other businesses do so by providing large quantities of a single product or service.

Companies like those that produce vehicle parts and sell them in bulk to automakers are good examples of this phenomenon. To wit, business-to-business SaaS providers like Salesforce, which cater to enterprises rather than consumers.

What Is C2C?

C2C, or consumer-to-consumer, is the final business model we’ll discuss (often also called customer-to-customer).

With this type of business strategy, customers can buy and sell goods and services with one another on an online marketplace.

Online marketplaces like Etsy, eBay, Craigslist, and Amazon are excellent examples of businesses that facilitate consumer-to-consumer trade.

Is D2C the Same as eCommerce?

Direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales are simply one facet of an organization’s broader eCommerce strategy. E-commerce now encompasses not just B2B but also B2C as well as many other business formats.

What Is the Difference Between B2C and D2C?

The supply chain and method of fulfillment are where business-to-consumer and business-to-business models diverge most notably.

For a clearer understanding, let’s draw a picture:

The B2C Supply Chain consists of the following links: manufacturer > wholesaler > dropshipper > consumer.

Distributed-to-Consumer Supply Chain: Producer/Marker to Buyer

One and the same demographic, individuals as opposed to enterprises, constitutes the market for both products.

In this light, it’s safe to say that direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales fall within the umbrella of business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions. The provider and mode of delivery are key differentiating factors.

Direct-to-consumer enterprises make their goods and handle order fulfillment themselves.

Businesses that sell directly to consumers, on the other hand, often work through a network of wholesalers, retailers, distributors, etc.

What Is the Difference Between B2B and D2C?

What we call “business to business” or “B2B” is actually a term for interactions between companies. Companies in this category often sell in bulk to other businesses and organizations rather than to consumers directly.

Salesforce, Alibaba, Pipedrive, ZenDesk, Buffer, and even LinkedIn are all examples of B2B enterprises that offer products and services to other businesses.

B2B refers to businesses whose primary customers are other businesses as opposed to individual consumers.

D2C is an abbreviation for “direct-to-consumer,” as we have discussed before. There are two key distinctions between this approach and business-to-business transactions:

Before anything else, there’s the supply chain, which is greatly simplified by direct-to-consumer sales.
Second, the demographics of the customers and not the enterprises that D2C vendors aim to serve;

Can a B2B Business Use the D2C Model?

Sure thing, if there’s a willing and able customer base!

Take, as an example, a made-up B2B firm that markets printed materials to MNCs and other major businesses.

They had relied solely on their enterprises as a source of income up until this point. An alternative revenue stream would be opened up if they switched to a direct-to-consumer marketing strategy and began selling these printed products directly to individuals as opposed to only businesses.

This case study demonstrates that organizations interested in testing the waters of direct-to-consumer marketing can do so without fundamentally altering their business models.

What Are Some D2C Business Model Examples?

In spite of its recent popularity, direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketing is not an original idea. Here are several companies that pioneered direct-to-consumer marketing (and did so well) before the trend caught on:


When Casper entered the direct-to-consumer mattress business, it caused a tidal wave of change. In fact, you may buy a bed and have it shipped to your house. They are also in a position to give a lower price than standard stores.

Casper’s creators did market research to determine what consumers had to deal with while shopping for a new mattress.

One issue was having to physically visit a store and deal with pushy salespeople.

It was a challenge enough just getting the mattress inside the house, though. To get a large mattress from the store to their houses, clients typically had to rent a vehicle or pay for transportation.

The good news is that Casper addressed each of these concerns. They made it possible to purchase a bed on the internet and have it shipped to your house in a box about the size of a small refrigerator. Isn’t that a time saver?

Plus, by switching to a direct-to-consumer business model, Casper is able to offer its high-quality mattresses at much reduced prices.

The Dollar Shave Club

Gillette was once the dominant brand in the razor industry, and that’s no secret. That is, until an unemployed digital marketer decided to switch things up.

The concept for The Dollar Shave Club came from Michael Dubin. He was tired of seeing men bust their financial budgets to acquire fancy razors. In addition, the razor ps were always hidden behind locked doors at supermarkets and drugstores, requiring you to ask for help in order to use them.

That felt like too much bother to Michael for something we do every day. Because of this, he made the executive decision to streamline the procedure.

Dubin opted for a direct-to-consumer subscription business rather than a direct-to-consumer exclusive razor and retail model. Men may now subscribe to have shaving equipment delivered to their house at a remarkably low cost.

Warby Parker, like The Dollar Shave Club, is a direct-to-consumer business that set out to streamline the complex and pricey business of eyeglasses and eyewear.

Did you know that Luxottica owns the vast majority of the optical market, including such well-known labels as Ray-Ban? Well, the founders of Warby Parker were tired of the monopolistic nature of the eyewear industry and set out to change that.

They were able to accomplish this by choosing to generate everything internally rather than using any external sources. They made their own frames and glasses and sold them directly to customers to lower their costs.


The female entrepreneurs Korey and Rubio were both former members of the Warby Parker team.

In particular, they were familiar with the direct-to-consumer business model and tired of the luggage industry.

The bags they used were either very inexpensive but of poor quality, or very expensive but of high quality.

That’s when they decided to launch their direct-to-consumer business model, wherein they provide high-quality luggage at competitive prices.

Customers could now have their luggage shipped directly to their homes, saving them time and stress at the airport.

They were able to dominate their market by setting themselves apart from competitors, selling directly to consumers, and emphasizing the full vacation experience rather than just the bags.

And so Away was founded, with the aim of providing a more substantial bang for the buck.

What Are D2C Brands?

The term “direct-to-consumer” (or “D2C”) refers to brands that cut out the retail, wholesale, and distribution middlemen.

Direct-to-consumer brands frequently employ a variety of social media platforms to initiate conversations with consumers, encourage brand advocacy, and, ultimately, generate repeat business.

Casper, Away, The Dollar Shave Club, Warby Parker, etc. are just a few examples of direct-to-consumer brands.

What Is a D2C Startup?

A direct-to-consumer startup is synonymous with a direct-to-consumer business or brand. The main distinction is that this particular business is brand new to the market, hence the term “startup.”

Why Is Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) So Popular with Millennials?

As a generation, millennials are obsessed with shaking up established industries. They are tech-savvy and enterprising, so it makes sense that they like D2C.

There are three overarching reasons why millennials like the direct-to-consumer strategy.


By eliminating intermediaries, costs can be reduced. And this, of course, leads to a cheaper final product of the same or higher quality. D2C companies have been successful in large part because they offer competitive pricing.


It’s not just millennials that value ease of life; we all do. We don’t need to waste time looking for anything when we can just have it shipped to our house. With the spread of the pandemic, online commerce and direct-to-consumer (D2C) web retailers took on greater significance.


Finally, millennials value brand honesty and often bypass middlemen in favor of purchasing items straight from manufacturers. This explains why direct-to-consumer companies have more devoted patrons.

What Is the Opposite of D2C?

Business-to-consumer, or B2C, is the polar opposite of direct-to-consumer (D2C) in terms of business model and supply chain (business-to-consumer).

However, B2B, or business-to-business, refers to interactions between businesses rather than consumers. Direct-to-consumer (D2C) models focus on selling to individual customers, whereas business-to-business (B2B) models aim to sell to other companies.

D2C vs. DTC: What’s the Difference?

Indeed, there is absolutely no distinction! Direct-to-consumer, or D2C, is synonymous with direct-to-consumer, or DTC.

What Is DTC Marketing?

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) or direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketing refers to companies that sell their products directly to consumers rather than through wholesalers, retailers, or online marketplaces like Amazon or eBay.

D2C firms, on the other hand, are more concerned with connecting with their target market on a personal level via various online and social media platforms.

What Are the Best DTC Marketing Strategies?

Among the many strategies for direct consumer sales, here are a few of the best:

Find out what problems a consumer is having and fix them;
Create a brand identity (symbol, colors, voice, etc.) that stands out;
Use user-generated content (one of the most effective direct-to-consumer marketing strategies);
Keep a constant online profile, in all the social media platforms frequented by your ideal customers;
Don’t be hesitant to experiment with different marketing approaches, such as TikTok advertising;

Join forces with key opinion leaders in your field to multiply your impact;
If you’re in the retail business, try out some pop-up shops and other offline methods of selling to the local community.
Accumulate email marketing leads;
Provide outstanding service to your clients;
Data and client comments should always be analyzed to determine areas for development.

Is Amazon a B2C or C2C?

When it comes to business models, Amazon may be classified as both business-to-business and business-to-consumer. What this means is B2C and C2C transactions, when businesses and individuals directly interact with one another.

C2C on Amazon is akin to eBay in that it facilitates transactions between users.

Do Consumers Prefer D2C?

These days, shoppers are more likely to buy locally or directly from a small business than they are to make an internet purchase. Just what does that include, anyway?

According to the most up-to-date statistics, roughly 55% of buyers would rather buy straight from the company. What does this have to do with business-to-consumer (B2C) models? Because a direct-to-consumer firm operates under its owner’s brand, it often receives more trust and loyalty from consumers.

Just pretend you need a new pair of Nike running shoes. You’ve discovered that they’re being offered for sale by a dropshipping retailer, but you’re unsure of their authenticity.

Consequently, the best place to check if you can buy them is on Nike’s official website. Given that they are the source of the product, it seems to reason that they will provide better pricing than the dropshipping store.

Every one of us knows that the best place to buy authentic Nikes is from the official Nike website, where not only can we save money but also rest certain that we are getting the real deal.

Differences Between Direct and Indirect Sales Online

Many business-to-consumer (B2C) dropshipping shops face this challenge. If they do in fact offer originals, the price will have to go up to compensate for the many middlemen who will inevitably be needed.

Customers may be more comfortable with direct-to-consumer (D2C) companies and suspicious of business-to-consumer (B2C) ones in general, but this is not the case when discussing a B2C firm that offers exclusive private-label or white-label items.

Given that the customer has no access to the business’s back end or order fulfillment process, they are unable to tell the difference between a business operating on a D2C or B2C model. With the proper product, B2C enterprises can be successful as well.

Important Takeaways

Finally, we’d like to provide more clarity by highlighting an additional method for distinguishing between direct-to-consumer and business-to-consumer interactions:

One could say that “all B2C firms are D2C,” but that’s not entirely accurate.

Both scenarios include direct sales to consumers as opposed to other companies.

In contrast, the direct-to-consumer model handles production, advertising, and sales directly with customers. The D2C model, then, involves serving as both the producer and the retailer.

I hope we’ve been able to shed some light on the differences between the direct-to-consumer and business-to-consumer modes of doing business.