Many people consider “consumer” and “customer” the same thing. They may be the same thing in a figure of speech, but they’ve completely different meanings from the marketing point of view. The reason people usually misinterpret the two terms is that they both refer to the same person. But when it comes to definition and interpretation, they’re completely different. Today, we’ll discuss consumer, its different types, rights, and responsibilities.
What is Consumer?
Every person can be a consumer or customer one time or the other. But the consumer is the person who uses and consumes the product/service. We can call the consumer end-user or end consumer. Customer, on the other hand, is the person who does shopping and purchasing of product/service. A consumer doesn’t resell the product/service; he buys it and uses it.
A consumer is a person who involves in the economy of the country. For instance, a person purchases products for his family. Now he’s shopping the commodities, it means that he’s a customer. But when he brings food to the table and feeds his family members, then they’re the consumer.
According to the definition of the consumer by “Cambridge Dictionary” is as follows;
“A person who buys goods or services for their use”
When you buy a gift for someone and give it to him. The user of the gift is a consumer, and he’s important to the marketers and businesses. It’s because consumers can check and judge the quality of the product/service and provide his feedback.
The behavior of consumers tells whether a product is in demand and working in the market, or it has become obsolete. Businesses study consumer behavior to develop a pattern and it helps them to target their audience.
Consumer Vs Customer
The difference between consumer and customer is as follows in the table.
|Definition||It’s the person who uses the product/service.||It’s the person who does the shopping.|
|Resell||The consumer doesn’t resell the product/service.||Customers can buy and resell it later on.|
|Purchase||The consumer doesn’t need to buy the product/service.||The customer has to do shopping to use it.|
|Shopping Motive||The consumer motive is to use the goods.||The customer motive is either to use the goods or resell them.|
|Payment||A consumer can or cannot pay for it.||Customers have to make payment for the goods he’s shopping.|
|Target Group||Family, friends, groups, individual, company.||Company or individual.|
Consumer Vs Prosumer
The difference between consumer and prosumer is as follows;
|It’s the end-user of the product/service.||Prosumer first performs shopping, then consume the goods, and finally spread the word.|
|One consumer doesn’t impact the brand image of the company.||One prosumer can have a strong impact on the brand image b/c of the word of mouth marketing.|
|A consumer may or may not have a plethora of followers on social media.||A prosumer has a very large social circle and following on social media.|
|A consumer only speaks his mind and that’s it.||A prosumer shares his views on the platforms where the majority of people listens to him.|
|One consumer doesn’t fail the brand.||One prosumer can decide the future of the brand.|
|Companies don’t make offers to a consumer.||Businesses do approach prosumer to do words of mouth marketing for the product/service.|
|Any ordinary shopper in the shopping mall.||A reviewer and a video maker on YouTube.|
Consumer Products Safety Commission laid the foundation of consumer rights under the consumer products safety act 1971, and they’re as follows;
The right to safety
Consumers have a right to a safe product with right, clear, and accurate information. If the product causes any damages to the consumer, then the manufacturer would be liable to pay for it. It also imposes responsibility upon consumers to use the product according to the provided safety standards by the company.
The right to Information
Consumers have a right to know all the relevant details of the product/service. If they know all the details, then they can make informed choices and purchase decisions about the product. If the manufacturers sell products under pretense, they offer something that isn’t there. In this case, if the manufacturer is liable for it under the court of law.
The right to choose
Consumers have a right to shop and buy products in a free market. It’s because consumers would have a lot of choices to choose from in the open market. Rather than a monopolist market, where there’s only one seller.
Consumers also have the right to choose products/services for free will. Marketers and manufacturers can’t push people to buy their products. Sometimes marketers use techniques like price-cutting or collusion offers to attract the attention of consumers. It leads towards creating an atmosphere of monopoly.
The right to be heard
Consumers also have a right to pass the feedback about the product they’ve used it. In case if the product turns out to be faulty or falsely informed, then they have a right to share their grievances.
For instance, if a person has a bad experience at the airport-related to poor service. The person has a right to share his views and post it online about his bad experience. If the person is right about his claim, then the airport and aviation authority can’t take any legal steps.
Responsibilities of Consumers
Of course, consumers should have rights, but they have also got responsibilities to follows. Following are the important responsibilities of consumers;
Making informed choices
The free market is good for consumers because it provides them choices. But some consumers (prosumer to be more precise) collude with one seller to get a special discount. Some influential consumers promote only one seller; it kicks competitors out of the market resultantly. Therefore, the rest of the consumers have to buy from the monopolist because of following the influential consumer wrongly.
Carefully read and follow instructions
Every product comes with manuals, instructions, and how to use guide. A consumer must read such literature carefully before using the product or service. Often consumers’ negligence and irresponsible behavior lead them to injury, product breakage.
If the manufacturer is providing you the right products with clear and accurate information; now it’s up to the consumers to use the products safely.
Rightly raising your voice
Of course, such persons have a right to raise their voices and share their feedback online. But it shouldn’t be out of their personal spite, and they should use their freedom of speech rightly.
Do not carry away by advertisements
Often advertisements play with the consumer’s emotions and exaggerate the performance of a product or service. The consumer must do the research and compare the product shown in the advert with the actual product in the market.
Always ask for a cash memo
To return the product or file a complaint, you need an invoice. It shows the consumer has purchased and paid for the product or service. Mostly a seller is responsible for providing a cash memo at the time of purchase but if he does not provide such evidence, you can ask for it and secure your purchases.
After a though study of consumers and how it differs from customer and prosumer. With the different types of consumers and the rights and responsibilities of consumers, we have got a clear understanding of . If you still have any questions, you should type it in the comment box. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.