Many people use the two terms “consumer” and “customer” interchangeably and they think it’s the same thing. But they have different meanings from the marketing point of view. Especially if you want to be accurate and convey the precise message, then you have to choose the right word it. Today we’ll discuss “customer” and “consumer” and how these two terms are different from each other.
What is the Customer?
A customer can be defined as a person who shops goods and receives it from the retailer, business, or company. People used to view customers as the kind of person who has a short interaction with the business and it ends when the customer leaves.
Example of Customer
For instance, a person goes to the retail grocery shop and buys some household goods, and he becomes a customer. Likewise, a person buys a burger from the food truck, or a person buys a ticket to visit a museum. It’s a temporary and short interaction between the seller and the customer, and it doesn’t prolong for a long time.
It’s an obsolete concept nowadays. It is because businesses and companies don’t do short and temporary interactions with customers. They connect with customers on mobile social media platforms and mobile applications to establish a long term relationship with repetitive shopping.
There are two categories of customers;
- Final Customers. It’s those types of customers who purchase goods/services to satisfy their wishes and desires.
- Trade Customers. It’s the B2B type of customers who purchase goods, add some value to it, and then resell it at a higher price. Wholesalers and distributors fall under the category of trade customers.
Role of Customer
Customer is the main driving force in the economy. Businesses and companies sell their products and services because of their customers. If there aren’t any customers, then there won’t be any businesses because they run their operations based on the customers.
Businesses and companies improve the quality of their products and services after getting feedback from customers. That’s why they have a (CRM) customer relationship management department, and its job is to improve customer relationships and satisfy their needs and wants.
What is Consumer?
Definition. A consumer is a person who consumes or uses the final goods. We can also say that the consumer finishes the final goods.
Example of Consumer
For instance, parents buy fruit for children from the supermarket, and they become the customer of the supermarket. When children eat the fruit, then they become the consumer of the goods because they’re finishing the final product.
Likewise, when the government offers to pay for the medication of the people in Europe, and it’s for the pharmaceutical employees. Those who accept the government medication payment, they become the consumer of the service.
Role of Consumer
Consumers play a very significant role in businesses because they’re consumers of the final product. That’s why they can rightly check the usefulness and effectiveness of the product, whether the product is working or not. Most importantly, companies and businesses study the behavior of consumers, because it tells them the demand for different products in the market.
Differences between Customer and Consumer
Here we are going to compare the main differences between the customer and consumer are as follows;
When it comes to defining the two terms, then they both have different meanings. For instance, the consumer is the person who uses goods and the customer is the one who does purchasing. The customer doesn’t need to use the goods, but the consumer must use it.
A consumer and customer have different motives from beginning to the end. For instance, the purpose of the consumer is to consume and finish the goods. On the other hand, the objective of the customer could be anything. Like it’s to gift someone, or to use it, or resell it, etc. But the consumer has one objective, and that’s consumption.
Purchase & Buying
When it comes to purchasing the products and services; then it’s the customer’s job to do it and not the consumer. The customer would buy the goods either for himself or for reselling and commercial purposes.
A consumer does not receive goods to resell it further. But the customer does have an option either to use it or resell it.
When it comes to making the payment of the goods and services, then it’s the customer’s job to do it rather than the consumer. It’s the customer who visits the grocery store and buys goods; therefore, it’s his job to do the payment.
The target audience of both the customer and consumer is different. For instance, the target audience of the customer could be a friend, family, group, company, himself, etc. and the target audience of the consumer is himself a person or his company.
Similarities between Consumer and Customer
Some of the main similarities between the customer and consumer are as follows;
The figure of Speech Meaning
We can use both of these terms, customer, and consumer, interchangeably in a figure of speech. Whether you use customer or consumer in a discussion, ordinary people would perceive the same meaning. But they’re completely different words with a different meaning from the academic, marketing, and business point of view.
Could be the Same Person
The reason people usually perceive the same meaning between the customer and the consumer. It’s because sometimes it turns out to be the same person. For instance, if a person is buying groceries from the retail market, he would eat it later with his family. First, he’s a customer while shopping and then a consumer while consuming it. That’s why people could use both of these terms interchangeably in a figure of speech, but not in academia.
After a careful study of customer vs consumer analysis, we have learned that we can use both of these terms interchangeably in a figure of speech. But they have different meanings in academics and business. We have also learned how both of these terms are different from each other.