do you have experience in retailing but still don’t know the differences between customer and consumer? do you want to explore as much as possible the characteristics of the customer and the consumer to identify them separately?
If you are knowledgeable about marketing, you may be aware that these concepts are totally different. However, people who have very little to do with marketing aspects don’t know the difference between customer and consumer. But… It ‘s time to decipher it!
Some companies use these words as synonyms, but they are not. For any business, it should be fundamental to clarify and keep in mind that the types of customers generate different benefits for the company when compared to the types of consumers.
Therefore, strategies focused on each of these segments must preserve their preference. don’t know how to do it? no problem, you ‘ll find the solution in this article .
So, the time has come to go into detail about the difference between customer and consumer, how they play an important role in the market and what objectives to target each of them.
ready? Let’s get started!
what is a customer?
To know the difference between customer and consumer, let’s delve into the meaning of each concept, which may seem similar, but are totally opposite .
In simple words, the customer “is the person who regularly uses the services of a business or company”, according to Emprende Pyme.
However, this is not the only meaning, since it is also recognized as the person who regularly purchases a product in a certain commercial establishment.
Therefore, the fundamental characteristic to differentiate it from other types of consumers is that the definition of customer excludes the acquisition of a product on an occasional basis, i.e. this person does not go to the point of sale on an impromptu basis.
In short, to summarize the doubts about what a customer is, it can be defined as the person who attends daily to make purchases in a commercial establishment, i.e., the one who pays for the product or service he/she wishes to obtain.
what are the types of customers?
There are numerous types of customers, which differ depending on the degree of satisfaction and the level of loyalty they have with the company and which, in turn, are influenced by the experience and the characteristics of the environment in which they work.
So, here are the most common ones so that you can get to know them in detail.
The loyal – Customers who have a moderate relationship with the company.
Lovers – Customers who have a strong relationship with the company, since they will always choose the brand no matter what.
The disenchanted – Customers who were loyal, but were presented with other options that made them change brands.
The indifferent – Customers who have no position towards the brand, i.e. it goes unnoticed or they have no opinion about it.
Potential defectors – Customers who are not committed to the brand and may not buy it again due to other offers.
why are there several types of customers? As you can see, each of these profiles has different behaviors or attitudes towards the brand, therefore they need a special and personalized treatment for each of them.
Some companies classify their customers by their purchasing power, considering low-cost, pragmatic, shopaholic and traditional customers.
But if, in addition to knowing these characteristics, you want to go further and find another key difference in the customer vs. consumer duel, it is the ideal time to talk about how you should treat a customer.
why is it important to know the customer?
As we mentioned earlier, it is very important to know the difference between customer and consumer, because you need to identify which of the two is going to buy your product .
As a company, you need to generate sales and find that user who will pay for the product or service. So, your mission in this case is to identify whether the person has a customer or consumer profile, in order to know which is the most appropriate treatment.
There is a very popular phrase within the market, which is the following: “it is easier to make a customer buy from you again, than to make a customer buy from you for the first time”.
This means that knowing the customer’s concept and how it differs from the buyer’s concept is the first big step to increase sales, because this user, having already made a purchase previously, is related to the brand, which needs a minimum effort to make him repeat that action.
Without further doubt, it is worth clarifying that a type of customer is the person who is in direct contact with the entire buying process, therefore, establishing a good marketing plan at the point of sale or user experience can help you improve the relationship with the user.
what are the best strategies for dealing with a customer?
After getting to know the customer and the consumer, you are already prepared to know that customer and consumer characteristics are different. But… Are you clear on the best strategies for dealing with a customer?
Although it is a long list, there are some practices that never fail. That is why, below, we will mention the most effective techniques to guarantee a good time to any type of customer:
1. make quick decisions. The customer does not have all day, therefore, at the moment of interacting, you must avoid any delay that will cause discomfort.
2. show a good predisposition: Even if you are not having a good day, the customer deserves to be treated well, so be patient and try to help them as much as you can.
3. eliminate fear: If you have little experience in customer service and occasional consumers, fear should never overcome you. Failure is human, so relax and learn from your mistakes.
Finally, if you are interested in deepening your knowledge on how to offer good deals to buyers, clients and customers, we recommend our online course on practical customer service fundamentals. don’t miss it!
what is a consumer?
A further step to understand the difference between customer and consumer is to explain the second concept, which is as important as the previous one, and which will help you identify untapped needs.
The consumer is the person who purchases a product, who uses or consumes the good or service, regardless of whether he or she or someone else has purchased it.
In other words, a type of consumer is one who “satisfies his need directly with the use of a product sold on the market“, according to Economipedia.
what are the types of consumers?
The main difference between customer and consumer is their classification. The former is based on relational aspects with the brand, as we have already mentioned, and the latter focuses on feelings or impulses towards the brand.
On the other hand, it is also important to identify the consumer’s personality, since this is the basis for the sales strategy that will activate the mechanisms used to make a purchase.
Some of the best known are the following:
Impulsive – Consumers who buy what will make them feel better, even though it gives them a lot of anxiety to make the decision whether to buy or not.
Skeptical – Consumers who don’t buy often, only when they really need the product or service. that makes it more than clear that the customer and the consumer are not the same!
Traditional – Thorough consumers who think about what they need to buy, as they plan their purchases.
Optimistic – Curious consumers who want third opinions to say buy a product.
Emotional – Consumers who are driven by their emotions and seek to satisfy a particular need.
Practical – Consumers who are hassle-free in the buying process and prefer to go through the digitalchannel.
Active – Consumers who, despite high prices, continue to shop .
Undecided – Consumers who evaluate several options before making a purchase.
It is clear, then, that for these types of consumers, implementing a technology or tools appropriate to meet each need, will be of great use to you to think of a communication or sales strategy that will make them increase their interest in your product or service.
why is it important to know the consumer?
Another main difference between customer and consumer is that for each of them you must implement personalized strategies, so you must know how to identify them in a hurry to give them a proper treatment at the time of receiving them.
So, knowing the consumer buyer outside the figure of the customer helps you to investigate more about their behavior and the relationship with the product they use, because if you do not manage to generate loyalty, you will not sell the products.
As we mentioned before, the consumer is the one who has direct contact with the product or service, therefore he is the person we must know in depth to evaluate his experience.
Faced with this reality, it is more than evident that companies must be very clear about the difference between customer and consumer, since the success of their business or permanence in the market may depend on this.
what are the differences between customer and consumer?
After the explanation of both concepts, being clear that both profiles play a role in the market and in the acquisition of goods and services, we can go on to decipher, in detail, the difference between customer and consumer.
If it is a question of putting together a list, there are many to include. However, we don’t want to focus on common aspects, but rather speak from a business and marketing point of view. We will focus on those topics!
1. Purchasing and consumption
A simple way to understand the difference between customer and consumer is their relationship with the product.
This is based on the fact that the person who buys the product is not necessarily the one who consumes it. For example, the customer is the person who pays for a product that he may not use and gives it to another individual who becomes the consumer.
In other words, while there is a similarity in that the customer and the buyer always have the goal of acquiring a product, the two plans are separated when evaluating what they will do with it.
This is seen more in the youth, children and senior markets, as they may have economic or physical limitations to come close to paying for a product.
But it can also be a housewife who does the household shopping for her entire family, but is not necessarily the one who keeps the products, as long as she does not represent one type of consumer.
2. Relationship with the company
The second difference between customer and consumer is their relationship with the company. Although the sale of a given product is carried out in a similar way in both cases, the conditions are presented in a very different way and we explain this below.
While the customer is the person who can have a long and lasting relationship with the brand, since he is the user who receives the whole shopping experience through the Wow Effect, the consumer type only relates to the product. he doesn’t care at all about strengthening social ties with the manufacturer!
While the consumer buyer may be anonymous, since he is not the person who is going to make the purchase, he is unknown to the brand, the company may know all about the type of customer.
In terms of loyalty, the customer can generate a strong emotional bond with the company. Otherwise, this customer profile differs from that of the consumer, who seeks to meet a need and does not share the same loyalty relationship with the brand.
In summary, to address your strategies, regardless of the type of customer, you must attract them with a good price and shopping experience. On the other hand, consumers are satisfied with a well-designed product with the necessary attributes and benefits to meet their needs.
A clear example of this is the baby diaper product. The customer is the parent who buys the product and the consumer is the baby who uses the product. The supermarket knows the customer and their buying patterns, but not the consumer.
can the customer and the consumer be the same person?
At first you may think that the customer and the consumer are the same, i.e. they are always identified as the same person, but the background goes far beyond this .
Defining whether both customer and consumer are one and the same person will depend on the industry or product we are talking about. In many occasions, this depends on the person, who goes through different roles depending on the buying process .
There are many positions with different combinations that can clarify this situation. For example, we mentioned before about the case of the baby diaper, which is an occasion where the customer and the consumer, occasional or final, are different users.
However, there is also the situation where the difference between customer and consumer is null, because they are the same person. For example, the purchase of clothes made by a 25 year old young man, where he is the user who pays and uses the product.
Usually the process starts when a user, unconsciously, becomes a consumer at a certain moment. It is a type of buyer when he acquires the good or service that will cover his need and if he is satisfied he becomes a recurring customer.
is the customer more important than the consumer?
The difference between customer and consumer is very easy to detect if you pay attention to the buying process of your business, but once you understand it, you will never again confuse them as if they were similar personalities.
The type of customer is the main objective of any successful business in the long run, because the more you know them, the more chances you will have to satisfy them and turn them into loyal customers to the product or service.
In any case, neither is more important than the other, since it will depend on the actions you take as a brand to keep both users satisfied with your service. This brings benefits for your company, since it motivates repurchase and positive word of mouth.
So, the difference between customer and consumer gives you the possibility to implement a correct segmentation, personalize brand communication and focus on both users will allow you to act based on their needs.
did you understand the difference between customer and consumer? Knowing these concepts will help you understand and attack the profile of each user in their experience with your brand.
We hope you enjoyed as much as we did the explanation of all the topics covered in this article and that from now on you are prepared to detect the concepts of customers and consumers as two different terms.