We explain what a consumer is and how it differs from a client. Also, what are its characteristics and its life cycle?
What is a consumer?
Consumer is any person or organization that is considered as a potential customer to carry out the act of purchase. This consumer demands goods and/or services that are exchanged for money .
This concept has been approached from different theories, so it is correct to understand it in a certain context.
Likewise, consumers are determined by the law of supply and demand . That is, a consumer is not only taken into account based on the monetary exchange between the customer who wants a product or service and the producer who owns said product, but it is also necessary to evaluate the number of consumers and the number of products. in order to better understand the concept.
Consumers are also called those who consume something and who, either due to marketing strategies or addiction, cannot stop consuming said product or service.
Since ancient times, man has been related to others through buying and selling . Therefore, although the term has not been used before, the consumer has been present in every society .
The concept of consumer implies that he consumes something and, to do so, he must exchange something with the producer.
Difference between client and consumer
Saying that a person is a customer is not the same as saying that that person is a consumer . The term consumer implies the act of purchase, but does not imply loyalty to the brand or the product/service.
From the point of view of marketing , the objective of every company is that a consumer becomes a client of the company since the latter will have a built relationship and, consequently, a certain loyalty to the brand.
Consumer behavior varies depending on the demand for products , variables external to the consumer (such as world market variables ) and their consumption habits, hobbies, customs, etc.
Depending on each product and each consumer, the behavior can be:
- According to the company:
- According to the shopping schedule:
- According to the type of consumer:
Stages of the act of purchase
Consumer behavior is very sensitive to changes in its life cycle and to changes in the market.
In order to deduce the type of behavior of a consumer, 3 central axes must be taken into account:
- Previous market research. It refers to the information that the consumer seeks before making the act of purchase. This will largely depend on the importance of the product/service for the consumer. The more important the product is to the consumer, the greater the search for information about the service/product.
- act of purchase It is the experience or act of purchase itself. That is, the moment in which the subject makes the purchase.
- After sales. In the post-sale experience, you can see if the consumer is a potential customer. That is, if the experience with the product/service was favorable or if it has left much to be desired based on consumer expectations.
Knowledge and behavior
In the past, the consumer was considered a simple receiver of what the producer offers . However, this term greatly limits the concept of the consumer who, for his part, not only gives his opinion on whether or not he wishes to consume said product, but also establishes how, when and where to do so.
Therefore, it is wrong to consider the consumer as the one who only makes the act of purchase since it will be him, with his interests, behaviors, behaviors and tastes , who will determine the type of product/service that suits each of his needs.
In order to understand the complexity of consumers and to be able to increase the sales of a company , producers inexorably need to resort to market research, which can be qualitative or quantitative (although both complement each other).
- Quantitative investigation. It is one that takes into account hard variables of the consumer. For example; gender, age, socioeconomic level (NES), etc.
- Qualitative research. It refers to a type of research that is governed by soft variables. For example: consumption preferences at certain times, tastes, hobbies, etc.
Consumer life cycle
Within what is the study of the consumer, one of the main characteristics that must be taken into account is that the consumer changes as their life cycle changes .
Thus , a consumer who at one point consumes canned food because he is a single adult between 20 and 22 years old who studies and works all day, in a few years he can finish his studies, have more time, get married and stop consuming the canned product. that previously fit your reality.
The life cycle of a consumer is changing in some aspects in an accelerated way and in others slower, but it is always changing.
Establishing a link
Today’s consumer demands the establishment of a link with the company or brand . Therefore, it is necessary to invite the consumer to feel free to interact with the company.
To this end , customer care services are provided . These services are not only to provide assistance at a particular time, but many companies allow and encourage this link, considering it essential for a consumer to become a client.
In addition, the link that the current consumer demands is also achieved through the different media ( Twitter, Instagram or Facebook).
This allows the consumer not to communicate with the manufacturer or company of the product and also to be very critical and demanding regarding the experience with the purchase of a product/service.
The secret sale
Today’s consumer loves (in general) to consume , but does not like to be sold a product or service.
Therefore, many marketing strategies point to social networks , through which it seems that the product sells itself and that it is the same consumer who has the tools to make the purchase through prior research, detailed analysis and observation . to other consumers who have previously consumed the product/service.
Law of supply and demand
The consumption of a product/service must not only be regulated by the number of consumers that exist for it, it must also be regulated by the quantity of the product/service that is available to supply said consumers.
This relationship of supply and demand is progressively modified as the taste or preference of societies changes and depending on a certain product.
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