University of Georgia: John Burnett's "Core Concepts of Marketing, Chapter 4: Understanding Buyer Behavior"

Read this chapter. Please note that pages 91-98 will be a review from subunit 3.1. The terms "customer” and "consumer” are often mistakenly used interchangeably. The distinction is blurry because different organizations, academics, and governments have varying definitions for both of them. One easy way of distinguishing between the two is to think of the consumer as a potential customer to a firm and the customer as someone that already consumes the goods a specific firm produces. For example, if you regularly purchase shoes from Footlocker, you are a Footlocker customer. But if your friend does not shop at Footlocker, then Footlocker considers him a consumer, i.e., a potential customer. Firms often target consumers and existing customers differently.