Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has been teaching math for over 9 years. Amy has worked with students at all levels from those with special needs to those that are gifted.
You'll usually hear the term ''end user'' when it comes to computers and other electronics. If you work at a company that uses electronics, you'll also hear this word during training sessions. This term, end user, refers to the person that ultimately uses a particular product. At work, your employer might purchase a computer or other electronic tool that you use. Since you are the one using it, then you are the end user.
A customer, on the other hand, is the person performing the purchasing transaction. At your place of work, if your boss is the one that went and purchased the computer, then he is the customer. In larger businesses, there may be a dedicated purchasing representative who makes all the purchases for the company. That person is also the customer, and everybody in the business using those materials are end users.
In everyday life, the end user and customer are often the same person. This is especially true for single people. If you don't have a family and it's just you, most everything you purchase is ultimately used by you. So you are both the user and the customer.
For example, say you purchase a pair of nice running shoes from a shoe company. Well, since you are the one purchasing it, you are a customer of the shoe company. Since you are the one who will eventually be wearing the shoes, then you are also the end user.
End User vs. Customer
There are times when the end user is different from the customer. This is usually true in businesses and families. In businesses, there is typically one person doing all the ordering and purchasing of materials and equipment. In families, when shopping, it's usually just one person who ends up checking out.
For example, imagine a family doing grocery shopping together. While the wife, the husband, and the kids are all adding items to the cart, only one person ultimately pays for everything. If it's the wife, then the wife is the customer. The wife will also be the end user if she uses some of the items. The other people in the family are also end users but aren't customers of the grocery store.
Megan is buying a gift for her best friend's anniversary. She picks something pink and fluffy, a teddy bear. She packs it up and gift wraps it. Who is the customer and who is the end user here? Well, since Megan is the one that purchased the pink teddy bear, she is the customer. She is not, however, the end user. Megan's best friend is the end user since she is the one who ultimately uses the toy.
Michael, the owner and manager of a cell phone store, purchases a high-end computer for his office. Instead of having his purchase officer handle the transaction, Michael himself completes the purchase because he wants a specific type of computer. Who is the end user and who is the customer here? Well, since Michael is the one purchasing the computer, and he is the one who ultimately uses it, he is both the end user and the customer.
All right, let's take a moment to review. As we learned, an end user refers to the person who ultimately uses a particular product. We also learned that a customer is the person who performs the purchasing transaction. If a single person purchases and ends up using the product, that person is both an end user and customer. But if one person purchases a product and another uses it, then the end user and customer are not the same person.
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