Consumer education provides the public with the information it needs on products and services, so it can make well-informed decisions on what it's purchasing and from whom it purchases. It helps consumers understand their rights and become active participants in the buying process. Consumer education ensures that companies are held accountable by governing agencies and the consumers who use their products and services.
Consumer education is a significant factor in keeping the economy moving, as it holds companies accountable for what they sell and how they sell it, and gives consumers control over their purchases. It motivates consumers to provide feedback that can be used to improve the quality of products and services.
Companies determine how to educate their consumers by taking into account their industry, the product or service they sell and their target demographic. Consumers can receive education through television and radio commercials, print and Web advertising placements and through direct mail marketing. Companies use social media sites to answer consumer questions, post product news and updates and to solicit feedback on products and services. Websites with informational blogs, articles and videos also provide consumers with the education they need on companies and the products they offer. While email marketing is commonly used as a sales tool, companies also use it to educate their consumers on their brands. Trade shows, seminars and magazine interviews provide consumers with education as well.
Consumers are presented with a wide variety of options when they shop for products and services. Each offering consumers a different price, level of quality and set of features and benefits. An informed consumer is able to dissect the information about the product or service to make a wise buying decision after exploring his options and making accurate product comparisons.
Effects on Companies
Consumer education forces companies to be honest about what they're offering, price their products and services fairly and pay close attention to the needs and wants of their customers. Companies keep the consumer in mind from the research and development phase to when they begin to market the product and then solicit consumer feedback.
An important aspect of consumer education is employee training and education. An informed employee is more equipped to answer customer questions successfully and accurately. As a result, he is able to build trusting relationships with consumers as he assists them in the buying process. Companies invest in employee training to ensure the customer service is held at a high standard. Consumers have access to employees while shopping in a store, through phone and email communications, on social networks and through live chats hosted on company websites.
- consumer girl image by Lev Dolgatshjov from Fotolia.com