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客户 (client) is more formal, also it is used to refer to repeat or long term customers. 顾客 (customer) is more casual, most of time it is used to refer to shopper or diner, people who are not purchasing on a regular basis. for example, if I ordered something from a store or online, I am a 顾客. But if I rent a place, a car or consistently have products being ...


顾客 can be explained as "a guest(客) who visits(顾) our shop," that is, a customer. Its opposite site is a retailer. 客户 (client) often refers to one or more people who comes to negotiate a business. Its opposite site is a company or a self employed person (e.g. a psychiatrist or a lawyer). I believe both words appear under Western influence.

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