Wholesale and retail buyers purchase products like clothing and electronics for stores and organizations to sell or use. They have two major goals: to buy goods their company can sell at a profit, and to increase their customer base by offering products that consumers want. Buyers are successful if they choose merchandise that sells, and fail when warehouses and store racks are left with unwanted goods. That makes for a lot of pressure in this position! The most challenging part of the job is predicting which items will be popular. To do this, buyers must understand both their product and their customers. They visit trade shows and showrooms for ideas, and research trends in their product area. They analyze economic conditions, study past sales records, and listen to customer feedback to identify buying patterns. Wholesale and retail buyers often specialize in one or two types of products when working for a large organization, and must be familiar with a larger variety of products when working for a smaller business. They carefully select product suppliers that will meet the quality, cost, and delivery date promised. Extensive retail experience is required to become a buyer, along with a high school diploma, or for some positions, a bachelor’s degree in a retail or business related field. This career depends on good planning skills, decisiveness, and the willingness to trust your intuition.
What they do:
Buy merchandise or commodities, other than farm products, for resale to consumers at the wholesale or retail level, including both durable and nondurable goods. Analyze past buying trends, sales records, price, and quality of merchandise to determine value and yield. Select, order, and authorize payment for merchandise according to contractual agreements. May conduct meetings with sales personnel and introduce new products. Includes assistant wholesale and retail buyers of nonfarm products.
On the job, you would:
Buy merchandise or commodities for resale to wholesale or retail consumers.
Negotiate prices, discount terms, or transportation arrangements with suppliers.
Examine, select, order, or purchase merchandise consistent with quality, quantity, specification requirements, or other factors, such as environmental soundness.
sales and marketing
Arts and Humanities
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Engineering and Technology
computers and electronics
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
talking to others
bringing people together to solve differences
talking people into changing their minds or their behavior
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
choose the right type of math to solve a problem
add, subtract, multiply, or divide
Ideas and Logic
use rules to solve problems
notice when problems happen
People interested in this work like activities that include leading, making decisions, and business.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Point of sale POS software
Millennium Software Atrex
Plexis Software Plexis POS
Enterprise resource planning ERP software
Biztrak Business Solutions Biztrak
Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne
Materials requirements planning logistics and supply chain software
Infor Supply Chain Management
bachelor's degree or high school diploma/GED usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.