- Choose products for shops to sell or buy other goods and services for organisations
- Specialise in an area you are passionate about like footwear, vehicles, or food
- You could progress to category management or senior purchasing or operations roles
As a buyer you'll source and purchase good, service, or equipment for your organisation.
You might be buying goods that will be sold on in retail environments - like, food, clothing, or other retail products - or you might be sourcing and buying the goods and services your organisation needs to operate (this might be raw materials for manufacturing, equipment or services like consultancy).
- Analyse and forecast trends from consumer data
- Attend trade fairs to find new products
- Manage product quality and get customer feedback
- Negotiate prices, orders, and delivery dates
- Present collections to senior managers
- Track sales figures
- Manage stock levels and keep to budgets
- Check and react to competitor activities
- Adapt quickly to changing consumer behaviour
You'll work in an office but may also travel to meet suppliers and attend trade fairs in the UK and abroad.
This role would be ideal for someone with analytical skills to spot trends, numeracy and organisational skills, IT skills to use computer modelling software, presentation and spreadsheet skills, and negotiation skills.
You can start as an assistant buyer and work your way up. To go straight into a buying role, you'll usually need a qualification in retail or business.
It's possible to get experience in retail on the shop-floor, in visual merchandising, or as an admin assistant in a buyer's office. You can then spend time learning, doing training, and getting qualifications on the job.
Some companies offer training schemes specifically for buyers. These tend to be aimed at graduates. Other types of retailers offer general store management training schemes with the option to specialise in buying later on.
You could do a course at college to get some of the skills needed to work in retail such as a Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Retail Operations or Level 3 Diploma in Retail Skills. A course like this may help you to get your first job. You could then move into buying as your experience grows.
You might also start your career with a retail team leader advanced apprenticeship or retail manager higher apprenticeship before moving into the buying side. You could also apply to do a buying and merchandising assistant higher apprenticeship.
With experience and training, you could become a senior buyer, buying controller or head of buying. You could also move into category management, marketing or merchandising.