How to Become a Merchandise Buyer

If you’re a self-motivated individual who loves the retail industry, you may be interested in becoming a merchandise buyer. Merchandise buyers have a unique position within the retail industry and are responsible for filling the stores with stock.

What Is a Merchandise Buyer?

A merchandise buyer is responsible for purchasing the items a company sells. In retail stores, a merchandise buyer will be responsible for identifying trends, looking at the inventory and figuring out which items will sell the best. Merchandise buyers often need to act quickly to stock the inventory that clients are interested in buying, especially in technology stores and other industries that change quickly.

How to Become a Merchandise Buyer

Merchandise buyers need to be able to consistently increase the revenue of their company and ensure that their company never runs out of the inventory they need.

The merchandise buyer will often have to work closely with their supervisor to ensure that budgets are kept and to procure inventory reports. Merchandise buyers need to be very careful about maintaining a certain amount of inventory. The retail store should not run out of inventory and should always keep the items consumers are interested in stocked. Merchandise buyers may find out more information from retail staff to identify items being requested by clients. The field of merchandise buyer is expected to grow up to 9 percent in the next 10 years according to O*Net Online.

What Does a Merchandise Buyer Do?

Merchandise buyers will take inventory reports and identify items they need to order. Often, a merchandise buyer may need to negotiate contracts with suppliers to get more favorable rates, especially for bulk purchases. Merchandise buyers need to be extremely conscientious about their orders, as a small mistake can cost a company hundreds if not thousands of dollars. The merchandise buyer will also regularly create reports for their supervisors. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that merchandise buyers will usually work in either retail or wholesale, and that they will often specialize in specific lines of merchandise.

The role of a merchandise buyer is to ensure that the company is stocked with the items that clients want. This may sometimes require reports and analysis to discover any items that are being neglected. Merchandise buyers may need to update themselves regularly on the products in their industry and may need to be aware of any promotions and sales that are being run by competing stores. Overall, merchandise buyers need to remain very conscientious about their product inventory and any possibility of growing their revenue.

How Do You Become a Merchandise Buyer?

Merchandise buyers are usually required to have a significant amount of experience within the industry, and normally have some form of degree. Merchandise buyers have an extraordinary amount of responsibility and power within the company, which demands a highly qualified individual. Buyers will often be trained on the job but will still need a certain amount of skill within the industry.

Buyers will usually need to show that they can maintain positive relationships with vendors, as vendor relationships will often determine the deals they can acquire. Buyers may need to network consistently within the industry. They may also need to show that they have very good relationships with employees and staff members, as the input of retail staff members is very important in determining the inventory needs of a company.

How Do You Advance as a Merchandise Buyer?

High School or GED
1 to 5 years
Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Merchandise buyers for single stores can become buyers for retail chains such as national stores. Buyers that are particularly skilled at anticipating changes within the market may become merchandise buyers for larger stores or more expensive stores. Overall, a merchandise buyer needs to show that they can react quickly to the market and that they can anticipate what clients want.

Merchandise buyers need to be able to consistently increase the revenue of their company and ensure that their company never runs out of the inventory they need. Overall, a merchandise buyer is required to maintain a high quality of standards in regards to the inventory they keep and their product offerings.

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