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Buyer » Overview

Buyer

Buyers purchase goods to sell in warehouses, shops or department stores. They need a passion for their product and an eye for what the target customer base will want to buy. It may seem obvious, but buyers need to purchase merchandise with their target customer in mind – if customers aren’t buying the products, the store/company doesn’t turn a profit. 

Communication is a key part of the role. Buyers need to be able to maintain good relationships will suppliers. They are often asked to deal with suppliers and manufacturers from different regions, so a second language can really come in handy in a role like this, as well as an understanding and empathy for working with people from a range of cultural backgrounds.

Often, buyers get to travel overseas to hunt out the best bargains and the latest fashions or items. Therefore, they need a working knowledge of trends and also an understanding of how sales works, particularly in different countries. They may need to be good at bargaining and understanding hidden costs such as supply costs. They need to be good at negotiating and have an understanding of finance. In addition, buyers may also be responsible for maintaining stock levels and ordering items to specific guidelines.

A buyer may have a team of assist buyers to manage. This will depend on the size of the store/company. Assistant buyers report to, and are often trained by, the senior buyer. Often, the senior buyer must oversee and sign off on all purchases.