Is a Buyer a Good Job?

Buying is an integral part of the supply chain and requires analytical, research and decision making skills to ensure that a company’s inventory stays in stock at all times. This is done by analyzing variables including product options, quality, price and delivery and service and selecting the most effective options to reach purchasing goals and stay within budget.

Whether you are just starting out or already have experience in the industry, a buyer job is a great way to put your business management and supply chain expertise to use. The education required for this career may vary depending on your organization’s needs and your current position, but most organizations prefer a bachelor’s degree in a field such as business administration, finance or supply chain management to start. Earning a certification may also help your resume stand out among other candidates.

Relevant Work Experience:

Most buyers receive on-the-job training to learn the basic job duties, which are based on their specific company’s operations. This can be done through internships, industrial placements or shadowing a professional.

Buyers can also gain the knowledge they need through a formal training program. These programs often teach budgeting, accounting, retail sales, computer systems, inventory control and company protocol. Some programs also include externship opportunities in which a student spends part of their training in the classroom and part in the field.

Getting Started in the Industry:

Most new buyers start out by working closely with more experienced members of their company’s buying department and attending trade shows and site visits. Larger companies have extensive buyer training programs and a well-established learning structure.

The first few years of the professional buying career can be challenging, with long hours and responsibilities that sometimes conflict with other work obligations. However, many professionals enjoy these years and say that they were invaluable to their development.

Year seven to eleven is when most professional buyers settle into their roles and begin carving out comfortable territory for themselves. They move from direct negotiation to managing assistant buyers and others, as well as establishing their own networks with producers.

A buyer’s role involves working with designers and merchandising departments to determine the best products for a retailer. This can be a stressful job, but it can also be rewarding when you know your choices are helping the organization increase sales and profits. A buyer also has a unique opportunity to develop close relationships with suppliers that can help set the retailer apart from its competition.