The practice of choosing and obtaining products for resale. All types of retail stores employ buyers, including clothing stores, gift shops, appliance retailers and discount stores. Retail buyers not only look at the price of retail items under consideration but also at the quality, durability and trendiness of the items. They also regularly assess the current product line of the store to determine which items the company should stop carrying.
Retail buyers must develop relationships with wholesalers and factory representatives so that they can have access to the latest products. They also attend trade shows and industry events to learn about new companies and upcoming retail trends. Engaging in contact negotiations and managing store inventory by scheduling product shipments are vital parts of the role, and retail buyers may develop promotional programs for stores to help increase sales of specific items. Retail buyers must handle changing circumstances, such as when particular items suddenly become extremely popular. Familiarity with computers is necessary for this job because retail buyers analyze sales data to predict the company's future needs, and they also train other employees about the new merchandise.
Most retail buyers have a bachelor's degree in business, marketing, fashion or a related field. Some also obtain certification in the field, such as a Certified Professional in Supply Management certification. Many retail buyers start out as sales associates and are promoted into the position. Retail buyers should be familiar with the trends in their field. Ways that retail buyers stay abreast of trends include arranging focus groups, analyzing customer data and monitoring news coverage.