Job Description: Buyer (retail)
A retail buyer selects the merchandise to be sold at a retail location. They are an intrinsic part of the marketing team, as buyers ensure that product is on trend, appealing to consumers, high quality and within budget. If you’ve got a passion for fashion and wondered how shop fronts choose the items on display, this occupation could be right up your alley.
What you’ll be doing
Instead of shopping for yourself, you’ll be shopping for, well, shops! You’ll be responsible for choosing the merchandise that’s on sale in a retail location. Seasonal variety means you’ll be kept busy all year round, meeting with suppliers, ordering stock, exploring new products, predicting quarterly sales and finally buying product at a reasonable price point.
Beginners can expect to make in the region of £18,000 and £25,000 a year, while experience buyers at a more senior level can make up to £70,000 a year. This of course depends on your industry, should you want to focus on high-end markets the salary can be significantly high – but so can the pressure.
Retail buying is as much about choosing what looks nice and is in fashion as it is about choosing what will sell and make a profit. If you love clothes, this should be accompanied by a business-savvy ethic to be a successful retail buyer. You should be aware of market trends as well as consumer demand. There’s a fair bit of responsibility involved in the role, as your choices will reflect and shape the brand and impact sales, which will impact quarterly and annual budgets.
Who is it for?
If you pride yourself on being a step ahead of the latest fashions, this is a great starting point when considering a career in retail buying. The role calls for constant liaising with stockists, suppliers, management and other staff, so possessing strong organizational skills is key. A great retail buyer should be able to blend creativity with business and sales acumen, so some training in business –while not mandated – would certainly be beneficial. The hours can be long and varied, and the nature of the role calls for lots of travel. Make sure you’re committed to both of those things before considering a career in buying. Essentially the trick to succeeding as a retail buyer is the ability to multitask. The role is multifaceted, and you are responsible for numerous things from choosing products to ordering them, marketing them and presenting the results of sales performance and customer reactions. If you like something that keeps your finger on the pulse of the latest trends whilst keeping you constantly busy, this could be right for you.