Retail buyer

What they do

Retail buyers are responsible for sourcing, selecting and purchasing goods to be sold by retail businesses. They research market trends and also watch what stock their competitors purchase. They plan sales targets and must predict future buying patterns. They source and develop relationships with suppliers, negotiate prices for goods, and plan, monitor and evaluate stock levels.

Retail buyers must have a good understanding of their customers to determine product ranges that best achieve commercial outcomes. They may also be involved in deciding how products are displayed and managing the image of the brand.

Working conditions

Retail buyers often travel interstate and overseas to research and source goods, attend trade fairs and to meet with suppliers. They usually work in an office environment, but may also spend time examining potential merchandise in warehouses, markets or at wholesalers. They also spend time in retail stores working with store managers and visual merchandisers to review stock levels and to decide how the products should be displayed.

Retail buyers generally work business hours, however, when travelling their hours may vary and they may work longer hours.

Tools and technologies

Retail buyers use computers and word processing and software programs to manage and analyse stock levels, study sales data and manage finances. They may research trends and buying patterns, and source suppliers online. They also need to be familiar with retail store operating equipment, and pricing and stock measuring systems.

How do I become one?

Education and training

It is possible to work as a retail buyer without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in retail management.

The Certificate IV in Retail Management is available at registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. Search the My Skills website to find a registered provider near you.

You can also undertake a traineeship in retail management (level 4). The traineeship usually takes 12 months to complete.