How to become a Retail Buyer

Retail buyers purchase goods to be sold in retail stores. They may purchase goods locally, interstate or overseas. In large department stores, buyers may specialise in certain types of merchandise (textiles, fashion, hardware or toys, for example). In a national chain of stores, such specialist buyers may purchase merchandise for all stores or nominate brands to be stocked.

Personal requirements for a Retail Buyer

  • Enjoy clerical and administrative activities
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Knowledgeable and interested in the retail market
  • Good communication skills
  • Good negotiation skills
  • Good planning and organisational skills
  • Good with numbers
  • Willing to travel

Education & Training for a Retail Buyer

You can work as a retail buyer without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job. Buyers usually begin as sales staff and are selected for advanced training in retailing. Usually only experienced sales staff are appointed to buying positions. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications. You may like to consider a VET qualification. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become a retail buyer through a traineeship. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. Alternatively, you can become a retail buyer by completing a degree in business, marketing or a related field at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English and mathematics are normally required. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.


Duties & Tasks of a Retail Buyer

Retail buyers:

  • Obtain information from store executives, salespeople and sales records data about stock levels and fast-moving and slow-moving goods
  • Consider which goods will sell well in particular locations and what prices customers are prepared to pay
  • Research customer demands and trends by processing store sales and inventory reports
  • Manage and analyse stock levels and order points using computers and statistics
  • Try to anticipate changes in customer demand for particular goods, as goods must be purchased well before their sale to customers
  • Inspect, compare and select goods at manufacturers' or agents' premises
  • Contact suppliers to replenish stocks
  • Be aware of relevant legal information such as consumer rights and store licensing
  • Communicate frequently with store management to discuss planning, budgeting, sales promotions and advertising campaigns
  • Attend trade fairs and other displays interstate and overseas to obtain information about the range of products available.

Tasks

  • Anticipates consumer trends and determines quantity, style and quality of goods to be purchased..
  • Monitors sales data and stock levels, and studies trade, manufacturers' and market information to keep informed of changing market conditions..
  • Negotiates purchase, promotion and supply arrangements with suppliers..
  • Liaises with management on long-term planning and sales promotions..
  • Designs and implements pricing, marketing, promotional and display strategies..
  • Establishes working plans according to seasonal and budgetary requirements..

Working conditions for a Retail Buyer

In small businesses, owners normally do their own retail buying after consultation with their staff.


Employment Opportunities for a Retail Buyer

Retail buyers are employed by department stores, retail chains and smaller retail shops. Most large and medium retailers, which are usually located in the capital cities, have teams of buyers. With experience, and sometimes further training, it is possible to become a supervisor or manager. Experienced buyers can also become self-employed, offering their services on a freelance basis.


Specializations

Retail Buyer

Retail buyers purchase goods to be sold in retail stores. They may purchase goods locally, interstate or overseas. In large department stores, buyers may specialise in certain types of merchandise (textiles, fashion, hardware or toys, for example). In a national chain of stores, such specialist buyers may purchase merchandise for all stores or nominate brands to be stocked.

  • Average age
    Average age
    36 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Strong
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    58% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    45 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    $1,810
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Medium skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    88% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    4,100 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 0.2%
    NSW: 38.3%
    NT: 0.1%
    QLD: 10.6%
    SA: 4.0%
    TAS: 0.7%
    VIC: 41.5%
    WA: 4.6%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 0.1%
    20-24: 5%
    25-34: 39.2%
    35-44: 28.6%
    45-54: 16.3%
    55-59: 4.9%
    60-64: 3.1%
    65 and Over: 2.7%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 16.4%
    Bachelor degree: 35.4%
    Certificate III/IV: 8.5%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 7%
    Year 10 and below: 6.8%
    Year 11: 3.7%
    Year 12: 22.3%
Is the information on this page correct? Request update

Become a member

Already a member? Login Forgot password?

Join the conversation