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Wholesale and Retail Buyer

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Life As a Wholesale and Retail Buyer

Job Description & Duties Buy merchandise or commodities, other than farm products, for resale to consumers at the wholesale or retail level, including both durable and nondurable goods. Analyze past buying trends, sales records, price, and quality of merchandise to determine value and yield. Select, order, and authorize payment for merchandise according to contractual agreements. May conduct meetings with sales personnel and introduce new products. Includes assistant wholesale and retail buyers of nonfarm products.

What Do Wholesale and Retail Buyers Do On a Daily Basis?

  • Negotiate prices, discount terms, or transportation arrangements with suppliers.
  • Identify opportunities to buy green commodities, such as alternative energy, water, or carbon-neutral products for resale to consumers.
  • Conduct sales meetings to introduce new merchandise.
  • Recommend mark-up rates, markdown rates, or merchandise selling prices.
  • Authorize payment of invoices or return of merchandise.
  • Develop strategies to advertise green products or merchandise to consumers.

What Skills Do You Need to Work as a Wholesale & Retail Buyer?

When polled, Wholesale and Retail Buyers say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Negotiation: Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.

Persuasion: Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

  • Procurement Manager
  • Purchasing Specialist
  • Merchandise for Resale Purchasing Agent
  • Commodity Buyer
  • Jobber

Job Outlook for Wholesale and Retail Buyers

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 123,300 jobs in the United States for Wholesale and Retail Buyer. There is little to no growth in job opportunities for Wholesale and Retail Buyer. The BLS estimates 13,300 yearly job openings in this field.


The states with the most job growth for Wholesale & Retail Buyer are Washington, Colorado, and Utah. Watch out if you plan on working in Maine, Vermont, or Delaware. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

What Tools do Wholesale and Retail Buyers Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Wholesale and Retail Buyers may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Web browser software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Email software
  • Word processing software
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Microsoft Project
  • Spreadsheet software
  • Microsoft SharePoint
  • Facebook
  • Intuit QuickBooks
  • Oracle PeopleSoft
  • Scheduling software
  • Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • Enterprise resource planning ERP software

Becoming a Wholesale & Retail Buyer

What kind of Wholesale and Retail Buyer requirements are there?


How many years of work experience do I need?


You May Also Be Interested In…

Those interested in being a Wholesale and Retail Buyer may also be interested in:


Image Credit: Qfamily via Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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