Wholesale and Retail Buyers are considered part of the Enterprising careers category according to the Strong Interest Inventory® Assessment. Originally developed in 1927, this assessment has been widely considered a trusted tool for job seekers to find fulfilling careers over nearly a century’s span. This assessment works by comparing one’s interests and preferences to those of satisfied professionals in a wide array of fields, and then recommends categories of careers based on that analysis. For instance, Wholesale and Retail buyers, like other Enterprising career examples, typically involve making high-stakes decisions in challenging, fast-paced environments, like business and medicine. People who are drawn to Enterprising careers are often detail-oriented and driven.

Wholesale and Retail Buyers buy merchandise or other commodities and resell them to wholesale or retail customers for a profit. There are many steps to a successful transaction. First, Buyers need to procure their product, including examining, selecting, ordering, and purchasing merchandise that aligns with their quality, quantity and other specifications. Then, they need to negotiate prices and quantities, any relevant discount terms, and transportation arrangements—that is, how they will ship the goods from their supplier to their warehouse or even directly to their customers. Once an agreement is reached, they authorize payment.

Wholesale and Retail Buyer - Strong Interest Inventory®

Read about a career in Wholesale and Retail Buying including information such as a Wholesale and Retail Buyer’s salary, daily tasks and other career information.

In order to make a profit, Buyers need to sell their products for more money than they purchased them for. Therefore, they need to calculate mark-up percentages and merchandise selling prices that provide their customers with a fair price, while still leaving themselves enough room for profit. This may include monitoring sales trends and economic conditions in order to forecast how much of which products will sell in the coming months. This analysis can also inform advertising, including which products should be featured, what advertising medium should be used, and when the ads should be active.

In some cases, Buyers may have additional responsibilities. For example, they may need to conduct sales meetings to introduce new merchandise or collaborate with vendors to develop new products. If they work in the retail sector, they may train sales staff, consult with store managers to develop budgets and identify goods for purchase, or even provide clerks with the details they need to print on price tags.

Wholesale and Retail Buyers use many different kinds of technology in order to keep track of their many transactions and business commitments, including accounting and Business intelligence software (e.g., Intuit QuickBooks, Qlik Tech Qlik View, etc.), customer relationship management software, development environment software, and materials requirements planning logistics and supply chain software (e.g., Claritas ConsumerPoint, Eclipse IDE, Infor Supply Chain Management, Kliger-Weiss Infosystems, Materials requirement planning MRP software, etc.). Like any other modern business, they also utilize Microsoft Office Suite, as well as e-mail and web browser software.

Being a Wholesale and Retail Buyer does not require extensive education—some 35% of professionals in this field hold a Bachelor’s degree, while 20% hold a high school diploma or equivalent, and 14% hold less than a high school diploma. That said, what they lack in formal training, they more than make up for in sales acumen, negotiation skills, and customer and personal service. Buyers need to be strong communicators and need to be able to make deals with others who have competing interests.

The median Wholesale and Retail Buyer Salary of $62,750 annually, allows for a healthy living. Salaries are fairly stable across the country. Even mid-Atlantic states with high costs of living still have averages around $75,000, while Montana is at the low end around $45,000. That said, the top 10% of Buyers nationwide earn well over $100,000 annually. Washington D.C. has a particularly high earning potential, with the top 10% earning over $135,000 per year and the median nearing $100,000 annually. However, employment is slowly decreasing, at an estimated rate of 7%, though state-specific data is not available at this time.

Below are some employment trends for Wholesale and Retail Buyers:

  • Wholesale and Retail Buyer Salary: $30.17/hour; $62,750 annually
  • Employment: 432,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2018-2028): Decline (-2%)
  • Projected job openings (2018-2028): 40,200
[Information retrieved from Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2018-2028 employment projections]

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  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2018-2028 employment projections Onetonline.org