An assistant buyer works closely with vendors, maintaining positive relationships while negotiating specs, pricing, and deadlines. They must be able to work independently and prioritize job duties, as well as prepare cost analyses and competitive retail strategies. They must be able to develop sales and profit margin plans, as well as maintain margin and determine turnover objectives.
Communication skills are a vital part of being an assistant buyer. They must communicate with merchandise departments, logistics, finance, operations, clubs, and vendors to provide information and problem solve. Assistant buyers, who work in a variety of industries, are expected to communicate with all people involved in the buying process and deal with any problems that may arise. Many assistant buyers are required to travel to different areas to attend vendor meetings and check competitors' pricing. It is important to have transportation and be familiar with the area(s) relevant to their work and purchasing.
Most companies expect assistant buyers to have a bachelor's degree in business or equivalent experience; many require a bachelor's or one to three years of experience in retail buying, allocation, or replenishment. Many companies also prefer retail operations experience. Assistant buyers must have organizational skills, as well as the ability to multitask. They must possess a strong knowledge of the Microsoft Office software suite and be able to create specialized spreadsheets through Excel.
Assistant Buyer Tasks
Advise retail outlets how to price products based on purchase price and market trends.
Research suppliers to determine which ones fit company pricing and quality objectives.
Assist buyers and managers with writing purchase orders, buying merchandise, and managing inventory.