I want to learn about careers as a Buyer

Job Title – Buyer


There are different types of buyers. In this article we will focus on buyers in retail and in fashion.

A fashion buyer is responsible for selecting merchandise, planning the long-term buying strategy and negotiating contractual terms with suppliers.

As a retail buyer you will purchase merchandise that in your opinion will appeal to the public and which can be sold at a profit.

Typical Job Activities

The fashion buyer:

Interprets the trends of seasonal fashion by constantly being in contact with the market
Assists in the formulation of budgets
Selects styles, keeping quality and financial considerations in mind
Contributes to merchandise distribution plans
Negotiates with suppliers

The retail buyer:

Estimates the quantity of merchandise needed
Examines past and present sales records and merchandise inventories
Studies the specific market, confers with store managers and sales clerks and watches reports of general economic conditions to help order suitable merchandise
Knows the quality of the merchandise and the business standard of firms with whom they may do business
Works closely with advertising agencies to plan sales campaigns and window and floor displays

Does this sound like a career for you? Browse jobs in the industry here.

Related Occupations

Clothes designer
Credit manager
Fashion artist
Fashion designer
Fashion model
Marketing manager
Market researcher
Merchandise planner
Personnel manager
Purchasing manager (manufacturing)

Educational Requirement

Moderate: 1-3 years FET or practical training
Senior Certificate with matric exemption for a degree course
Senior Certificate for a diploma course

Compulsory subjects: Mathematics
Recommended subjects: Economics, Business Economics and Accounting

What natural skills and/or aptitudes do I need for this occupation?

Be alert, with the ability to recognise and make use of favourable conditions
Be creative and imaginative
Be perceptive and objective
Has to negotiate in a tactful, though decisive manner and make sound judgements
Be prepared to take risks
Have self-confidence
Have organisational abilities
Not to be overly compliant or easily confused
Have an interest in merchandising
Have leadership ability
Present an attractive, well-groomed appearance

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Employment Opportunities


Market Competitiveness


Income Potential

Moderate - high

Self-Employment Options

Moderate - high

International Employment Market


Possible Employers

Big private companies
Medium or small Companies
Own small business: Entrepreneurial opportunities in this field
Self-employed: contractor, consultant own practice, freelance

Department stores
Retail firms
Own retail business

The fashion buyer with the necessary experience and capital, can start his own business

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Relevant Contact Details

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply

Career Progress and Path

Experience in specific field
Work performance

Possible Career Paths

Specialist career in the specific field

Employment Stability

Moderately stable 

Reasons to consider this career

The need is determined by the consumers
The need is determined by private companies
I can start a business in this field or with these skills
I can make more money than the average person
I can work internationally
I am very interested in a specific subject or field
I can communicate and interact with people