What does a Retail Buyer do?

Buyers procure the products and services, including farm products or nondurable goods, and relevant services that their organizations intend to either use or resell. As seekers of the best deal for their organization, a buyer searches for the highest quality goods and services at the lowest possible cost to the company. Buyers also make sure to examine trends, sales records, and inventory levels of current stock. They also examine foreign and domestic suppliers and keep up to date with potential changes that may affect the supply and demand for products and materials.

Buyers use many resources to discover all potential suppliers. This includes attending meetings, trade shows, and conferences to learn about new industry trends and to establish contact with potential suppliers. They will often interview a prospective supplier and visit their plant or distribution center to assess their capabilities and potential to serve the company’s needs. Buyers also stay in constant contact with suppliers to ensure the desired goods or services arrive on time, in the correct amount, and at the expected quality. Buyers have a bachelor’s degree in retail merchandising and management.

What responsibilities are common for Retail Buyer jobs?
  • Deliver briefs, updates and reports as and when required.
  • Responsible for placing purchase orders for custom orders.
  • Lead negotiations on provisions, pricing, delivery and payment terms.
  • Review historical trends on GMP inventory and recommend actions.
  • Meet minimum standards of safety per assigned department.
  • Work to obtain inventory and turn goals on assigned buying desk.
  • Act as a liaison with vendors and employees.
  • Responsible for timely purchasing and delivery of materials required.
  • Interact closely with suppliers and QA to resolve quality issues.
  • Solve problems with orders and resolve all receiving and invoicing discrepancies.
  • Monitor the cost, schedule and scope of assigned purchase orders.
  • Operate in an ethical professional manner and attend scheduled meetings.
  • Act as team leader, mentor and coach within the purchasing team.
  • Ensure all shipments are delivered and processed on time.
  • Provide first line of support in all audit requests.
  • Evaluate and compare total cost of procurement to ensure best value is obtained.
  • Generate, negotiate and implement current and future supplier agreements.
  • Provide guidance as needed to other buyers as requested.
  • Implement action and escalate according to approval protocol as necessary.
  • Contact vendors and suppliers for quotations and maintain relationships.
  • Monitor contract performance to ensure compliance with contractual obligations.
  • Coordinate with suppliers, logistics and project management to ensure on-time deliveries.
  • Responsible for savings and KPI achievements and its reporting.
What are the typical qualifications for Retail Buyer jobs?
  • associates or Bachelor's Degree in business, business administration or computer science, or equivalent experience.
  • Experience with operating systems, email, and C and CPIM systems and software.
  • Is a critical thinker with attention to detail when selecting items.
  • Can utilize leadership skills for decision making.
  • Fluent product knowledge and strong contacts in the field.
  • Is a natural collaborator and problem solver and strives for continuous improvement.
  • Demonstrated negotiation skills.
  • Experience with enterprise resource planning.
EducationBachelor's Degree
Work/Life Balance
3.4 ★
Salary Range--
Career Opportunity
3.2 ★
Avg. Experience2-4 years

Retail Buyer Salaries near Canada

Average Base Pay

$68,532 /yr
Not including cash compensation
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Glassdoor Estimated Salary

Retail Buyer Career Path

Learn how to become a Retail Buyer, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

Senior Buyer
Buyer IV
Retail Buyer

Years of Experience Distribution

0 - 1
2 - 4
5 - 7
Not including years spent in education and/or training

Retail Buyer Insights

Read what Retail Buyer professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
RMS InternationalRMS International
Jul 22, 2022

“The job itself was super interesting and the product I worked with was great fun.”

Jul 13, 2023

“Can pay well good side money make your own schedule support is quick to answer and solve any problems”

Assistant Buyer
Sept 14, 2021

“I've been there for a year and had so many amazing opportunities to further my career!”

Associate Buyer
Feb 14, 2022

“All those things are workable but not having any job progression within the role is disappointing.”

Jun 27, 2021

“It’s great to create your own schedule and decide when and when you don’t want to work.”

Grocery Online Shopper
May 25, 2021

“Starting wage was reasonable and I enjoyed the variety of different aspects of the job.”

The Very GroupThe Very Group
Assistant Buyer
Apr 12, 2023

“Although pushed to progress it’s hard to actually progress as there’s not many career opportunities Pay is not the best”

Full-service Shopper
Feb 28, 2022

“And the fact you don't have to constantly be driving to earn money is the best part and I love shopping for other people.”

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Retail Buyer Interviews

Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of buyers

Also known as purchasing agents, buyers spend a typical day selecting and ordering products and authorizing payments based on agreements with manufacturers and suppliers. They also work within a budget and often need to negotiate pricing costs to keep both sides happy.

A common industry for buyers is fashion, they can work in other retail sectors such as supermarkets, bookstores, and computer stores. One advantage of working as a buyer is that they are often at the forefront of trends and know how to improve a company's reach to its customers.

Buyers get paid fairly well. The average base salary for buyers in Canada is $68,532 per year based on their location and years of experience. However, those buyers who have additional experience, education, and training can earn up to $86,618 annually.

A difficult aspect of being a buyer is that they might be asked to work long and sometimes unusual hours. Travel might also be involved since they might attend trade shows, conferences, or fashion shows. If you're considering becoming a buyer, remember that you must have confidence in your choices and be able to be assertive in order to succeed in this job.

Related Careers

Purchasing Agent
50% skills overlap
Purchasing Analyst
38% skills overlap
Operations Manager
No skills overlap
Procurement Agent
50% skills overlap

Retail Buyer jobs