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Wholesale and Retail Buyer

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What Does it Take to Be a Wholesale and Retail Buyer?

Position Description 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.
  • Inspect merchandise or products to determine quality, value, or yield.
  • Determine which products should be featured in advertising, the advertising medium to be used, or when the ads should be run.
  • Buy merchandise or commodities for resale to wholesale or retail consumers.
  • Recommend mark-up rates, markdown rates, or merchandise selling prices.
  • Authorize payment of invoices or return of merchandise.

Wholesale & Retail Buyer Skills

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.

Other Wholesale & Retail Buyer Job Titles

  • Print Buyer
  • Procurement Manager
  • Purchasing Coordinator
  • Sustainability Purchasing Agent
  • Art Dealer

Wholesale & Retail Buyer Employment Estimates

There were about 123,300 jobs for Wholesale and Retail Buyer in 2016 (in the United States). There is little to no growth in job opportunities for Wholesale and Retail Buyer. There will be an estimated 13,300 positions for Wholesale & Retail Buyer per year.


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 & Technology do Wholesale and Retail Buyers Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Wholesale and Retail Buyers:

  • 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?


What work experience do I need to become a Wholesale & Retail Buyer?


Those thinking about becoming a Wholesale and Retail Buyer might also be interested in the following careers:


Image Credit: Qfamily via Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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