Wholesale and Retail Buyer  What They Do

Just the Facts


Wholesale and Retail Buyers, Except Farm Products Career Video



Buys merchandise or commodities, other than farm products, for resale to consumers at the wholesale or retail level, including both durable and non-durable goods. Analyzes past buying trends, sales records, price, and quality of merchandise to determine value and yield. Selects, orders, and authorizes payment for merchandise according to contractual agreements. May conduct meetings with sales personnel and introduce new products.

This career is part of the Marketing cluster Merchandising pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Buys merchandise or commodities for resale to wholesale or retail consumers.
  • Negotiates prices, discount terms, or transportation arrangements with suppliers.
  • Examines, selects, orders, or purchases merchandise consistent with quality, quantity, specification requirements, or other factors, such as environmental soundness.
  • Recommends mark-up rates, markdown rates, or merchandise selling prices.
  • Obtains information about customer needs or preferences by conferring with sales or purchasing personnel.
  • Authorizes payment of invoices or return of merchandise.
  • Monitors and analyzes sales records, trends, or economic conditions to anticipate consumer buying patterns and determine what the company will sell and how much inventory is needed.
  • Collaborates with vendors to obtain or develop desired products.
  • Inspects merchandise or products to determine quality, value, or yield.
  • Conducts sales meetings to introduce new merchandise.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Overnight travel
  • Overtime work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Buyer -- Plans and selects a range of products to sell.
  • Category Manager --
  • Grocery Buyer --
  • Merchandise Manager --
  • Procurement Specialist -- Negotiates contracts and acquires the goods and services that a company needs.
  • Product Manager --
  • Purchaser --
  • Purchasing Coordinator --
  • Retail Buyer --
  • Trader --