How to become a buyer in retail

If you love to shop and want to pursue a career in retail, you might want to become a retail buyer. A buyer in retail purchases products from wholesalers-through catalogs, mail order or from salespeople-for resale. You can be a retail buyer of furniture, clothing, books, office supplies, hardware and many other types of products. Here's how you can become a buyer in retail.

Obtain a degree from an accredited college or university. Nowadays a degree is an important factor in becoming a retail buyer. Courses in retail management, fashion merchandising, business, marketing and communications are all helpful.

Get a job in retail. Few people start off as retail buyers; many work their way up to this position. You might start off stocking shelves or doing counter sales, but if you're persistent enough, you can move up to assistant buyer and eventually buyer.

Enter an internship program in retail buying. An internship is an invaluable means to get exposed to exactly what retail buying is all about. Some retailers offer internships to fashion or retail management students.

Attend retail buyer training sessions offered by many major retailers. Companies like JC Penney and Walmart, for instance, offer training sessions. These can last from several months to years.

Keep abreast of trends in marketing and in retail buying. These trends can change daily. If, for instance, you want to become a retail buyer of women's apparel, be knowledgeable about recent style trends and up-to-date fashion designs.


Don't allow your own tastes to affect your buying decisions. Think about what the general public will want to buy and decide on products even if they do not meet your own personal tastes.


A master's degree is required to be a top retail buyer for many major chain stores. Retail buying is fast-paced, stressful, competitive and requires long and odd hours.

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