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Become An Assistant Buyer

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Working As An Assistant Buyer

  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Processing Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $43,019

    Average Salary

What Does An Assistant Buyer Do

An Assistant Buyer helps buyers and managers write purchase orders, buy merchandise, and manage inventory. They take care of the buying and selling of commodities.

How To Become An Assistant Buyer

Although a high school diploma may be sufficient for some positions, many employers require buyers and purchasing agents to have a bachelor’s degree. Most entry-level positions require some form of on-the-job training.

Education

Educational requirements usually vary with the size of the organization. Although a high school diploma may be enough at some organizations, many businesses require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree. For many positions, a degree in business, finance, or supply management is sufficient.

For those interested in a career as a buyer or purchasing agent of farm products, a degree in agriculture, agriculture production, or animal science is often beneficial.

Training

Buyers and purchasing agents typically get on-the-job training for more than 1 year. During this time, they learn how to perform their basic duties, including monitoring inventory levels and negotiating with suppliers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

There are several certifications available for buyers and purchasing agents. Although some employers require certification, many do not.

Most of these certifications involve oral or written exams and have education and work experience requirements.

The Institute for Supply Management offers the Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) credential, which covers a wide scope of purchasing professional duties. To receive the CPSM credential, candidates must pass three exams and those with a bachelor’s degree must possess at least 3 years of relevant work experience while those without a bachelor’s degree must have at least 5 years of relevant work experience.

The American Purchasing Society offers the Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP) certification. The CPP certification is valid for 5 years. Candidates must earn a certain number of professional development “points” to renew their certification. Candidates initially become eligible and can renew their certification through a combination of purchasing-related experience, education, and professional contributions (such as published articles or delivered speeches).

APICS offers the Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential. Applicants must have 3 years of relevant business experience or a bachelor’s degree in order to be eligible for the CSCP credential. The credential is valid for 5 years. Candidates must also earn a certain number of professional development points to renew their certification.

The Next Level Purchasing Association offers the Senior Professional in Supply Management (SPSM) Certification. Although there are no education or work experience requirements, applicants must complete six online courses and pass an SPSM exam. Certification is valid for 4 years. Candidates must complete 32 continuing education hours in procurement-related topics to recertify for an additional four-year period.

The Universal Public Procurement Certification Council (UPPCC) offers two certifications for workers in federal, state, and local government. The Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB) credential requires applicants to have earned at least an associate’s degree, possess at least 3 years of public procurement experience, and complete relevant training courses. The Certified Public Purchasing Officer (CPPO) requires applicants to have earned a bachelor’s degree, possess at least 5 years of public procurement experience, and complete additional training courses.

Those with the CPPB or the CPPO designation must renew their certification every 5 years by completing continuing education courses or attending procurement-related conferences or events.

The National Institute of Government Purchasing (NIGP), Institute for Public Procurement offers preparation courses for the UPPCC certification exams.

Advancement

An experienced purchasing agent or buyer may become an assistant purchasing manager before advancing to purchasing manager, supply manager, or director of materials management. Buyers and purchasing agents with extensive work experience can also advance to become the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) for an organization.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. When evaluating suppliers, buyers and purchasing agents must analyze their options and choose a supplier with the best combination of price, quality, delivery, or service. 

Decisionmaking skills. Buyers and purchasing agents must have the ability to make informed and timely decisions, choosing products that they think will sell.

Math skills. Buyers and purchasing agents must possess basic math skills. They must be able to compare prices from different suppliers to ensure that their organization is getting the best deal. 

Negotiating skills. Buyers and purchasing agents often must negotiate the terms of a contract with a supplier. Interpersonal skills and self-confidence, in addition to knowledge of the product, can help lead to successful negotiations.

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Assistant Buyer Demographics

Gender

  • Female

    75.5%
  • Male

    22.5%
  • Unknown

    2.0%

Ethnicity

  • White

    78.6%
  • Hispanic or Latino

    11.2%
  • Asian

    8.3%
  • Unknown

    1.5%
  • Black or African American

    0.5%
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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

    45.8%
  • French

    11.8%
  • Italian

    7.7%
  • Chinese

    6.1%
  • Mandarin

    5.9%
  • Korean

    3.7%
  • Japanese

    2.8%
  • Cantonese

    2.6%
  • Portuguese

    2.2%
  • German

    2.2%
  • Russian

    1.8%
  • Hindi

    1.2%
  • Polish

    1.2%
  • Tagalog

    1.0%
  • Arabic

    1.0%
  • Hebrew

    0.8%
  • Dutch

    0.6%
  • Hmong

    0.6%
  • Vietnamese

    0.6%
  • Croatian

    0.6%
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Real Assistant Buyer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Assistant Buyer Ross Stores, Inc. New York, NY Oct 24, 2014 $67,000
Assistant Buyer Nordstrom, Inc. Seattle, WA May 25, 2013 $62,000
Assistant Buyer, Outlet Williams-Sonoma, Inc. New York, NY Apr 15, 2013 $60,000
Assistant Buyer Ana Accessories Corporation Los Angeles, CA Nov 20, 2015 $55,952
Assistant Buyer MODA Operandi, Inc. New York, NY Aug 30, 2016 $55,000
Assistant Buyer Nordstrom, Inc. Seattle, WA Jun 13, 2011 $55,000
Assistant Buyer The Gap, Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 30, 2016 $53,600 -
$83,000
Assistant Buyer UNI Hosiery Co., Inc. Los Angeles, CA Aug 06, 2015 $52,978
Assistant Buyer Against All Odds U.S.A., Inc. Moonachie, NJ Apr 09, 2010 $52,572
Assistant Buyer Saks Fifth Avenue New York, NY Sep 28, 2013 $52,000
Assistant Buyer, Retail Williams-Sonoma, Inc. New York, NY Apr 11, 2015 $50,960 -
$81,536
Executive Excellence Program Trainee/Assistant Buy Saks Fifth Avenue New York, NY Jun 26, 2013 $50,171
Assistant Buyer-E Aeropostale, Inc. New York, NY Sep 25, 2013 $50,000
Assistant Buyer Gucci America, Inc. New York, NY Dec 15, 2011 $50,000
Assistant Buyer Saks Fifth Avenue New York, NY Aug 24, 2012 $50,000
Senior Assistant Buyer Mens Denim and Denim Collec Barneys New York New York, NY Dec 14, 2010 $49,500
Assistant Buyer Gucci America, Inc. New York, NY Jan 23, 2014 $47,250
Assistant Buyer Bloomingdale's, Inc. New York, NY Feb 11, 2013 $45,448 -
$54,500
Assistant Buyer Gucci America, Inc. New York, NY Jan 23, 2012 $45,000
Assistant Buyer Saks Fifth Avenue New York, NY Dec 01, 2011 $45,000
Assistant Buyer, Dresses Lord & Taylor LLC New York, NY Oct 01, 2010 $45,000
Assistant Buyer Ross Stores, Inc. New York, NY Oct 24, 2011 $44,616
Assistant Buyer Bloomingdale's, Inc. New York, NY Sep 18, 2012 $44,616 -
$50,000
Assistant Buyer Macy's Merchandising Corporation New York, NY Oct 01, 2012 $44,616 -
$50,000
Assistant Buyer Saks & Company LLC New York, NY Sep 03, 2015 $43,973
Assistant Diamond Buyer White Pine Trading LLC New York, NY Sep 12, 2014 $42,848

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Top Skills for An Assistant Buyer

VendorRelationsPurchaseOrdersNewMerchandiseAssistBuyerCustomerServiceSKUInventoryLevelsProductDevelopmentApparelPaymentTermsProductAssortmentAssortmentPlansDataEntryTradeShowsOpen-To-BuyInventoryControlAnnualSalesJewelryProductSelectionSalesPlan

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Top Assistant Buyer Skills

  1. Vendor Relations
  2. Purchase Orders
  3. New Merchandise
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Established and maintained vendor relationships, ensured timely merchandise shipments and coordinated and monitored vendor returns.
  • Created, updated, and expedited purchase orders; created and maintained article data.
  • Prepare training tools for retail team of new merchandise with display guidelines.
  • Assist Buyer of Boys and Infant and Toddler wear for Factory Outlet Stores.
  • Recorded detailed comments for customer service personnel to communicate to patients as required.

Top Assistant Buyer Employers

Assistant Buyer Videos

Career Advice on becoming a Fashion Buyer by Sahar K (Full Version)

London Fashion Week AW12: A Day in the Life of a Fashion Buyer

Retail Careers - What Buyer Jobs Are Like

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