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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

  • $52,724

    Average Salary

What Does An Assistant Buyer Do

Buyers and purchasing agents buy products and services for organizations to use or resell. They evaluate suppliers, negotiate contracts, and review the quality of products.

Duties

Buyers and purchasing agents typically do the following:

  • Evaluate suppliers on the basis of the price, quality, and speed of delivery of their products and services
  • Interview vendors and visit suppliers’ plants and distribution centers to examine and learn about products, services, and prices
  • Attend meetings, trade shows, and conferences to learn about new industry trends and make contacts with suppliers
  • Analyze price proposals, financial reports, and other information to determine reasonable prices
  • Negotiate contracts on behalf of their organization
  • Work out agreements with suppliers, such as when products will be delivered
  • Meet with staff and vendors to discuss defective or unacceptable goods or services and determine corrective action
  • Evaluate and monitor contracts to be sure that vendors and supplies comply with the terms and conditions of the contract and to determine the need for changes
  • Maintain and review records of items bought, costs, deliveries, product performance, and inventories

Buyers and purchasing agents buy farm products, durable and nondurable goods, and services for organizations and institutions. They try to get the best deal for their organization: the highest quality goods and services at the lowest cost. They do this by studying sales records and inventory levels of current stock, identifying foreign and domestic suppliers, and keeping up to date with changes affecting both the supply of, and demand for, products and materials.

Purchasing agents and buyers consider price, quality, availability, reliability, and technical support when choosing suppliers and merchandise. To be effective, purchasing agents and buyers must have a working technical knowledge of the goods or services they are purchasing.

Evaluating suppliers is one of the most critical functions of a buyer or purchasing agent. Many organizations run on a lean manufacturing schedule and use just-in-time inventories, so any delays in the supply chain can shut down production and cause the organization to lose customers.

Buyers and purchasing agents use many resources to find out all they can about potential suppliers. They attend meetings, trade shows, and conferences to learn about new industry trends and make contacts with suppliers.

They often interview prospective suppliers and visit their plants and distribution centers to assess their capabilities. For example, they may discuss the design of products with design engineers, quality concerns with production supervisors, or shipping issues with managers in the receiving department.

Buyers and purchasing agents must make certain that the supplier can deliver the desired goods or services on time, in the correct quantities, and without sacrificing quality. Once they have gathered information on suppliers, they sign contracts with suppliers who meet the organization’s needs and they place orders.

Buyers who purchase items to resell to customers may determine which products their organization will sell. They need to be able to predict what will appeal to their customers. If they are wrong, they could jeopardize the profits and reputation of their organization.

Buyers who work for large organizations often specialize in purchasing one or two categories of products or services. Buyers who work for smaller businesses or government agencies may be responsible for making a greater variety of purchases.

Wholesale and retail buyers purchase goods for resale to consumers. Examples of these goods are clothing and electronics. Purchasing specialists who buy finished goods for resale are commonly known as buyers or merchandise managers.

Purchasing agents and buyers of farm products buy agricultural products for further processing or resale. Examples of these products are grain, cotton, and tobacco.

Purchasing agents, except wholesale, retail, and farm products buy items for the operation of an organization. Examples of these items are chemicals and industrial equipment needed for a manufacturing establishment, and office supplies.

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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 Jobs

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Assistant Buyer Career Paths

Assistant Buyer
Sales Coordinator Analyst Sales Category Analyst
Assistant Category Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Product Manager Brand Manager
Customer Marketing Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Merchandiser Merchandising Manager Merchandising Director
Director Of Merchandising & Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
Purchasing Manager Senior Manager Senior Manager Of Marketing
Director, Marketing & Product Development
10 Yearsyrs
Buyer Senior Buyer
Divisional Merchandise Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Sales Consultant Internet Sales Manager
E-Commerce Director
8 Yearsyrs
Planner Senior Buyer Category Manager
E-Commerce Product Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Purchasing Manager Marketing Manager Online Marketing Manager
Ecommerce Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Buyer Product Manager Marketing Vice President
Executive Vice President Marketing
13 Yearsyrs
Product Manager District Sales Manager Merchandising Manager
Merchandising Director
9 Yearsyrs
Marketing Coordinator Marketing Specialist Assistant Marketing Manager
Retail Marketing Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Product Manager Category Manager
Senior Category Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Account Executive District Sales Manager Merchandising Manager
Senior Merchandising Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Business Developer Product Developer
Senior Product Developer
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Buyer Purchasing Manager
Senior Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Buyer Purchasing Manager Supply Chain Manager
Supply Chain Logistics Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Merchandising Manager Merchandising Director
Vice President, Merchandising
12 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Assistant Buyer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Senior Buyer 5.1 years
Wholesale Buyer 5.0 years
Retail Buyer 4.6 years
Merchandise Buyer 4.5 years
Purchasing Buyer 4.1 years
Corporate Buyer 4.0 years
Planner/Buyer 3.8 years
Buyer 3.8 years
Buyer Lead 3.5 years
Procurement Buyer 3.3 years
Buyer/Expeditor 3.3 years
Assistant Buyer 3.0 years
Associate Buyer 2.7 years
Junior Buyer/Buyer 2.4 years
Fashion Buyer 2.2 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 11.9%
Buyer 6.8%
Assistant 4.1%
Manager 3.0%
Top Employers After
Buyer 24.9%
Planner 3.4%
Manager 3.0%

Do you work as an Assistant Buyer?

Assistant Buyer Demographics

Gender

Female

75.1%

Male

23.0%

Unknown

1.9%
Ethnicity

White

61.4%

Hispanic or Latino

15.6%

Black or African American

10.5%

Asian

9.0%

Unknown

3.4%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

41.6%

French

14.0%

Italian

7.5%

Mandarin

6.5%

Chinese

6.5%

Korean

4.0%

Japanese

3.2%

Cantonese

3.0%

German

2.2%

Russian

1.7%

Portuguese

1.5%

Hindi

1.2%

Tagalog

1.2%

Arabic

1.2%

Dutch

0.7%

Vietnamese

0.7%

Croatian

0.7%

Greek

0.7%

Carrier

0.7%

Hebrew

0.7%
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Assistant Buyer Education

Schools

Fashion Institute of Technology

25.0%

University of Phoenix

7.9%

Florida State University

5.8%

Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising

4.9%

University of Delaware

4.9%

Syracuse University

4.5%

Philadelphia University

4.3%

University of North Texas

4.2%

Michigan State University

4.1%

Pennsylvania State University

3.7%

Iowa State University

3.7%

New York University

3.6%

University of Florida

3.5%

University of Texas at Austin

3.2%

University of Wisconsin - Stout

2.9%

Howard University

2.9%

University of Arizona

2.9%

University of Rhode Island

2.8%

Drexel University

2.8%

Johnson & Wales University

2.5%
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Majors

Business

27.8%

Specialized Sales And Merchandising

17.5%

Marketing

14.7%

Communication

4.8%

Management

4.3%

Graphic Design

4.1%

Psychology

3.1%

Apparel And Textiles

2.8%

Accounting

2.7%

Family And Consumer Sciences/Human Sciences Business Services

2.7%

Finance

2.1%

Economics

1.9%

Public Relations

1.7%

English

1.6%

Fine Arts

1.5%

Liberal Arts

1.5%

Political Science

1.4%

Supply Chain Management

1.3%

Sociology

1.2%

General Sales

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

63.0%

Other

13.4%

Masters

10.9%

Associate

8.8%

Certificate

2.7%

Doctorate

0.5%

Diploma

0.5%

License

0.2%
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Real Assistant Buyer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Assistant Buying & Sourcing Manager Forever 21, Inc. (Merged With Fashion 21, Inc.) Los Angeles, CA Nov 26, 2010 $84,947
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
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, Dresses Lord & Taylor LLC New York, NY Oct 01, 2010 $45,000
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 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
Assistant Buyer Conquest Financial Management Miami, FL Apr 01, 2012 $41,740
Assistant Buyer Tom Ford Retail LLC New York, NY Oct 01, 2011 $41,000

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Top Skills for An Assistant Buyer

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  1. Vendor Relations
  2. New Merchandise
  3. Purchase
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.
  • Utilized Plano grams to execute new merchandise presentation.
  • Communicated and maintained Purchase Orders with overseas vendors.
  • Assist buyer in developing marketing strategies, communicating with store management and vendors
  • Analyzed, evaluated and reported product assortment observations and recommend action plans weekly.

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Top Assistant Buyer Employers

Jobs From Top Assistant Buyer Employers

Assistant Buyer Videos

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

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