How to Become a Buyer for a Sports Retailer

buyer for a sports retailer

Have you ever wondered how your favorite sports brand gets put into retail stores?

All stores, whether a large chain or small business, have at least one employee that decides what products will be sold in store.

This buyer finds the best product at the lowest prices by negotiating with dozens of vendors. They also analyze buying trends, predict future trends, evaluate the store’s current inventory, research new suppliers and travel to trade shows looking for the next big product.

Working in the sports industry doesn’t require you to coach athletes or broadcast games. Instead, take your love of fashion and become a buyer for a sports retailer.

While typical entry level work in retail does not require you to have a degree, a buyer position, especially in management, will be more accessible to you with a degree in business or marketing.

Additionally, some classes in merchandising and fashion can help you learn more about the retail industry.

While not required, several professional organizations like the American Purchasing Society and the Institute for Supply Management offer certification classes for purchasing professionals to provide additional training.

Education is not always necessary for a buyer position but your willingness to go above and beyond the minimum requirements shows your dedication to your career and the company.

While earning your degree, it is beneficial to work a retail position to have daily interactions with customers and to learn more about the company. Candidates who understand the company’s brand and their customers have an advantage over other applicants. Plus, experience in the industry will put you in a better position to understand how upcoming trends will affect the company’s brand.

Entry level graduates may have to start as an assistant buyer before finding a management position.

Duties vary depending on the store you work with but common practices include managing the flow of samples, sending out purchase orders and coordinating logistics with buyers. This position will allow you to get on the job training and develop many skills, such as negotiating, that you will need at the higher levels.

While you may not start in management, all buyers need people, research and analytic skills in order to be successful. They need to be good with numbers and be able to analyze variables like quality, price and shipping to determine the best to prepare for your sports job search ebook

It’s not all about the numbers, buyers must have interpersonal skills too.

Buyers need to be able to build and maintain relationships with the vendors as well as get feedback from customers. Buyers also need critical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making skills to get their company the best deal on products.

After several years of experience, you can look for an assistant purchasing manager position for additional on-the-job training. If you feel ready to lead the entire team, apply for the more senior positions such as supply or purchasing manager.

A position as a retail buyer is full of potential and can be the first step in climbing the corporate ladder.

Now that you know the basics of becoming a buyer, take the steps necessary to start a unique sports career.


American Purchasing Society:

Institute for Supply Management:
By Audrey Willis | November 17, 2017
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