Wholesalers buy goods and merchandise from manufacturers and other sources for resale to retailers and occasionally to other wholesalers. If you want to work as a wholesale buyer, you’ll probably need a bachelor’s degree in business administration, marketing, supply chain management, or a related field. Some employers may hire people with an associate’s degree and relevant experience, as well as those without a college education but significant prior purchasing experience. Being familiar with the industry in which you want to work can also help you start your career as a wholesale buyer.
As a college student, joining a professional buyers’ association can help you learn more about the field through classes, events, and written materials. A professional organization may also provide job postings and networking opportunities. Full-time students in the United States can join organizations like the American Purchasing Society as associate members. This organization, as well as others like it, offers certifications to professionals in the field that demonstrate their expertise in purchasing and supply chain management. Depending on the organization providing the certification, different combinations of education and experience may be required.
If you want to work as a wholesale buyer, you’ll need excellent communication skills to work with vendors and teammates. When it comes to negotiating purchases, which is a big part of the wholesale buyer’s job, having a natural intuition about people and being able to read and understand body language and voice inflection can be beneficial. Negotiating also necessitates a certain amount of friendly assertiveness.
A natural aptitude for math and numbers will also aid you in performing some of the tasks that buyers perform, such as determining inventory requirements, reviewing invoices, purchase orders, and other related paperwork, and determining resale pricing. Strong computer skills are also required for someone in this position, as they will need to use spreadsheets, databases, purchasing programs, and other software. It is beneficial to be familiar with using the Internet to conduct searches and find information.
If you want to work as a wholesale buyer, you’ll need to be able to review previous buying trends, forecast purchase quantities to ensure adequate inventories, and develop sales and profit plans, so you’ll need good analytical and planning skills. Because a buyer’s job can be extremely fast-paced, being able to work well under pressure, multitask, and be adaptable to changing priorities is also required. It’s also beneficial to have a keen eye for detail in order to keep track of various goods and materials.