what is a buyer?

As a buyer or purchasing agent, you source supplies and purchase materials for a business. If you work for a wholesale business, you plan, select and purchase the merchandise for sale and ensure that the items are properly displayed in a retail outlet. You work closely with merchandisers to ensure the right products are selected for resale.

Aside from selecting new products, you review old goods in retail stores to determine why they are not moving. When you identify the best items to sell, you find the right suppliers and negotiate prices to ensure that the store gets the best deals. You also organize deliveries to the company's premises.

Other duties of a buyer include processing requisitions and updating the management team on order statuses. Since you are in charge of restocking, you keep track of inventory and manage stock levels within the company. You regularly review reports and analyze market trends, enabling you to adjust your purchasing strategy to match the latest trends in the market.

As a buyer, you work for diverse industries, including supermarkets, bookstores and computer shops. You also work with fashion retailers and wholesalers to identify fast-moving fashion items to sell.

Would working as a buyer suit your negotiation skills? Then read on to find out what skills, competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in the role of a buyer.

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average buyer salary

According to Job Bank, the average salary of a buyer is $56,263 per year. This rate is equivalent to approximately $28.85 per hour. In an entry-level position, you receive a salary of $46,787 annually. The most experienced buyers earn over $78,829 per year. Buyers also earn different salaries based on the province or territory in Canada. When you work in Ontario, Quebec or Alberta, your average salary is higher due to the high demand for the role in the area.

how to increase your salary as a buyer

As a buyer, your earnings fluctuate based on the industry. Opportunities in various industries are available, and the complexity of your duties influences your earnings. Working in retail or wholesale pays less, particularly if you purchase low-value merchandise. You will likely earn more if you are a buyer of computers or high-value appliances.

The volume of goods you purchase also influences your earnings. When you purchase a single item, your earnings differ from those who purchase items in bulk. If you purchase items for internal use, your salary may be lower than someone purchasing products for resale.

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types of buyers

The types of buyers depend on the items they purchase. Some of the most common types of buyers include:

  • buyers of farm products: as a buyer, you purchase farm products for resale. Your job is to source fresh products from reliable farmers and negotiate the best prices.
  • wholesale and retail buyers: as a buyer for wholesale and retail businesses, you purchase goods for resale. For instance, you find clothes and electronics to be sold in retail stores. You may specialize in sourcing only one or two product lines when working for a large company. However, buyers working in small stores purchase items in all product categories.
  • internal buyers: as an internal buyer, you don't purchase goods for resale. You ensure the company has internal supplies in stock, such as stationery and office equipment. You negotiate favourable prices with suppliers and ensure timely delivery.
man and woman working in a warehouse environment
man and woman working in a warehouse environment

working as a buyer

Buyers are purchasing agents tasked with acquiring products and equipment for a company. If you are interested in the role, check out the duties, tasks and career opportunities.


buyer skills and education

The educational requirements for becoming a buyer include:

  • degree: to work as a buyer, you require a bachelor's degree in business or marketing. Alternatively, complete a college diploma in business or another related program to learn the skills of a buyer.
  • experience: you require extensive work experience in retail and wholesale to become a buyer. Gain experience through an internship or entry-level retail position. Alternatively, specialize in working for a particular merchandise line.

competencies and characteristics of buyers

Some of the qualities of a buyer include:

  • negotiation skills: as a buyer, you require exceptional negotiation skills to get favourable prices for your products. You negotiate with sellers on the price and quality of the items. Your negotiation skills are useful in maintaining good relationships with suppliers.
  • adequate product knowledge: as a buyer, you require adequate knowledge of the products you purchase. For instance, understanding key product features and how to check the quality of the items is important.
  • communication skills: as a buyer, it is crucial to be an effective communicator. You communicate through email, phone and face-to-face with various professionals and stakeholders. Your communication skills help you maintain relationships with the right industry players.
  • analytical skills: as a buyer, you require exceptional analytical skills to evaluate suppliers and the quality they provide. You also rely on your analytical skills to make buying decisions. Your analysis of the latest market trends helps you determine the right products to purchase.


Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a buyer.


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