Merchandising and Buying

Merchandising & Purchasing

Location: Garnet Hill

Generic Description:
Purchasing managers, buyers, and purchasing agents attempt to get the best deal for their company - the highest quality goods and services at the lowest possible cost.  They accomplish this by studying sales records and inventory levels of current stock, identifying foreign and domestic suppliers, and keeping abreast of changes affecting both the supply of, and demand for, needed products and materials.  Purchasing professionals consider price, quality, availability, reliability, and technical support when choosing suppliers and merchandise.  To be effective, purchasing professionals must have a working technical knowledge of the goods or services to be purchased.
Purchasing specialists who buy finished goods for resale are employed by wholesale and retail establishments, where they commonly are known as buyers or merchandise managers.  Wholesale and retail buyers are an integral part of a complex system of distribution and merchandising that caters to the vast array of consumer needs and desires.  Wholesale buyers purchase goods directly from manufacturers or from other wholesale firms for resale to retail firms, commercial establishments, and other organizations.  In retail firms, buyers purchase goods from wholesale firms or directly from manufacturers for resale to the public.
Buyers largely determine which products their establishment will sell.  Therefore, it is essential that they have the ability to predict what will appeal to consumers.  If they fail to purchase the right products for resale, buyers jeopardize the profits and reputation of their company.  They keep track of inventories and sales levels, check competitors' sales activities, and watch general economic conditions to anticipate consumer buying patterns.  Buyers working for large and medium-sized firms usually specialize in acquiring one or two lines of merchandise, whereas buyers working for small stores may purchase the establishment's complete inventory.
Evaluating suppliers is one of the most critical functions of a purchasing manager, buyer, or purchasing agent.  Many firms now run on a lean manufacturing schedule and use just-in-time inventories so any delays in the supply chain can shut down production and potentially cost the firm its customers.  Purchasing professionals use many resources to find out all they can about potential suppliers.  The Internet has become an effective tool for searching catalogs, trade journals, industry and company publications, and directories.  Purchasing professionals attend meetings, trade shows, and conferences to learn of new industry trends and make contacts with suppliers.  They often interview prospective suppliers and visit their plants and distribution centers to assess their capabilities.  It is important to make certain that the supplier is capable of delivering the desired goods or services on time, in the correct quantities, and without sacrificing quality.  Once all of the necessary information on suppliers is gathered, orders are placed, and contracts are awarded to those suppliers who meet the purchaser's needs.  Most of the transaction process is now automated through use of the Internet.
Purchasing professionals often work closely with other employees in a process called “team buying.”  For example, before submitting an order, the team may discuss the design of custom-made products with company design engineers, the problems involving the quality of purchased goods with production supervisors, or the issues in shipping with managers in the receiving department.  This additional interaction improves the quality of buying by adding different perspectives to the process.

Tasks Performed on Site:
Who gets to choose all of the great products in the catalog?  Work with the merchandising/buying team to understand how a profitable assortment is conceptualized, developed and brought to fruition – it’s not just about shopping for pretty things!  You will gain valuable exposure to the real world of merchandising by:
  • Learning how an assortment gets built from the ground up.  Understand how Merchants work with our team of Analysts and Designers to conceptualize an optimal assortment.
  • Attending fit sessions to follow the development of our PD product.
  • Attending style outs to see how branded products are chosen to compliment our PD assortment.
  • Helping to prepare the assortment for turnover to the creative team.
  • Setting up trade show appointments for the merchants.
  • Completing special projects for the Merchants.
For more information on a career in merchandising and buying, click on the following link: