In the world of retail, a buyer's assistant, or assistant buyer, supports the purchase and sale of merchandise to aid the buyer who is responsible for the products that the company sells.
In fashion this will mean clothing and accessories, and in wider retail this could be anything from home furniture to electrical goods.
Who can I work for?
You can work for any firm that has a merchandising department. Fashion houses, designers and high street stores will all employ assistant buyers.
There are further opportunities with retail companies and supermarkets. A lot depends on your specific interest and experience.
Where and when can I work?
Fashion and retail are international industries, whereas a lot of the head offices are based in and around London. This work can take you around the world.
Usual working hours of 9 am to 5.30pm are applicable, however you may be required to work longer and unusual hours to attend events.
What can I earn?
Salary is dependent on the area of business and where the role is based. Assistant buyers usually attract a salary of anywhere between £18,000 and £31,500.
What are the benefits?
Being at the forefront of retail and fashion is one of the biggest benefits of the role. Employees can also enjoy a generous discount scheme and international travel.
Are there chances of promotion?
Progression in a company depends mainly on performance. An assistant buyer can easily work their way up to senior buyer within three to five years. Higher levels of management will usually require a graduate degree in business.
What will I be responsible for?
Working in the merchandising team, the assistant buyer will aid the team in identifying product ranges that are targeted towards a particular market and price range.
Daily duties will include verifying quantity and quality of stock received from manufacturers; authorising payment of invoices or return of shipment; approving advertising copy for publications and selling merchandise to become familiar with customers' preferences and attitudes.
Do I need any experience?
A degree in retail, buying, fashion, marketing, business, or related field is usually required. Demonstrable retail experience will also be beneficial.
What attributes are needed?
Usually an entry-level position, a buyer's assistant will need to be passionate about their chosen industry. They will also need to be creative, imaginative, decisive, have good judgment, and strong analytical skills.
Buyers need to be flexible as they may be working in the office one day and travelling abroad the next.