A wholesale buyer sources products which are stocked at wholesalers. Wholesalers carry products that are sold to non-standard consumers, such as retailers, professionals, other wholesalers, and so forth. Wholesale buyers are closely related to retail buyers, who obtain products that are intended for retail sale.
The buyer needs to be very familiar with the industry and with market trends so that a good decision can be made. One problem wholesale buyers face is that they are setting up contracts and buying products months before they will trickle down to consumers. As a result, they need to have a good sense of how the market is going, and what will be popular in the coming months and seasons. For example, a wholesale buyer who specializes in buying for a clothing distributor needs to know which colors and styles will be in as many as two seasons ahead.
People usually enter this job through the process of apprenticeship, supporting a wholesale buyer, and eventually becoming more independent. People who want to specialize in a particular type of product may also complete training in which they have an opportunity to learn more about that product