What is buyer’s role in purchasing for discounters?

While the role of the buyers of the aforementioned types of operations is somewhat similar in many ways to that of the buyers for traditional operations, there are some differences. Their concentration centers on the acquisition of merchandise that could be offered at discount prices, but, at the same time, bring a profit to the company they represent.

Among their priorities are establishing relationships with vendors that will bring them the best possible prices, and convincing those vendors who are reluctant to sell to them because of the potential problems with their traditional accounts, to do so.

1. Vendor Relationships

Every buyer for traditional operations must establish vendor relationships to ensure that they will be treated fairly in terms of prompt delivery, return privileges, and so forth. The discount purchasers, however, must take the lead to give them the edge when special pricing becomes available and “deals” are going to be offered. In this way, they will be ready to capitalize on purchases that will give them a better markup, and ultimately a greater profit for their company. With merchants of this nature doing business on less than the typical markup gaining that competitive pricing edge is a must.

2. Acquisition of “Off-Limit” Merchandise

Buyers who represent the traditional retail operations are “committed,” by the very nature of their business practices, to sell the products at the standard, accepted prices.

Often, the price is suggested by the manufacturer, or is understood by the industry, as the price it should be marketed. On the other hand, the discounter is reluctant to sell at the established price since this is in direct opposition to what discounting is all about. Manufacturers of highly desirable merchandise are reluctant to sell to the discounters because their pricing practices might discourage traditional retailers to purchase from them. To overcome this objection, the discount buyer must be able to convince the seller that he or she would be willing to abide by some stipulations that wouldn’t affect the sales to the traditionalists. It might include a commitment not to advertise the brand, or to remove the labels and identifying tags. Sometimes, special products, under different labels, might be the answer to distinguish the lines. In any case, the discount purchaser must be a seasoned negotiator to excel in this position.

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