What Is an Assistant Buyer?

An assistant buyer is an individual who helps a senior-level buyer purchase products for a company to use or resell. Duties an assistant buyer helps with include forecasting consumer trends, meeting sales and budgetary goals, and managing inventory. Specific duties vary by industry.

According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, buyers, including assistant buyers, fall under the "purchasing" category. Wholesale and retail buyers purchase consumer goods for resale to other businesses or to the public. Other buyers purchase farm products, such as wheat or cotton, for processing or resale. Buyers and their assistants may also purchase items their companies use, rather than items for their companies to sell. These products may include cleaning and maintenance equipment, office supplies and business machines. Buyers usually work under the supervision of a purchasing manager.

Neiman Marcus is just one example of a company that has a training program that prepares employees for assistant buyer positions. The assistants learn how to help the company's buyers support vendors, prepare store communications, carry out marketing and advertising campaigns, track receipts, select products based on trend forecasts, and manage inventory and budgets.

Individuals who hope to work as buyers usually begin their careers in sales, and then move up to assistant buyer positions after training. The Princeton Review notes that large companies' buyer training programs typically last from one to five years.