Retail buying is a key step in the merchandising process, which covers the lifecycle of a product from initial design to final purchase. Students interested in this field may pursue a master's degree in merchandising. This program, which may be offered online, provides training in the environmental, cultural, social, political, and economic factors involved in retail marketing. In order to apply, students must hold a bachelor's degree and submit GRE scores. A minimum grade point average may also be required.
Master's Degree in Merchandising
Retail buyers conduct market research, track inventory, and negotiate with suppliers. In order to prepare for this career, students enrolled in master's degree program in marketing may choose to take some of the following courses:
- Factors influencing consumer behavior
- Methods for researching merchandise
- Theory and application of merchandising strategies
- Response to factors that influence business performance
- Product specifications and evaluation
- Developing a personal leadership philosophy
- Financial trends in merchandising
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) reported that the median annual wage for wholesale and retail buyers (not including those who work in the farming industry) was $59,270 as of May 2015. For wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives, the median annual wage was $59,080, and employment was expected to grow by approximately 7% between 2014 and 2024.
To improve advancement possibilities, retail buyers can take advantage of opportunities for certification. Available credentials include Certified Professional in Supply Management (CSPM), Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP), Certified Professional Purchasing Manager (CPPM), and Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP). The organizations that offer these certifications also offer continuing education courses, which students must complete for periodic certification renewal.
In conclusion, a master's degree in merchandising provides students with the industry knowledge they need to pursue careers as retail buyers and improve their job prospects with professional certification.