5+ Top Buyer Interview Questions & Answers

We’ve compiled the absolute best buyer interview questions and answers to help you prepare for your upcoming job interview. A buyer is someone who helps facilitate the product buying on behalf of a retail or DTC (direct to consumer) brand. For example, Ulta, a US-based beauty brand which carries a variety of beauty products within their store. The buyer is the one who helps to facilitate which products need to be purchased, from where, and how much.

There’s absolutely a great deal of pressure on junior and senior buyers because they need to be aware of the consumer market and where future demand will be. They are not purchasing products for that quarter or that season's trends, they are purchasing them far in advance. This means that buyers have an increased risk of purchasing the wrong products that don’t sell and that would be a negative mark on the buyers' experience and execution skills.

Buyer interview questions & answers

1. Why is a buyer important to have in a DTC company?

A buyer is important in a DTC company because they can help to predict future trends, do market research, assist with the negotiation of suppliers prices, manufacturing, the positioning of the marketing and much more. This is an essential part of the DTC industry.

2. What are some ways you can predict trends?

Trends can be predicted by watching fashion shows. But not all trends come to fruition this way now. Often times things like Instagram and social media in general, are helping to dictate which trends may make a surge in the future months. Trends don’t change dramatically fast so we do have enough time to spot recurrences and start anticipating them.

3. What do you do when the products you purchased don’t sell?

This is a hard situation to deal with. As a buyer, you have to understand if it was the product quality, the product, the positioning, the marketing or simply the fact that none of the consumers trusted our brand enough to purchase alongside a trend. Having a retrospective quarter where we can analyze what may have happened and put up solutions to defend against them is an essential part of the job.

4. How can you help your marketing department?

Buyers and marketing departments should work heavily together. If they aren’t able to market the products effectively or with the right narrative, these products will have an even lesser chance of getting picked up by our customers. Marketing departments need to know about upcoming products, anticipate the narrative for which they should be marketed and be informing us the buyers as soon as something is going well or not so well.

5. What are some experiences you’ve had where you succeeded?

The best scenarios are when we completely sell out of a product. Sure, there are some issues that you have to sort out with the supplier when that happens, like ordering more product on the fly. But we are always ready for place orders with suppliers quickly when that occurs. Those are, of course, the best scenarios.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.

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