As the Retail Buyer & Merchandise Manager for the Vancouver Canucks, Jill White is responsible for all aspects of planning, selecting, buying and merchandising the product assortment available in the Team Store and throughout the arena kiosks. As the Buyer, timelines and planning are two challenges Jill faces on a daily basis.
“The buying season never really seems to end and I am usually buying product 6-8 months in advance,” explains Jill. “Meeting deadlines can sometimes be tough, but being organized and staying on track is a huge part of being a successful buyer.”
Retailing, like any other business, is results-driven. The bottom line is measurable results, profitability, maximizing trends and exceeding sales. Being analytical is critical, as most of the day Jill spends deciphering sales data and taking action to drive business goals.
“To be a great buyer, you must be a visionary, with a distinctive eye to spot and maximize trends through the product selection,” says Jill.
Post game days are typically very busy for Jill, as she must intently review sales reports from the night before. Thousands of customers will have visited the Team Store and arena kiosks, so she must looks at the figures: How many units were sold? Did she buy enough product? How can she get more product? Can she cancel orders with a vendor if customers are not reacting to the product?
EYE FOR DETAIL
It is also essential that Jill is always working on creating and maintaining strategic partnerships with vendors because inventory allocations are prioritized by relationships. Other daily tasks include meeting with vendors to review sales, view the latest products and adjust her selection if needed. She also must finalize any new merchandising ideas for the store.
“What I appreciate most about my job is the constantly changing environment. Sourcing new products is very exciting, especially when I see something I have purchased
Her top tip for any student interested in a career as a retail buyer is to get some relevant work experience. Understanding the retail business and knowing what appeals to customers are all vital aspects of her role; gaining experience working in that environment can give you a much better understanding. As well she thinks confidence is a huge key.
“As long as you believe in yourself and have a passion for what you believe you will go far. Be yourself and have fun. If you’re not having fun then what’s the point!”