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    August 19, 2014
    3 minute read

    It's Not Easy Seeing Green: How Retail Buyers Can Use Tech to Flourish

    by: Glori Blatt
    DeathtoStock_Desk5 If you're a retail buyer, you're probably also a professional stylist, an expert negotiator, a forecasting fortune teller, an analytical guru, a visual artist and a statistician.

    But let me guess - in today’s retail landscape, you've also (unwillingly) become an email master, spreadsheet wrangler and data entry extraordinaire.

    When did that role shift happen, and more importantly, how do you get back to doing what you love?

    Being a Buyer Is Really Stressful

    The work required for successful e-commerce and omni-channel strategies is constantly increasing, making an already difficult balance between creativity and analysis even more complex. Now, it’s not enough to offer a wider product selection: thanks to giants like Amazon, customers want more high-quality images and unique detailed product descriptions to accompany their shopping, all of which is meaningless without unique branding and content.

    Every day in the life of a buyer is jampacked. E-mailing or calling suppliers, chasing product data, and formatting that data to suit your company’s back-end technical infrastructure doesn’t leave much room for analyzing overall retail strategies

    Not quite the life you envisioned, right?

    If It Was Easy, Anyone Could Do It

    “Clear thinking at the wrong moment can stifle creativity.”

    Karl Lagerfeld

    The skills required to be a buyer are a delicate balance of creativity and analysis, qualities that are often mutually exclusive. That may just be why it’s a highly coveted and yet very difficult position to achieve. In an industry that’s increasingly competitive, complicated, and fluid, creativity can be the difference between life affirming success and devastating failure -  but no pressure.

    BetaBrand and Birchbox are two excellent examples of the kind of success that’s possible when creative retail solutions have room to flourish - and the elimination of wasted time spent on data entry will help facilitate that.

    Buyers: Technology is Your Friend

    As a buyer in the e-commerce age, you’re responsible for managing the collection and formatting of product content because the product assortment you’ve worked so hard to curate is going to sell better if it includes high res images and high level product descriptions.  In other words, you will do whatever it takes to make it happen because it’s your ass on the line when a new product you picked doesn’t sell.

    But here’s the good news: there’s technology available to help you with that.

    Email and Dropbox may seem modern compared to pen, paper, and a camera, but think about the endless back-and-forth required to get what you need. Success means utilizing the right tools for the job, and as the job becomes exponentially more difficult, solutions created specifically for the job at hand become a requirement to stay competitive.

    Make time to pursue the creative output required of a great retail buyer: start looking for technology that automates the nitty-gritty details of the modern-day merchandising process. Data collection doesn’t require your unique creative and analytical horsepower; shrewdly curating the best product assortment you can does.

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