Today we chat with Alec, an Assistant Buyer for our Goods Home & Garden channel.
Title: Assistant Buyer for Goods’ Home and Garden channel
Start date: December 15, 2014
What did you do before Groupon and what brought you here?
Before Groupon, I worked at Abercrombie & Fitch Corporate as an Inventory Analyst. I was in charge of allocating inventory for girls’ sweaters, graphic tees, etc. to our stores across the globe. From there I saw that I enjoyed the merchandising aspect of my role. I noticed an opportunity at Groupon as an Assistant Buyer in Goods, which was a new role in the department, so I applied and eventually came into the office for an interview. The interview gave me great insight into the different categories of Goods and what qualities the team was looking for in an Assistant Buyer. Home & Garden was the category I really wanted to work for, and after meeting Shimool and her team and learning about what they do and their accomplishments, I knew I made the right choice taking a job at Groupon.
And what do you do in your current role in a nutshell?
As an Assistant Buyer, I cater to the needs of the Buyers. I do a lot of competitive shopping to gauge the market. I run shipping costs and help negotiate prices to make sure we have the best deals out there. I run sales data analysis on vendors we work with as well as keeping marketing history. I do requests for deal edits whether it’s adding images, changing the copy, adding inventory, etc. It’s a great opportunity to learn many aspects of merchandising and all of the challenges Buyers run into.
For people who don’t know, what does merchandising entail?
So with merchandising, you work with different vendors who all want you to buy what they sell. You’re in constant communication with vendors to determine a plan for the season and make sure you have the best items that will do well for both your category and Groupon Goods. You also work a lot with cross-functional partners. You work with Editorial to see what kind of occasions and themes they’re pushing in emails so your items can be featured and seen by more customers. You analyze your weekly sales and see how your products are doing. If things are doing well and selling, then you want to keep them going, and if things aren’t selling, you want to re-evaluate. The key takeaways I’ve learned in this role are the importance of communication, negotiation, organization, and accountability.
What are some unique challenges to your role?
Groupon has grown so much and is still so new, so our vendors see us in different ways. Some are really excited to feature with Groupon, and some still are unaware of our reach. But as we progress and become more established within Goods, we have more and more historical data to present to show them how Groupon can really propel their business.
How different has Groupon been compared to before?
The culture is similar to A&F, in terms of it being a young, fresh company. At Groupon, you need to be able to adapt and learn different ways to do things, so you’re kept on your toes a lot. Things also move more quickly here; at Groupon I can plan a week or two out, as opposed to weeks or months at A&F. You can also react to trends and what people buy. I feel like I have more autonomy over what I’m doing, especially with the site. If any Editorial edits need to happen, I can have the content or image changed really quickly. We recently had a Facebook contest over the past few months where we made our own targeted Facebook ads—we got to promote whichever products we wanted, and whoever raised the most money won $5,000…and I won!
What’s next for you?
There’s a lot I want to learn and do! I want to get better at buying and have my own category. I would love to do training and be that go-to person on my team or Goods overall. I’d also like to dabble in social media and help build out brand even more, especially for Home & Garden.
Anything interesting about you that you’d like to share?
I’m a member of Pride at Groupon, and am looking to get more involved over the next year or so! I love Britney Spears – she is my deity. I worked in Italy as an English tutor for a summer camp program, which was very cool. I play piano and tennis as well. I was Mr. Business at the University of Illinois! I studied Economics at U of I, which was not the most fun major in the world, but it did allow me to build a good foundation for business.