When you walk into a store and see Coca-Cola products on the shelf, you probably don’t give much thought to how they got there. You just grab a case of your favorite soft drink and continue shopping. Without a merchandiser, though, you might not be able to find those refreshing beverages. The Coca-Cola Company, like many other major brands, hires merchandisers to work in stores and ensure that its products are displayed and marketed effectively, and that customers can always find the Coke products they want.
The primary responsibility of a Coca-Cola merchandiser is to get Coke products onto store shelves. Each day, they visit the store locations on their route and stock shelves, rotate products for maximum freshness, create and restock displays, put out marketing and promotional materials, and monitor the availability of stock. Merchandisers may also enter orders and stock information using handheld computers, and provide assistance to sales representatives when necessary. Overall, merchandisers are charged with making sure that not only is product available when customers want it, but that it is displayed attractively and that Coca-Cola is well-represented in stores in accordance with company and store policies and expectations.
Lead merchandisers with Coca-Cola have additional responsibilities, most notably training new merchandisers and handling customer service issues.
Coca-Cola requires merchandisers to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Additional education is not required, although the company prefers candidates with customer service experience. A valid driver’s license is required, as well as a reliable, insured vehicle that passes the company Motor Vehicle Check. Merchandisers must also be able to physically lift up to 50 pounds, and operate a manual pallet jack and carts carrying up to 2,200 pounds.
Overall, the soda industry is in a state of decline, with consumption declining by about 1 percent per year over the past 12 years. Concern about the health effects of drinking soda is a major factor in this decline, as consumers are seeking alternatives to sugary soft drinks, in particular flavored waters and seltzer. In response, the Coca-Cola Company is also shifting its focus, offering more “healthy” alternatives. Coke merchandisers, therefore, are likely to find that they are stocking less Coke and Diet Coke on the shelves, and more Dasani bottled water.
Years of Experience and Salary
The average annual salary for a Coca-Cola merchandiser ranges from $24,106 to $43,244. Most merchandiser Coca-Cola jobs are paid hourly, with an average rate between $11.35 and $17.73 per hour, depending on the market and route. Overtime pay is common. However, because most merchandisers only stay in the position for two to four years, salaries don’t change much with experience. In fact, it’s rare to find a merchandiser with 20 years of experience or more.
Job Growth Trend
Decline in the industry and high turnover mean that job growth for Coca-Cola merchandisers is flat, if not on a decline. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide information specifically for merchandisers, but does note that growth for retail sales is likely to be slower than average between now and 2026.