Coles Port Lincoln have launched in-store "Quiet Hour" every Tuesday between 10.30 am and 11.30 am.
Quiet hour is a low sensory shopping experience where the lights are dimmed, scanner volumes turned down, no music or voice-overs throughout the hour that aims to create a more peaceful experience for shoppers.
The campaign is also a way to make shopping more enjoyed for people on the autistic spectrum who struggle with heightened sensory.
Quite hour can also be beneficial for those with high-stress levels, anxiety, depression or those uncomfortable in social or public places.
Coles Accessibility Sponsor, Peter Sheean, said that the supermarket chain had received an overwhelmingly positive response to Quiet Hour from customers, who said it made a real difference to their shopping experience at Coles.
“At Coles, we are passionate about improving accessibility in our stores. We are always looking at ways we can make life easier for our customers and how we can respond to the differing needs of communities by creating a shopping environment in which our customers and team members feel comfortable,” Mr. Sheean said.
“We know that it is estimated that one in 70 people in Australia are on the spectrum1 so that’s a lot of our customers who find it challenging to come into our supermarket.
Mr. Sheen said “Our goal is to offer Quiet Hour at every eligible Coles supermarket by 2023. Unfortunately, not all supermarkets currently have the ability or technology to offer Quiet Hour at their store due to control of lighting or audio and store locations. However, we are working hard with our store teams to retrofit technology into those stores particularly where we’ve had feedback that customers want to access Quiet Hour as part of their shopping.”
Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) National Manager Aspect Practice and Clinical Psychologist, Dr Tom Tutton, said “People on the autism spectrum can have heightened sensory awareness which makes shopping in a store with bright lights, loud music, unexpected voiceovers and the constant noise of cash registers, incredibly overwhelming.
“These small changes make a significant difference and highlight the importance of businesses becoming more aware of their customers’ needs.”