In an effort to make grocery shopping more comfortable for a broader range of customers, Coles has expanded its low-sensory shopping experience, known as Quiet Hour, to five days a week. Now, customers can enjoy a more relaxed shopping environment from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm, Monday to Friday, at Coles supermarkets across the nation.
The changes customers will notice during these times include Coles Radio turned down to the lowest volume, reduced register and scanner volume and team members refraining from using the PA system, except for in emergencies.
Coles was the first major supermarket to introduce Quiet Hour in 2017, with select stores nationally continuing to reduce their sound and lighting between 10:30am to 11:30am on Tuesdays at participating stores.
Coles Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Katie Wyatt said Coles is committed to meeting the diverse needs of customers, ensuring everyone feels welcomed, valued and comfortable throughout their shopping experience.
“At Coles, we are always looking for new ways to serve our customers with disabilities and their carers, and we are privileged to have many active voices of people with disability in our feedback channels,” Katie said.
“Up to 70% of autistic people experience sensitivity to sounds, with autistic adults reporting that these symptoms worsen with stress and anxiety therefore, Quiet Hour promotes increased opportunity and enhances the shopping experience for thousands of customers.”
Coles also joined forces with Amaze, a not-for-profit autism organisation in 2021. Since then, Amaze and Coles have worked together on a number of initiatives to build the capacity and capability of our business, employees and store environments to meet the needs of Autistic people and their families – some of which have included collaborating on the store environment to improve accessibility for the diverse range of customers.
Amaze CEO Jim Mullan said, “we have been delighted to see our partnership with Coles grow in strength and success since 2021, and much of that is a testament to their commitment to building an environment and a workforce that is representative of the community they serve, including autistic people. The expansion of their low-sensory shopping experience is just another example of the many steps that they have taken over the years to understand and purposefully meet the needs of not only their Autistic customers but also their autistic employees. Amaze’s vision is an autism inclusive Australia and we’re proud to have partners like Coles who share that same aspiration.”