15 Nov How you can enjoy a calmer shopping environment at the supermarket!
Coles Supermarkets is making grocery shopping more inclusive for parents and customers with sensory sensitivities by expanding its popular “Quiet Hour” initiative. Now, customers can enjoy reduced noise levels and a calmer shopping environment from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm, Monday through Friday.
Quiet Hour, originally introduced in 2017, has been a resounding success in select stores, with sound and lighting reduced between 10:30 am and 11:30 am on Tuesdays. Building on this success, Coles aims to better accommodate the diverse needs of its customers, particularly those with sensory challenges.
During Quiet Hour, Coles minimizes disruptions by lowering Coles Radio volume, reducing register and scanner noise, and refraining from non-emergency announcements over the PA system.
This adjustment caters to the one in 70 Australians on the autism spectrum and others who may find high-sensory environments challenging.
Recognizing the significance of accessibility, Coles has not only expanded Quiet Hour but has also invested in various initiatives. The supermarket chain has increased representation in its workforce, with 7.6% of team members identifying as having a disability.
Coles has also collaborated with Amaze, a not-for-profit autism organization, to enhance the store environment’s accessibility for a diverse range of customers.
According to Katie Wyatt, Coles Head of Diversity and Inclusion, the supermarket is committed to meeting the needs of all customers. Up to 70% of autistic individuals experience sensitivity to sounds, and Quiet Hour provides a more comfortable shopping experience for thousands of customers, especially those dealing with stress and anxiety.
Coles nominated for the Corporate App of the Year at the Centre for Accessibility Awards 2023
Moreover, Coles has extended its commitment to accessibility to its digital platforms. The Coles mobile app, nominated for Corporate App of the Year at the Centre for Accessibility Awards 2023, now features best-in-class accessibility features. These include tailored text sizes, the ability to enlarge content, and customizable actions to simplify navigation for those using assistive technologies.
In addition to digital improvements, Coles has partnered with Get Skilled Access to enhance the accessibility of its Own Brand products. Recommendations from focus groups, comprised of individuals with disabilities, led to improvements in 45 Coles Own Brand products. Notably, the ease of opening was enhanced for six seed oil products by significantly reducing the force required to open the bottles.
As a result of these initiatives, Coles continues to be an integral part of Australian families’ lives, striving to create an inclusive shopping experience for all customers, including parents with diverse needs.