Autism Spectrum Australia

Coles pilot sensory-friendly shopping experience

  • Posted: Fri, 11/08/2017 - 2:19pm

We are excited to announce that we have been working with Coles to develop Quiet Hour, a new pilot program for two stores in Victoria. 

Quiet Hour offers customers a low sensory shopping experience by making small changes to the store. Quiet Hour will take place every Tuesday from 10.30am – 11.30am from Tuesday, 15 August 2017 until the end of October, in Coles at Ringwood and Balwyn East.

During Quiet Hour, the two stores will:

  • Reduce Coles Radio to lowest volume
  • Dim the lights by 50%
  • Turn down register and scanner volumes to lowest level
  • Remove roll cages from shop floor
  • Avoid trolley collections
  • Avoid PA announcements *excluding emergencies
  • Offer free fruit at customer service
  • Have trained team members available to assist customers

Coles Accessibility Sponsor Peter Sheean said,

“We are always looking at ways we can meet the differing needs of our customers by creating a shopping environment in which our customers and team members feel comfortable. Through Quiet Hour, we hope to make a difference to our customers who find it challenging to shop in a heightened sensory environment.

To prepare for the shopping experience, customers can download the free Coles app, which allows users to create shopping lists and use the product finder function to help locate products in store.

Earlier this year, Aspect conducted a study which asked individuals on the autism spectrum and their families about their shopping habits. The study revealed:

  • One of the most common time to shop for those on the autism spectrum, parents, or carers of those on the autism spectrum, was Tuesday mornings.
  • Bright lighting was the most common cause of difficulty in supermarket shopping.
  • Music, register beeps and queuing were all also mentioned as obstacles.

“We have invested in training for team members to increase their understanding of sensory overload and how to best respond to customer needs,’ said Linzi Coyle, Aspect Community Engagement and Operations. 

Although we have modified some of the physical and sensory stimulators in store, we also hope to achieve a ‘no-judgement’ shopping space for people and families on the spectrum, where customers will feel comfortable and welcome.”

Quiet Hour is not limited to people on the spectrum and anyone who may benefit from the experience is encouraged to come along.


Coles (Ringwood)

Ringwood Square S/C, Cnr Maroondah Hwy & New St

Ringwood, Victoria, Australia 3134

03 9879 4122


Coles (Balwyn East)

342 - 344 Belmore Rd,

Balwyn East, 3129 

(03) 9857 8088

Coles pilot sensory-friendly shopping experience