Bunnings has announced a new feature that will deliver an improved shopping experience for thousands of customers. The hardware chain's new "sensory maps" – now available online for all Bunnings stores across Australia and New Zealand – promise to make shopping at the store more accessible for people with sensory processing issues.
The maps can be found in the store locator section of the Bunnings website and detail areas where customers may encounter bright lights, loud noises and strong odours.
The new inclusivity feature was designed in collaboration with Amaze, a non-profit that supports individuals with autism and their families. Amaze estimates that one per cent of Australians are living with autism and found that 52 per cent of autistic people report feeling socially isolated, while 40 per cent sometimes feel unable to leave their home.
Bunnings' introduction of sensory maps is a part of a larger trend among retailers who are seeking to provide people with diverse sensory needs a more comfortable shopping experience, relieving day-to-day stress and anxiety, while encouraging active community participation.
The move comes after Coles first introduced its "Quiet Hour" inclusivity program in 2017, aiming to create a low-sensory shopping experience by reducing noise, lowering lights and minimising distractions in its stores. Rival Woolworths later introduced its own Quiet Hour program to more than 900 stores around Australia.
Ryan Baker, Bunnings' Chief Customer Officer, says he wants to make shopping at Bunnings a welcoming and inclusive experience for everyone. "We're really pleased to have rolled out sensory maps for every Bunnings store across Australia and New Zealand, which we hope will be a helpful tool for our customers with sensory restrictions," Mr Baker said.
"We know there are some areas of our stores that may have loud noises, strong smells or bright lights, such as our nursery and timberyard. The sensory maps will allow customers to identify these locations specific to their local store," he explained.
"We want all our stores to be a welcoming and inclusive place for everyone, and hope these maps help ensure customers have a great experience every time they shop with us. Customers can access the maps by visiting our website or by asking one of our team members for assistance at their local store."
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