New sensory boxes launch in Hemel Hampstead Tesco Mobile to support neurodiverse shoppers

A new Sensory Support Boxes initiative has launched in Hemel Hempstead Mobile to support neurodivergent consumers and parents of neurodivergent children, coinciding with Neurodiversity Celebration Week.
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Coinciding with Neurodiversity Celebration Week, Tesco Mobile has rolled out the UK telco-industry’s first Sensory Support Box initiative. Launching as a large-scale trial in fifty phone shops across the country, and supported the National Autistic Society, the initiative aims to make visiting a Tesco Mobile Phone Shop a more positive experience for neurodiverse customers.   

The initiative comes after interviews and research conducted with neurodivergent consumers and parents of neurodivergent children* identified that in-store shopping in general can be ‘challenging’. The research found noise and lighting were the two most mentioned causes of overstimulation for those who participated.  

National WorldNational World
National World

Participants referenced that they ‘try to avoid’ going into shops and stores as much as possible and have frequently adapted shopping times to earlier in the morning due to the impact of busier periods. 

To try and create a more positive shopping experience, Tesco Mobile will be trialling its Sensory Support Boxes in fifty phone shops across the country, off the back of a successful launch in an initial ten stores. The boxes have been described by those who tested them as “more inclusive,” leaving neurodiverse shoppers feeling “understood.”

To further improve instore experience, specialised training to support customers with hidden disabilities who wear sunflower lanyards, has been rolled out to all Tesco Mobile Phone Shops. This training explores different scenarios commonly faced by shoppers to instil confidence in supporting diverse needs.  

Tom Davis, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager at Tesco Mobile, expressed, "At Tesco Mobile, we're proud to be leading the way and making shopping experiences more accessible and enjoyable for our customers.  Customers who visit our Phone Shops are often digesting quite a bit of information and making decisions that require attention and focus, which may be difficult and overwhelming. 

We intend to roll out the sensory boxes to all five-hundred of our phone shops across the UK as well as continuing to develop them to ensure they are as helpful as possible for a diverse range of needs." 

Peter Watt, Managing Director of National Programmes at the National Autistic Society, said: "We arepleased to support this initiative to improve the experience of visiting Tesco Mobile stores for autistic people and their families, and we look forward to seeing the results of the trial in shops across the country. Retail spaces can be overwhelming for many autistic people, but small changes can make a huge difference. It’s so important that all shops and businesses consider autistic people's needs and learn more about how to be accessible and inclusive for everyone." 

By understanding and accommodating the unique needs of neurodiverse individuals, Tesco Mobile aims to ensure that all their customers feel comfortable and valued during their shopping experience.  

Tesco Quiet Hours

Tesco worked with the National Autistic Society to launch Quiet Hours in all Tesco UK and NI stores, twice weekly. They take place every Wednesday and Saturday, from 9am-10am. The sessions aim to create a less overwhelming environment, a safe space where trained colleagues are on hand to offer assistance if needed. They provide a less busy and quieter shopping experience and help everyone feel welcome when shopping at Tesco. 

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