USA | Walmart, a major retail player in the USA, prides itself on fostering a store culture where inclusivity is imperative. Earlier this year, the company took significant strides towards enhancing the shopping experience for individuals with sensory sensitivities. Walmart initiated a pilot program that aimed to create a less stimulating environment during specific hours, particularly on Saturdays.
During the back-to-school season, Walmart implemented changes such as transforming TV walls to static images, turning off radios, and lowering lights wherever possible. The response to the pilot program was overwhelmingly positive, with customers expressing appreciation for the thoughtful adjustments. Walmart received feedback encouraging the continuation of these sensory-friendly measures.
In response to this positive reception, Walmart has announced the extension of sensory-friendly hours. Beginning November 10, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. local time, these measures will be in place daily at all Walmart U.S. and Puerto Rico stores, with no planned end date. The company aims to make the shopping environment more accommodating, providing customers and associates with a more comfortable experience for their eyes and ears.
Customer testimonials highlight the impact of these changes. Andrea T, a Walmart customer and mother of a child with autism, expressed gratitude for the recognition of her unique needs. Store manager Tyler Morgan shared feedback from associates, emphasising the desire to continue the programme year-round. Nuala O’Connor, SVP and Chief Counsel, Digital Citizenship at Walmart, highlighted the significance of Walmart's initiative for families dealing with neurodiversity.
The company is committed to understanding and responding to the needs of its customers and associates. The goal is to continuously enhance the sensory-friendly measures in stores, ensuring that Walmart remains a place where everyone feels they belong.