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Grocery shopping can be incredibly overwhelming, even for the best of us. The aisles, the crowds, the lines, and the endless rows of products both on a shopping list and not, all conspiring to make their way into our carts whether we need them for dinner this week or not. For consumers with neurodiverse abilities, this compounding environment of stimuli can be simply too much too bear, making the prospect of going to the grocery store overwhelmingly unapproachable, the prospect terrifying.
That’s why popular national chain Trader Joe’s is partnering with MagnusMode, an innovative app focused on creating inclusive and comfortable experiences for consumers with neurodiverse abilities. Using digitized “MagnusCards,” the app guides neurodiverse consumers through specific tasks and activities that might otherwise challenge or overwhelm them and drive discomfort. Trader Joe’s is the first grocery store partner for the app, which was inspired by the founders experience with her own brother’s autism.
Leveraging applied behavior analysis, which is a clinically proven method of instruction for neurodiverse individuals, the Trader Joe’s MagnusCard “decks” will each focus on a different aspect of the Trader Joe’s grocery shopping experience. The instructional app will feature step-by-step instructions, visual cues, and even optional audio guides for store occasions like “Checking Out Your Items” and “Sensory Experience in the Store,” for neurodiverse grocery shoppers to follow and re-enact themselves. The step-by-step card decks are meant to lessen shopper anxiety and empower more independence and confidence around completing necessary, everyday tasks by breaking them down into accessible and manageable steps.
The initiative bolsters Trader Joe’s mission of creating a positive and inclusive shopping experience for all consumers, no matter their need. Retailers in general, across the industry, are designing stores, services and products with sensory-driven needs and other “invisible” disabilities in mind to ensure shopper comfort and lead the way by creating an inclusive retail experience.
This article originally appeared in the PSFK iQ report, Store As Home For Empowerment.