ORLANDO: Walmart, the retail giant, is experimenting with the idea of highlighting trends discovered on social media in its physical stores – a tactic helping the company further enhance its connection with customers.

Stephen Quinn, evp/cmo at Walmart US, discussed this topic while speaking at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2014 Masters of Marketing conference in Orlando, Florida.

And he cited the example of mason jars – which now feature in numerous crafting and culinary activities – as an illustration regarding how monitoring social platforms can provide inspiration for Walmart.

"The Ball Company has been making glass mason jars for about 150 years. But they just had their biggest year … ever, because people have been making crafts with the mason jars," said Quinn. (For more, including how the firm is using weather data, read Warc's exclusive report: How Walmart weathers a new data-driven shopping experience.)

As a growing number of shoppers are using these receptacles when producing everything from candles to cakes, the retailer noticed an opportunity to leverage this passion point.

"We see the stuff trending on Pinterest," said Quinn. "So we put [the mason jar] Pinterest post right over an end cap."

Surrounding this placement were a "variety of $5, $6, and $7 items – all the products that you need to do that craft," he continued.

Even such a small step, the Walmart executive suggested, enables the organisation to demonstrate it is on the same wavelength as customers visiting stores.

"People who are Pinterest fans are just delighted to see this big trend in crafting exists in Walmart. It simply makes Walmart feel more relevant," he said.

"People want to see their retail environment changing to reflect the things that they are looking for ... They want to walk into a store and say, 'Wow, I was just thinking about that.'"

Data sourced from Warc