Consumers are interacting with their favorite brands differently than ever before. Have a customer service complaint? Write a tweet. See a fun fashion trend? Like it on Instagram. Want to order food? There’s an app—and an emoji!—for that.

But what central theme ties these actions together? Shoppers have new ways to connect with retailers because of mobile phones. They’re checking and comparing prices, hunting for deals, and are in the know of what’s in stock before they even pull into the parking lot.

A generation of smart consumers

Sure, most consumers use their smart phone while actively shopping, but the savviest shoppers take it a step further. These consumers rely on their phones to be better informed with their purchasing power.

For one, they’re using a phone’s GPS capabilities to find what’s around them with the “near me” functionalities of apps and web queries. Google reports that “near me” searches have increased 34-fold since 2011, an indication that shoppers want to stay local. Other data also supports that belief. Half of polled shoppers who conducted a local search on their smartphones visited a store within a day of their query, and 18 percent then made a purchase.

In addition to price comparing, some are investigating other product options while in store. Many hungry shoppers look up menus in advance of sitting down at a restaurant. And, of course, they’re also looking for coupons and sales; in fact, 81 percent are inclined to share personal data to access deals and perks. Target found that 75 percent of its guests begin their shopping research on a mobile device, and about one-third of shoppers that interact with a mobile search ad will visit a Target store.

Generally speaking, omni-channel shoppers spend more no matter what they’re buying; Macy’s discovered that these smart shoppers are eight times more valuable than those who shop in a single channel.

Retailers are catching up, too

Examine the other side of the coin, and you’ll find that many retailers are quite good at capturing mobile traffic and boosting sales. They’re not just on social channels or investing in simple mobile ads, but doing a lot more.

Brands like Macy's, REI, and PetSmart are using ads that show mobile viewers inventory figures and product availability. That insight gives shoppers a deeper knowledge of where to buy a product that’s actually in stock – the perfect outcome, as it likely will lead to a sale.

Other retailers are using simplified one-tap checkout methods that allow shoppers to buy quicker and without waiting in line. They’re also using in-store coupons and social discount codes to drive sales. Add in beacon technology, showrooming, and digital fitting rooms, and it’s obvious some retailers are excelling at matching consumer expectations for a better in-store shopping experience.

The most important component: Know your customer

How does one capitalize on the rise of mobile shopping? There’s no right answer. Many shoppers like web-based apps, while others prefer native apps. Though Kohl’s is integrating reward points into Apple Pay, many shoppers still want to use cash or plastic. The best strategy involves being agile and flexible, and experimenting to better understand what your customers like.

The genie is out of the bottle, so retailers must develop a mobile strategy. A smart mobile strategy offers new opportunities for retailers to connect with shoppers and gives the savvy consumer what they want. Without a thorough plan, retailers risk losing out on shoppers who want to stay local and are willing to spend considerably more money on the goods they desire.