An unprecedented confluence of technology platforms has combined with a critical mass of equipped smartphone users to effect how retailers engage shoppers.

Looking at recent marketplace news reinforces this reality. The world’s largest retailer is positioning itself to capture loyalty and remain relevant as smartphones become more central to brick-and-mortar shopping. Walmart has hard-launched its Savings Catcher mobile app, which allows shoppers to take advantage of its longtime price-match guarantee through a simple receipt scan. With this program, Walmart is engaging mobile users in the shopping experience and moving forward with plans for its own mobile payment system, just on the heels of snubbing Apple Pay.

Creating practical and incentivizing reasons for shoppers to opt into retail apps gives retailers unprecedented opportunities to glean data and engage shoppers. Here are opportunities to dynamically communicate with consumers as they build grocery lists, to pinpoint and message them in the store at the aisle-level and to be the vehicle for payment at the point of purchase.

Remaining accessible and relevant is essential for the future of retail throughout the omni-channel ecosystem.  A digital infrastructure revolving around smartphones will help drive customer engagement and ensure continued shopping trips into brick-and-mortar stores.  This engagement will allow for an optimized physical shopping experience, while helping specific retailers remain the most incentivizing and pragmatic choice for consumers who opt for a pure online shopping trip.

Walmart has historically avoided loyalty programs, instead consistently promoting their everyday low-price guarantee. Now the omni-channel consumer offers opportunities for shopper loyalty to take new and more powerful forms that no retailer—even the world’s largest—can’t ignore.