What sort of impact will mobile technology have on the way we do our shopping? Analysts predict the personal digital assistant (PDA), or handheld computer will soon be the next must-have gadget, and with wireless technology improving all the time, retailers could soon be able to beam specific information direct to individual shoppers. Staff will be able to answer customers queries simply and easily by accessing information and customers' shopping history on the spot. Accenture's Oliver Benzecry says mobile phones will also take on a new role: "The network providers' greatest aspiration is to transform themselves into the banks of the future, with the phone replacing your credit card. "When you combine radio frequency tagging, it will allow products to talk direct to people's devices, and eventually ­ and this is still a way off for grocery yet ­ the product will debit itself through a mobile phone and check out automatically." He adds: "When you look at the checkout costs as 3% of sales, it's an enormous prospect for retailers." Malcolm McKenzie of Cap Gemini concludes: "One potential development for mobile technology is that the idea of someone going through a checkout becomes an historical concept." {{COVER FEATURE }}