Mobile technology is rapidly changing the face of retail, and many of the traditional devices used for processing payments and tracking inventory are quickly going the way of the passenger pigeon. Even some of the more peripheral devices that are often used in business operations are gradually being usurped by simple mobile handhelds. The following five devices are among the things likely to be surpassed by smartphones in the year ahead.

1. Standard Registers

The days of large, costly checkout apparatuses are slowly coming to an end, and the first thing to go is the old-fashioned, electrically operated cash register. Thanks to mobile processing units like the PayAnywhere credit card reader and app, sales can be completed on Androids, iPhones, iPads, and BlackBerry. Since the reader runs on wireless frequencies, you can conduct your business and handle sales in any setting even outdoors. There are constant updates in this technology allowing you to do even more from your phone through the app every day. New updates will let you also accept digital forms of payment too, like NFC (near field communication) payments. 

2. Paper Receipts

Few things in businesses are more annoying than the stacks and wads of paper that accumulate with every transaction. Not only are paper receipts costly; they also tend to get lost or misplaced, negating the whole purpose of why you were given or giving the receipt in the first place. But with mobile payment processors, digitized receipts are one of the in-built features. With digital receipts, all payment records are permanently stored for instant verification and fraud protection on both sides. Digital receipts are sent by email or text message and offer a more easily stored and retained version of their old paper counterparts.

3. Business Cards

As people come to embrace the convenience of digital wallets, merchants are spared from having to order and distribute plain old-fashioned business cards. These days, handing out mental bookmarks of the name, location, URL and contact info of your business is as easy as mobile messaging. With alluring, link-embedded logos of your brand dispersed throughout your contact grapevine, you could see exponential growth for your website, storefront or outbound service. Some apps even exist that let you take a picture of a business card and then digitally store and sort them, so you don't need to even hang on to any business cards given to you by using an app with these kinds of features.

4. Digital Cameras

To maximize online sales, it's best to have your entire inventory available for preview with high-quality imagery. Fortunately, you no longer need to keep updating some costly digital camera in order to capture such images, because today's smartphones can capture those same images with equal or better quality. All you have to do is aim, click and send and presto Ð the images are now online.

5. Road Maps

If your business involves outbound services calls, the hassle involved in locating difficult-to-find destinations can now be eliminated with the use of mobile mapping devices. Gone are the days of fold-out paper maps. After all, itÕs not as though your dashboard is a drafting table. These days, you can simply access online mapping sites through smartphone apps and voila - you're good to go.

Smartphones are bringing about major overhauls in merchant/customer relations. Get on top of the mobile revolution right now before your competitors steal away your business.