Mobile is no longer being talked about as the next big thing in retail. It is the big thing. According to Google, 4 in 10 smart phone users say they have walked away from an in-store purchase based on information accessed from their phone. And that information is likely price research. (“Price check, please?” ) So if your price is competitive, you get to move your customer to the checkoutline. Next step: make the transaction impossibly simple. With the coming boom in Near Field Communication (NFC), that’s about to happen. NFC makes it easy for electronic devices (like a cash register and a smartphone) to exchange information. So now the phone can replace that piece of plastic buried in your wallet or purse. NFC penetration is still low but the I-phone 5 will likely offer it, making it the first major smartphone to use the technology. Apple goes first, you know the rest of the story.