Wireless technology will have to play a more important role in future forecourt retail technologies, according to Peter Harding, a former independent forecourt retailer who has returned to his roots as a technology consultant.

Harding, who was one of the co-founders of technology provider Arciris, which was subsequently acquired by Torex in 2002, said: "Using a wireless, real-time handheld terminal will prove its value in any retail outlet. Imagine the value of a system where, while stood in the shop, you can see what stock is held, what stock is on order and what’s selling and when you last sold an item. I have not been made aware of any tablet-based functionality yet but I am aware of several manufacturers’ ’ruggedised’ pads that will be made available in due course."

Harding said contactless payment is a major growth area for forecourts. "Not only does this technology exist in card form, it is being added to our mobile gadgets enabling payment wherever you are and wherever there is enabled equipment.

"This leads nicely on to proximity marketing. This means that as retailers we will know when certain people are in our shop, using our car wash and enable us to make offers to them. Interesting if not a little invasive."

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