Over 54 billion US dollars were traded via e-commerce in the second quarter of 2012. That makes this the most relevant year for electronic retail ever, the apex of an ongoing upward trend. It’s becoming easier to shop remotely and to make purchases from any location within net access. With forecasts predicting a record-shattering holiday season this year for e-commerce, our gadgets have become an integral part of the e-shopping experience.

Record numbers of holiday shoppers will be equipped with the absolute cutting edge in tech: smart phones and tablets that are, frankly, nearing the level of true genius. By easily synching various online accounts and granting real-time access to current location data, your gadget can now not only think for you but in reality think much better than you on many levels.

Humans are intelligent enough to have invented Android and iOS, but we’re just not capable of operating at the same level of performance without adding the factor of time into the equation. The new school of thought – if something can be done more efficiently and with smaller margin of error by an external drive or device, then it should be – is steadily becoming the all-pervasive philosophy of the millennium.

E-commerce today is all about efficiency and cost-effectiveness. It’s about cutting out the middleman and the price padding that goes along with classic bricks-and-mortar retail. At it’s inception over a decade ago it gave the savvy consumer an advantage over the mere unconnected masses who still herded into malls and retail emporiums, shuffling through the shopping experience in a food-court fueled daze.

In 2012, however, it’s not just about finding that book or pair of shoes at a better price online than in the store – it’s a total experience that gives the end-user a sense of informed control over how, when and with whom their money is spent. Today’s portable devices can generate data from virtually every aspect of our lives and compile, within nano-seconds, recommendations for who should get our precious dollars. Our current location can be matched with our purchasing history and relevant ad content on our social media sites to make suggestions. This is spooky but also totally impressive. Advanced voice tech makes it so much easier to add parameters to our gadgets’ ridiculously extensive knowledge of who we really are, and what we actually want. And Apple’s new iOS 6 Passbook app, which flirts with the idea of mobile payment solutions, is actually at the frontier of creating a new, e-coupon based economy.

The most ironic and wonderful thing about the future of e-commerce, though, is that regardless of what our tech can do for us we still crave the human element. Today’s e-shopper is no longer tied to a desktop pc, or even to a café table with their laptop. Smart phone or tablet in hand, we can venture into well-peopled retail hubs armed with more real-time information than ever.

Forecasters predict that the classic store may soon become more of a sample/display element in the shopping experience, with merchandise being then purchased online and shipped direct from the warehouse. tThe people-watching and socializing that go along with shopping, as well as the thrill of walking out of a store with a bag of new-bought goodies, will always be a huge draw for many consumers, though.

The human influence is also evident in how social media dictates our e-shopping behavior. Even though barcode scanning apps can find the greatest deals for us across the globe and in seconds, the best algorithm in the world can’t compete with crowd-sourced data. The more easily our gadgets can cull the online reviews of strangers and the recommendations of friends, the better they will be at helping us decide what to buy. E-commerce retailers also have to remember the very key element of customer service. Our point-of-purchase may no longer be in a physical store and instead wherever our smart phones are, but it’s follow-up service that builds and maintains customer loyalty. A real voice on the other end of a phone call is, ultimately, priceless.

The old-school fear that our gadgets alienate us from one another seems quaint at this point. We’re social creatures, and no matter how advanced our technology, we seek to pool our knowledge and resources in the most efficient manner possible. That’s what society is all about. What a smart phone or tablet does for e-commerce solutions is to eliminate the time drag inherent in merging our knowledge with that of others so that what we naturally do becomes an enhanced experience.

According to Code23, expect fourth-quarter 2012 e-commerce figures to blow away all previous expectations. The era of the social, mobile shopping experience is here to stay.