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As I return from my restful, if somewhat damp, summer break I am greeted by the news that mobile commerce may be ‘flattening out’. That’ll teach me to dream about retiring to the country while I was, well, retiring in the country.

Anyway, news from IMRG – reported in my absence by the colleague Chloe Rigby – suggests that mobile’s crazy upward trajectory may be on the wane. The proportion of online sales coming from mobile devices is levelling off at around 42%.

Now, this doesn’t mean that mobile has reached its peak: far from it. Visits to websites from mobile devices is still growing – accounting for 60% of traffic says IMRG – and further growth is still expected. But that isn’t the whole picture.

However, mobile – as I have said before – is not a means in itself. To use the common idiom “it’s part of the journey”. While e-commerce sales through mobile might be plateauing (for now!), the role mobile plays in how people shop is bigger than ever.

Marketing through mobile, the social interaction and even in increasing doses the payments through mobile are on the up and will continue to rise.

This makes for an interesting conundrum as to what exactly is mobile commerce? Back in the day it was using a mobile device to access websites and buy stuff. These days the boundary between computer OS and mobile OS is narrowing. The next iteration of Apple’s ‘desktop’ OS – El Capitan – will continue the company’s move to make its computer experience closer to the iOS experience. Android’s best bits are also being seen on PC OS and even Mircosoft is now pushing its OS into being a cross device experience.

The simple fact is that mobile is just a device that accesses the web and can do e-commerce. Give it a couple of years and I will come back from my holidays to find that, as mobile editor, I won’t have much to do.

Then again, there is all the other stuff that mobile brings to retail. The always on interaction and engagement, the marketing channel, the social channel and the immediacy it can offer the high street. It seems to me that, while things may be ‘flattening out’ they are really just becoming mobile centric. The last bit may still be done on a ‘desktop’ but that’ll change – eventually your desktop and you mobile will be two separate things, but will be one entity. My iPhone, iPad and both my Macs already are a cohesive whole: I can even make phone calls from the laptop.

In a world like this I increasingly don’t distinguish between e and m-commerce and soon no one will. And that throws up its own challenges – challenges which we all look forward to addressing at the tenth annual Internet Retailing Conference, to be held in the Novotel Hammersmith, London, hotel on October 14. Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, member of the board and executive director – marketing & International at Marks and Spencer will be a keynote speaker. Also joining the line up are David Lindsay, senior vice president – technology at and Aaron Chatterley, founder of Feelunique. Find out more about the line-up and about details including how to buy tickets on the Internet Retailing Conference website.

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