“For years, brands have grappled with a core retail question: When is it better to connect with consumers online or offer a brick-and-mortar store experience? Perhaps there’s a third answer. What if, instead of having consumers browse either store shelves or websites, you could get consumers to spend time actually living with products and brands of potential interest?"

Rob Walker asked this provocative question in his weekly column, “Branded,” on Fast Company.com devoted to the intersection of marketing, business, design, and culture. The column was titled, “Are You on Vacation—or in a Retail Showroom?”