There’s a scene in the first season of Mad Men in which Don and the rest of the Sterling Cooper team gather in their wood-paneled boardroom to pitch Abraham Menken, owner of Menken’s department store, their vision for the future of shopping. With great pride, they present storyboards depicting sleek glass display cases, glamorous mannequins, and—the pièces de résistance—a beauty parlor and a tea room “with modern signs and champagne linens.”
Menken, an old-school New Yawka if ever there was one, is not impressed. “
Thirty peh-cent of my ground floor is dedicated to...the restaurant business?,” he spits out, incredulous.
Fast-forward to 2017: Faced with the radical convenience of online shopping, plus rapidly evolving consumers—simultaneously more informed, less brand loyal, more impatient, less invested in “stuff,” and more invested in “ideas” than ever before—retailers are having a Menken moment of their own.
But contrary to popular opinion, shoppers are not abandoning brick-and-mortar en masse. According to the Census Bureau, online transactions (everything from groceries to luxury goods) accounted for less than 8 percent of all retail transactions in the first quarter of 2016. But the landscape is changing fast, and with the news announced this past November that Instagram is experimenting with shoppable tags—making the ogle-t