Because of majoring in Retail Merchandising, I am really interested in Higher-Order Conditioning and I will discuss this concept in detail using a successful retail brand - Abercrombie&Fitch as an example. Higher-Order Conditioning is a form of learning in which a stimulus was previously neutral is paired with a conditioned stimulus to produce the same conditioned response as the conditioned stimulus. The products that consumers would choose to purchase depend on previous shopping experience or stimuli the brand provided, so Higher-Order Conditioning play an important role on building a brand image. Take Abercrombie & Fitch as an example, one of the most important factors that makes A&F become so successful is a host of new stimuli that A&F provided besides classical conditioning. To begin with, a lot of people are familiar with the special smell when entering in A&F store and the fragrance smells attractive, invigorating, warm and exciting, thus every time you smell A&F perfume on somebody, we will know that he must be wearing A&F style and associate the feelings that A&F fragrance bring to us with this person. In addition, A&F advertisements are well applied the concept of Higher-Order Conditioning. Models on A&F advertisements are all beautiful women or handsome men who present sexually attractive poses and they look strong, energetic, sexy and fashionable which are images A&F want to impress the consumers with, thus A&F achieved great popularity because many consumers unconsciously thought they are sexually attractive just like the models after purchasing A&F products. I am still wondering about, from commercial perspective, how close does a brand succeed correlate to Higher-Order Conditioning and how much efforts retailers should focus on utilizing Higher-Order Conditioning in their advertisements?
Why Abercrombie&Fitch Is So Successful?