Back-to-school shopping is starting earlier than ever this year, and it’s not just about being prepared for that first day of class. There is an annual clothing, jewelry and beauty stock up underway right now and if brands don’t lean in to RushTok, back-to-school gains may pass them by.

Sorority Recruitment, often referred to as “Rush”, is a week-long process prior to the fall semester that college freshmen typically participate in to determine the Greek house that they will receive a bid to and ultimately join. Thousands of women go through this process every year and every event requires an outfit and a beauty look. Shopping for recruitment sparked the virality of “RushTok”. The phenomenon of sorority recruitment, paired with the disposable income of GenZ has created a perfect storm of short-form content that continues to influence the shopping patterns of a generation.

Key Insights:

  • Sorority Recruitment influences the shopping patterns of college students and presents an opportunity for retailers to curate dedicated collections and landing pages for these shoppers. Retailers can leverage the popularity of RushTok-style short-form videos by creating similar content that features their products, positioning themselves as sources of inspiration for recruitment fashion.
  • Partnering with rising RushTok creators can significantly raise brand awareness. Brands have started gifting products and offering discount codes to these creators, leading to increased exposure and follower growth. 
  • Incorporating Sorority Recruitment into back-to-school marketing strategies can help businesses attract GenZ, the target audience for this event that has both high purchase intent and substantial disposable income.

RushTok began with hopeful participants posting their daily outfits in #GRWM (get ready with me) or #OOTD (outfit of the day) videos. In these videos, some with millions of views, many users call out the brands of clothing and accessories they’re wearing by name. With the rising visibility of Sorority Recruitment, women’s apparel & accessories retailers can capitalize on on the influx of interest and purchase intent through the following:

Create rush collection pages or merchandise on ecommerce websites 
Because these Rush participants have such high purchase intent, retailers can curate collections or website landing pages that have clothing, accessories, and shoes fit for Sorority Recruitment. Brands such as Kendra Scott and Princess Polly are commonly mentioned in RushTok videos, and have leveraged the hype in a variety of ways. Following the boom of RushTok, Kendra Scott created a Greek-themed collection. Princess Polly has a collection page on-site titled “Sorority Rush Dresses” that is a curation of multiple styles and colors of dresses suitable for different recruitment rounds. By leveraging the consumer-driven interest in Rush, brands can direct traffic to relevant landing pages and create collections to drive higher average order value (AOV) and conversion rate (CVR).

Mimic RushTok-style short form videos to be promoted across Paid Social
RushTok features short-form videos in the 9x16 placement that are posted across social platforms such as TikTok and Reels. Some of these videos involve Rush participants trying on a variety of outfits in a “haul” in which the creators highlight a variety of brands. GRWM and OOTD video styles are also popular and outline the creator’s routine involving makeup, clothing, shoes, and accessories or feature their completed “look”. Brands can leverage these video styles and recreate them using relevant products. These videos can be positioned as brands providing recruitment inspiration.

Partner with rising RushTok creators to raise brand awareness
As RushTok creators rise in popularity, they can grow to have hundreds of thousands of followers. Brands have started to gift these creators with products and offer discount codes for their followers in an effort to get featured in their videos. Tarte hopped on the RushTok trend in the summer of 2022 by sending best-selling products to 30,000 rushees and 90 sororities at a variety of schools.Tarte measured this effort’s success by monitoring their student discount program through Unidays which spiked “1,300% and Tarte’s TikTok following grew by 3,500 to 843,000” (Spruch-Feiner, 2022)₁. 

Connecting with GenZ is key to having success leveraging the RushTok trend. Not only is the Sorority Recruitment audience engaged with high purchase intent, they also have money to spend. In 2022, GenZ had an estimated disposable income of $360 billion and nearly 80% have purchased a product they discovered on social media (Molenaar, 2022)₂. 

Businesses should include Sorority Recruitment in their back-to-school marketing strategies to attract an engaged audience with significant purchasing power. #RushTok may have started as a social media trend, but now it is an opportunity to capture new users in the funnel. Get ready to Rush!




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