Know a Girl Scout-cookie addict? The Girl Scouts of the USA’s famous cookie-selling program is headed online, much to the iPad-addled glee of Thin Mint fans everywhere. A successful pilot program in early 2015 proved what we already knew: Today’s Girl Scouts are tech-savvy, Tagalong-selling machines.
In January, 160,000 scouts participated in the pilot. It proved wildly successful; 64 percent of girls who used the app dubbed Digital Cookie sold more boxes than in previous years. The coup resulted in 2.5 million boxes sold through the platform alone, which translated to $10 million in sales. That’s a lot of Trefoils.
With so many banking and shopping apps available, the online platform seems long overdue. Its origins trace back in 2011, when Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chávez sat in on a Texas meeting of her “kitchen cabinet,” a group of teenage Girl Scouts active in the organization that regularly advises management.
“They would advise me on aspects of our program,” particularly the organization’s beloved cookie drive, Chávez explained to Yahoo Food. “They wanted to be able to expand their business,” she said. Meaning, in no uncertain terms, the ability to sell Samoas and Do-Si-Dos on the Internet.
The Girl Scouts began developing Digital Cookie in 2013, being careful to add safety features that, at points, require a parent or guardian’s sign-off. The platform allows customers to pay by credit card and handles logistical hurdles like shipping.
“They wanted to be able to sell to their family and friends across the country,” Chávez said, adding that previously this would have meant ordering boxes from the company, requesting cash or checks in the mail, then shipping the desired cookies themselves. Digital Cookie streamlines the process, shipping to customers directly.
A rejiggered and broadened version of the platform, Digital Cookie 2.0, will roll out to 90 percent of Girl Scout Councils, the federated groups that make up the Girl Scouts, in January of 2016. It’s unclear at this point how many scouts will participate, but it’s likely to be a huge chunk of the group’s 1.9 million young members, and Chávez is confident she’ll see a repeat of the pilot’s success.
Although online commerce will not completely replace traditional door-to-door and storefront sales, she hopes the move to digital will attract future Girl Scouts to the cause.
“I actually think this will enhance [traditional sales methods], because girls will bring their iPads and Droids to their booth sites and use [Digital Cookie] as they’re engaging with customers in person,” Chávez said. “We just want to make sure that the Girls Scouts is relevant in their programming, and that we modernize lessons we’ve all learned from our childhood.”
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