Look out Federal Express, UPS, and USPS! Girl Scouts USA has entered the digital age. Earlier this week the national non-profit that celebrated its centennial back in March 2012 announced this week that their cookies sales are going digital. STOP! Don’t press the panic alarm! Your unordered cookies are safe. They haven’t even been baked yet.
Girl Scouts USA’s new Digital Cookie Program is a smart move and is a formal way of acknowledging how business transactions and sales are being done every day in this country and around the world. Consider the number of debit and credit card transactions that take place each day to buy just about anything. If you, like me, are always short on cash – expanding your ability to transact business not only with cash, but also via debit or credit card will result in more point-of-sale purchases for the Girl Scouts and their customers. Best of all, debit and credit card sales will reduce the amount of extra cash that will be needed on hand to give change back to some customers. Every year, Girl Scout Troop 1141 at First Institutional Baptist Church participates in the annual cookie sales. And every year, I am searching for cash, or don’t want to write a check for just one or two boxes of cookies.
While I wouldn’t classify the move to digital cookies as a bold one, it is a necessary one that should enhance sales and this non-profit’s customer base. How many more boxes of Thin Mints that everyone but me can’t get enough of will be sold next year? Thin Mints may be America’s favorite Girl Scout cookie, but they are not mine.
One thing that has not changed in the marketing and sales of these famous cookies is that the Girl Scout and/or her troop members will still initiate the cookie sale. Let her know if you want to be a digital cookie sale customer or pay cash for your purchase. Some girls will market their digital cookies online by inviting customers to visit their personalized websites through a link sent via email. Others will take in-person orders using a mobile app designed specifically for this purpose.
How does the Digital Cookies Program work? [Ref 2] According to Girl Scouts USA, once a Girl Scout initiates a digital cookie sale, you’ll be able to:
- pay by credit card.
- have your cookies shipped or delivered by a Girl Scout.
- share your cookie love by donating your order to your local Girl Scout council’s chosen charity.
If you don’t know a Girl Scout, there’s an app for that. The organization has created the Cookie Finder App that makes finding and ordering cookies a breeze. The free app can be installed on an iOS or Android phone or other mobile device. The app can also be used to find the cookie booth closest to you including the time, date, and location of the sale in every ZIP code in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
Here’s what I like about the new Digital Cookie Program: It keeps the five (5) essentials skills that girls learn as a part of selling cookies – goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics – in place. Girl Scouts USA characterizes these skills as essential to leadership, to success, and to life. Now add the ability to provide point-of-purchase sales to their customer base, and a hip app that can be used by both the girls or their customers, and we have a marriage of business and STEM. Y—E—A—H!
The new program offers a chance for girls to develop digital marketing and e-commerce skills and puts them “in the driver’s seat of their own digital cookie businesses,” the organization said. The initiative is part of a push to get more young women involved in the STEM — science, technology engineering and math — disciplines. [Ref 1]
“For almost a century, the Girl Scout Cookie Program has been teaching girls to be leaders in the world of business and finance, and we intend to ensure that legacy continues in the digital age,” states Girl Scouts of the USA CEO Anna Maria Chavez. “Digital cookies is a game-changer for Girl Scouts, and a quantum leap forward in the evolution of the cookie program, coupling traditional sales activities with an online sales experience that teaches skills like online marketing and e-commerce, all in a digital space that puts an emphasis on learning, fun and safety.”
So, here’s what I heard in everything that has and has not been said about the new and Digital Cookies Program: There is no longer a reason or an excuse to miss out on those extra boxes of cookies that you will be ordering next year!
Here are a few more things you should know:
- Digital cookies will not be available in all areas the first year of the program.
- Girl Scout cookies booths will not be going away anytime soon.
- The option to have your digital cookie order hand delivered by a Girl Scout(s) is only available in select markets.
Oh by the way (OBTW), my favorite cookies are Samoas and Do-si-dos!
Photo credits: Girl Scout Troop 1141 of the First Institutional Baptist Church, Phoenix, AZ.
- 1. Thin Mints, at the press of a button: Girl Scout cookies go digital, Marlize van Romburg, San Francisco Business Times, December 1, 2014,
- 2. Girls Scouts USA,