Girl Scouts byting into digital for sales
Published 9:31 am Monday, December 1, 2014
NEW YORK — Watch out world, the Girl Scouts are going digital to sell you cookies.
For the first time in nearly 100 years, Girl Scouts of the USA will allow its young go-getters to push their wares using a mobile app or personalized websites.
But only if their scout councils and guardians say OK.
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“Girls have been telling us that they want to go into this space,” said Sarah Angel-Johnson, chief digital cookie executive for the organization covering about 2 million girls. “Online is where entrepreneurship is going.”
And the best news for these digital natives: They can have cookies shipped directly to your doorstep.
More than 1 million scouts, from kindergarten-age Daisies to teens, were expected to opt in as cookie-selling season cranks up this month and the scouting organization gets digital sales underway. But digital sales are intended to enhance, not replace, the paper spreadsheets used to generate an estimated $800 million in cookie sales a year — at anywhere from $3.50 to $5 a box, depending on scout council.
There are important e-lessons here, scout officials said, such as better articulating and tracking goals, learning to handle customers and money in a new way, and more efficiently processing credit card information.
“A lot of people have asked, ‘What took you so long to get online?’ We spend a lot of time thinking how do we make this safe, scalable and smart,” Kelly M. Parisi, chief communications executive for Girl Scouts of the USA, said at a recent demonstration for select media.
Councils were offered one of the two platforms but not both. For web-based sales, scouts customize their pages, using their first names only, and email prospective customers with links to click on for orders. They can also put up videos explaining who they are and what they plan to do with their proceeds.