Bites to Bytes: Girl Scouts Expands Online Cookie Sales
The Girl Scouts of the USA has been around for more than a century, but for much of the venerable institution's tenure, if you wanted to get your hands on a box of Thin Mints or Samoas, you had to cross your fingers for a door-to-door visit from a local troop or a sign-up sheet to be circulated through your office by a supportive parent.
But in recent years, the organization has worked to bring its popular cookie sales online, with help from Dell and Visa.
2014 saw the launch of the organization's Digital Cookie platform, which made it possible for about 160,000 Girl Scouts to sell cookies on the web and with a dedicated app. At the end of 2015, the Girl Scouts announced the rollout of Digital Cookie 2.0, which allow the entrepreneurial young women to take orders in person and online, set goals, make a budget, keep track of inventory and fundraise. Games, videos and quizzes have also been added to the updated digital platform.
"Dell and Visa’s seven-figure investments are providing hundreds of thousands of girls access to Digital Cookie, as well as the opportunity to take their cookie business to the next level and be set up for future success in the digital world," a Girl Scouts of the USA spokesperson told Entrepreneur.
The transactions on Digital Cookie 2.0 are powered by Visa Checkout. Visa and Dell are reportedly investing $3 million in an effort to help the platform grow. Dell has partnered with the organization since 2012 to help fund Girl Scout STEM programs, including donating tablets to underprivileged Girl Scouts around the country, with an eye on setting 4,000 scouts up with computers and tablets by 2018. Visa is also providing training and mentorship programs to Girl Scouts who are interested in fields such as marketing and social media.
Girl Scout cookies are generally sold from January to April. A total of 194 million boxes of cookies were sold last year -- down 1 million boxes from 2014 -- with 2.5 million boxes purchased digitally, amounting to $10 million.
Last year, 160,000 Girl Scouts used Digital Cookie 2.0. While the organization anticipates that Digital Cookie 2.0 will drive interest in the Girl Scout Cookie Program, the Girl Scouts of the USA spokesperson says "it is too early to speculate how many Girl Scouts will be selling cookies online this year."
Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com. She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.