Selling Girl Scout cookies? There's an app for that Bria and Shirell practice selling cookies on one of two new digital platforms (AP photo / girlscouts.org)
Selling Girl Scout cookies? There's an app for that
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The Girl Scouts are going digital to sell you cookies.

For the first time since sales began 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.

"Girls have been telling us that they want to go into this space," said Sarah Angel-Johnson. She is chief digital cookie executive for the organization covering about 2 million girls. "Online is where entrepreneurship is going."

Now the cookies can be 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 begins this month. Digital sales is intended to enhance, not replace, the paper spreadsheets used to generate an estimated $800 million in cookie sales a year. Cookies cost anywhere from $3.50 to $5 a box, depending on scout council.

There are important e-lessons here, scout officials said. They include 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?' Kelly M. Parisi, chief communications executive for Girl Scouts of the USA, said at a demonstration for select media.

Councils were offered one of the two platforms but not both. For web-based sales, scouts customize their pages. They use 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.

The mobile platform can be used on a phone or tablet.

"They can get them quicker than waiting for me to deliver them because sometimes it takes me a long time to deliver," offered 11-year-old Priscilla at the preview. The adults at the event asked that only first names of scouts interviewed be used.

Added 7-year-old Anna: "My favorite part is that now I can sell more Girl Scout cookies." She pulled down about 200 boxes last year and has upped her goal to 600.

Girl Scouts use their cookie money to pay for community service work or troop activities such as camping and other trips.

The websites will not be accessible without an email invitation, requiring the girls to build client lists. And personal information is as protected as any digits out there, for both the scouts and customers.

Much of the responsibility to limit identifying details about scouts online falls on parents.

Troop Leader Karen Porcher of the Bronx has an 11-year-old scout and is particularly psyched about the digital options. They live in a house rather than an apartment, and she and her husband work at home, eliminating at-office cookie and neighborly building sales.

"During cookie season, my daughter is wearing her (scout) vest on the subway and people are so excited to see a Girl Scout," Porcher explained. "Strangers actually will buy a case of cookies and wait for her to call. This is going to be amazing because now she can just say 'Give me your business card,' or 'I'll take your email address,' send the email and they can be delivered. This is gonna be sweet."

Critical thinking challenge: Why do you think it took Girl Scouts so long to start selling cookies online?

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COMMENTS (106)
  • MohammadD-Mor
    12/16/2014 - 06:27 p.m.

    I think it took girl scouts a while to start selling cookies online because they still had to do all the preparation. For example, the had to get permission from parents, administrators, the council and needed to get their self known. Also, they only "were offered one of the two platforms but not both". So, not many people knew who they were so they had to get advertised. Also, they still had to create videos to let people know who they were. This ties in with getting advertised. Making videos takes a while because first you need to make the video, then edit it, then try and upload it. We can all learn from this because now we know that we need to support everything we do. Its not only in school. You have to support everything you do or else the person/program/company you're trying to convince will reject you

    • NahasiaF-Mor
      12/21/2014 - 09:47 a.m.

      I dont completley agree of why it took so long,but i do like how you backed up what you thought the answer was.And how youcapitilized ur begening of a sentence

    • RenelynS-Mor
      12/21/2014 - 06:08 p.m.

      First off, I like how you were able to make a connection that not only you could relate to, but everybody could as well. I also liked how you were able to use a quote from the text to back up your thinking. Although, I think that you need to work on your punctuation in a few places but that is all. I think you did a good job!

    • GraceN-Mor
      12/21/2014 - 06:46 p.m.

      Yes, I also had the same idea, with all of the things the Girl Scouts would have to prepare for. I like how you continued to build onto each of your ideas and how you included evidence to support your ideas. You also showed how the world can relate to this.

    • SumedhG-Mor
      12/21/2014 - 09:57 p.m.

      I like how you made a claim and gave strong support from the text, from yourself and made and extend piece. Next time try to give more direct quotes from the text to support your claim

  • MohammadD-Mor
    12/16/2014 - 06:31 p.m.

    I like your answer and I got the same answer, but, with all due respect, it needs to be waaaaaayyyyyy longer and more detailed. You need to add support from the text and support from your self. Also, you need to be more descriptive so that people can agree with your answer.

    • KerryO-Mor
      12/19/2014 - 10:06 p.m.

      Sorry, but I have to agree with Mohammad on that your response might have been too short and you could use and extension. I was thinking about RSSE when I was writing my response, and maybe, you should try that. You defiantly restated the question, but like Mohammad said, if you had to persuade people with your answer, you don't really have any evidence of support.

  • MihirK-Mor
    12/17/2014 - 05:32 p.m.

    I think it took them so long to get their sales online was because of safety issues. The younger Girl Scouts won't know that much about online safety, and it is easy for someone to hack into her iPad. That is why it said at the beginning of the article, but only if their scout counselors/guardians say yes. Also, they need to advertise it. Otherwise how will anyone know there is an app like that? It also costs a lot of money to advertise. In fact, Nike payed $500 per 30 seconds for a sneaker ad. So naturally, it took time.

    • KaitlynM-Mor
      12/18/2014 - 08:14 p.m.

      Nice support from self and evidence from things you already know. Next time try to add a direct quote and make a deeper extension

    • MichaelMo-Mor
      12/20/2014 - 10:10 p.m.

      Nice job. I pretty much agree on your answer, but i would add a quote if i were you, but i can see how you were trying to add one. But i think you forgot your extension, and probably make the conclusion a bit longer. Overall, you did pretty good.

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