NEW YORK — Last year, nearly 160,000 Girl Scouts experienced a revolutionary update to the iconic Girl Scout Cookie Program: the Digital Cookie platform. With Girl Scouts’ first-ever national digital platform, Digital Cookie 1.0 gave girls the opportunity to sell cookies via Web site or mobile app. Bringing twenty-first-century technology to the classic piece of Americana that is the Girl Scout Cookie Program, this initiative was a first step in preparing girls to be leaders in the high-tech, fast-paced, e-commerce world of today. As the 2015-2016 cookie season begins, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) builds on the initial success of Digital Cookie 1.0 by launching Digital Cookie 2.0, with dynamic, engaging and interactive new tools and fun new upgrades designed to make learning and selling cookies more exciting and educational for girls.
With even more girls expected to participate this cookie season, Digital Cookie 2.0 will provide a more robust, hands-on and entertaining learning experience, including an enhanced cookie Web site with fun quizzes, games, videos and other activities that offer girls opportunities to learn budgeting and resource allocation using a “spend, save and give” model. Girls will also be able to earn all age-appropriate Cookie Business badges through the platform, while exploring ways to help others by investing their earnings back into their communities and practicing Internet safety. Digital Cookie 2.0 is the leading “multichannel” entrepreneurial program for girls in grades K–12, and each girl’s experience is customized to her age level. With this engaging new technology, girls who participate will learn skills to help put them ahead of the curve when entering the workforce, and customers can feel good about supporting girls’ STEM education while purchasing their favorite Girl Scout Cookies.
The national Digital Cookie platform launched in 2014 with two separate ways for girls to market their online cookie business: by inviting customers to visit a personalized cookie Web site, or by taking in-person orders using a mobile app. Results show girls who diversified their sales methods by combining the Digital Cookie platform with traditional sales methods were more likely to increase their year-over-year sales. Similarly, on average, councils who participated in Digital Cookie increased total cookie boxes sold over the prior year. Over 350,000 orders were placed using the national Digital Cookie platform, driving the sale of nearly 2.5 million additional boxes of cookies. The resulting additional $10 million in sales was used by councils to bring girls the Girl Scout experience, and by girls to fund philanthropic Take Action projects in their communities.
“Adding an online layer to the cookie program has vastly expanded the way Girl Scouts teaches the five essential skills of goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics,” said Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of GSUSA. “The success of the Digital Cookie platform in teaching modern and traditional skills simultaneously was mirrored by the success girls had selling cookies — 64 percent of girls who used Digital Cookie were able to engage more customers and sell more boxes in 2015 than in previous years. It’s all part of Girl Scouts’ legacy of teaching cutting-edge skills relevant to today’s girls, while staying true to the core values of our mission. Digital Cookie 2.0 is allowing us to do this on a whole new level, which will help girls in school, in their careers and in life.”
Additional upgrades to the girl-facing Web site include a goal-setting calculator to help girls track the number of boxes they need to sell to reach their goal — instilling the importance of setting both short- and long-term financial goals — and new ways to organize orders. Girls will be able to further personalize their pages during setup and access improved cookie sales data, with colorful charts showing sales by cookie type and delivery method, as well as week-by-week trends. A new arcade game called Cookie Booth Bounce will help girls hone decision-making and budgeting skills, and the new “Learning to Run a Business” section of the Web site will include step-by-step guides and insights.
Designed with input from girls, these fun new enhancements use the “science of play” to expand girls’ understanding of the business cycle. Girls will be introduced to important new skills about running an e-commerce business, including digital marketing, online money management, revenue projection and digital customer acquisition and management, all in a safe, hands-on environment.
Digital Cookie 2.0 also expands girls’ ability to take their sale on the go through a new app built to complement the national platform Web site. This app replicates the transactional elements of the Web site, putting control of the sale in her hands and allowing for a more diversified selling experience, simulating today’s retail markets. Girls in select councils will continue to use the original mobile application, ensuring Girl Scouts across the country hone the app-usage skills that are imperative in today’s mobile economy. With close to 90 percent of councils participating this cookie season, Digital Cookie 2.0 represents a continuing evolution toward one seamless platform and experience for all councils.
“The Digital Cookie platform will continue to evolve, delivering enhanced functionality and learning experiences in a national entrepreneurship incubator for girls,” said Sheila Narayanan, chief digital girl experience executive at GSUSA. “Our vision is to evolve to a fully integrated e- and m-commerce Digital Cookie platform by 2017, and eventually, to migrate all 112 councils onto this unified platform. In the meantime, Girl Scouts will continue to sharpen their business skills with the latest tools. We are proud to provide councils across the country access to these tech and business training wheels, equipping girls with skills that give them an advantage in whatever endeavors they choose for their future!”
Digital Cookie 2.0 emphasizes the safety of both girls and customers, requiring that girls and their caregivers take an Internet safety pledge in order to participate. Caregivers must approve all updates girls make when customizing their Digital Cookie site and approve all in-person cookie deliveries. Girls using mobile sales will adhere to the same safety standards as those participating in traditional Girl Scout Cookie sales.
As announced in September, the Digital Cookie 2.0 platform is made possible by Dell and Visa, companies that are providing Girl Scouts with the opportunity to learn more through platform technology and hardware enhancements.
A longstanding contributor to Girl Scouts, Dell has provided charitable dollars to enhance Girl Scout STEM programs and Digital Cookie, and funded the development of the new national Digital Cookie mobile app. Dell is also donating tablets to Girl Scout troops in underserved communities, enabling hundreds of girls to build vital business skills needed in today’s marketplace.
With Visa Checkout, an online payment service from Visa, Girl Scout Cookie customers will have a new and simple way to buy their favorite cookies online. Cookie buyers can store their shipping and payment information to continue supporting local girls and their councils in the future. Through its collaboration with Girl Scouts, Visa is also empowering girls participating in Digital Cookie to succeed in a digital world through training resources, education workshops and mentorship programs related to data analytics, social media and marketing.
Almost a century ago, girls started participating in what is now known as the Girl Scout Cookie Program, learning the basic skills they would need to be leaders, manage finances and gain self-sufficiency and confidence in handling money. With Digital Cookie 2.0, girls gain new skills for today’s economy that will help transform them into the leaders our world needs. This year, cookie customers across the country can once again expect to receive a marketing e-mail from a Girl Scout they know, or to bump into girls selling cookies on their mobile devices at cookie booths or door to door. Consumers can choose to have the cookies shipped directly, delivered by a girl or donated. Visit www.girlscouts.org/digitalcookie to see if Digital Cookie is available in your market.
Girl Scouts of the USA
Girl Scouts of the USA is 2.7 million strong — 1.9 million girls and 800,000 adults who believe girls can change the world. It began over 100 years ago with one woman, Girl Scouts’ founder Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low, who believed in the power of every girl. She organized the first Girl Scout troop on March 12, 1912, in Savannah, GA, and every year since, Girl Scouts of the USA has made her vision a reality, helping girls discover their strengths, passions and talents.