The Girls Scouts of the U.S.A. are breaking an old-fashioned tradition in the digital age. After banning the sale of Girl Scout cookies online for years, the nonprofit organization is finally allowing its young entrepreneurs to sell the goods straight to the people in the most convenient medium.
For those who were unable to buy Girl Scout cookies—or make their own—the news is a morsel almost as sweet as the cookies themselves.
Breaking news: #DigitalCookie is approved! For the first time ever, Girl Scouts can sell your favorite Cookies in a virtual space!— Girl Scouts (@girlscouts) December 1, 2014
In the past, Girl Scouts have expressed in interest in selling cookies online, but their national organization prohibited it. The internal conflict surfaced recently when Alana Thompson tried to sell Girl Scout cookies through her Facebook page and the organization argued that using online methods would give some girls a disadvantage over others when they were competing to sell the most cookies for a prize. Now, however, GSUSA is changing its tune, thanks in part to the girls who drive the sales.
“Girls have been telling us that they want to go into this space,” chief digital cookie executive Sarah Angel-Johnson told the AP. “Online is where entrepreneurship is going.”
Of course, the push toward digital isn’t intended to replace the traditional methods of selling Girl Scout cookies, like setting up stands in front of grocery stores or going door-to-door. The digital storefront is meant to complement those options, although scouts will only be able to choose one method of selling cookies at a time.
GSUSA already makes around $800 million a year in cookie sales. Now that its footsoldiers have the ability to sell their products online, that number will likely increase significantly.
Each Girl Scout will get her own personal cookie website, but patrons can only gain access to if they receive an email invitation from her inviting them to purchase cookies. To protect the girls’ identities, they are not allowed to post identifying information publicly, and girl scouts under the age of 13 have to use an anonymous designation.
People will be able to buy cookies on scouts’ webpages or through a GSUSA mobile app. It’s only available in select regions right now, but it will be available nationally starting in January.
Even before Internet sales roll out nationwide, these savvy girls may already be brainstorming ways to circumvent the limitations of their online reach. After all, they’re smart cookies.