Girl Scout cookie sales are going digital.
For the first time, cookie lovers in some parts of South Carolina will be able to order Peanut Butter Patties and Thin Mints from the Internet and could have them shipped directly to their homes.
“If they’re using (only) 19th-, 20th-century business methods in the 21st century, they’re not being very competitive,” said Susan Schneider, spokeswoman for Girl Scouts of South Carolina – Mountains to Midlands.
For those who like to get their cookie fix on weekend trips to Wal-Mart, fear not.
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Scouts still plan to set up sales booths outside retail spots around town – starting Feb. 20. They also still plan to take orders in the traditional way, with pen and paper – starting Friday. Cookie sales end March 16 locally.
Online sales are just another sales tool for the girls, said cookie mom Vivian Benefield of Columbia, whose daughter, Rachel, has been among the top sellers in the state for the past seven years.
“Our girls are ready; they’ve been raised with technology,” she said. “Their world is not just who their next door neighbor is.”
Online ordering makes it easier to sell beyond your local community, Benefield said, whether it’s to your grandma in Gurnee, Ill., or your aunt in Anaheim, Calif.
It works like this: There is no website. Folks must receive an e-invitation from a Girl Scout to order online. Once the order is placed, folks can pay shipping costs to have the cookies delivered to their door.
Cookie sales are important to the Girl Scout experience, Schneider said.
“When you buy cookies, you’re really helping the girl learn skills,” she said. Those include money management, business ethics and people skills.
Add to the list now, technology skills.
Not only will the girls sell the cookies online, they also will track orders, manage inventory and keep up with their goals.
Nationally, Girl Scouts sell an average of 155 boxes per girl. In South Carolina, scouts average 223 boxes, Schneider said. It all adds up to an $800 million business — the largest girl-led business in the country, Schneider said.
In turn, they use that money for community service projects, whether it’s feeding the homeless or knitting hats for newborns.
“Anything that’s a need in the world, they fill it,” Benefield said.
The organization expects online sales to grow in the years to come.
“It was a lot of work to get here,” Schneider said. But it was worth it: “This is how they sell and this is what they want.”