Girl Scout cookie selling goes omnichannel

Discussion
Source: Grubhub
Jan 20, 2021

Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) has kicked off its 2021 cookie drive with a partnership with Grubhub. It marks its first collaboration with a national delivery service as the national organization pivots to online selling and contact-free delivery during the pandemic.

Grubhub isn’t charging a fee to the organization.

Local Girl Scouts will track and fulfill orders as well as manage inventory via Grubhub’s platform with the overall program continuing to help girls develop important life skills, such as goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.

“This season, our girls will continue to exemplify what the cookie program taught them — how to think like entrepreneurs, use innovative sales tactics, and pivot to new ways of doing business when things don’t go according to plan,” said interim GSUSA CEO Judith Batty. “The cookie program is what keeps Girl Scouts thriving in communities across the country and is proven to build girls’ leadership skills and help them become successful in life.”

The organization opened preorders for cookies in mid-December and will run sales from February through March.

GNC has agreed to support the Girl Scouts by allowing girls to set up outside their locations in “a safe and socially distant manner,” but traditional selling from tables outside stores is expected to be limited due to COVID-19 transmission risks. Desk-to-desk pitches inside parents’ offices and door-to-door knocking likewise face restrictions.

As a result, many Girl Scouts this year are already establishing e-commerce websites and creating social media videos to support online outreach. A recording of a virtual front-door sales pitch from Allie Shroyer, a first-grader from Scottsdale, AZ, was featured on People.com and a number of other media sites.

Drive-through pickup sites and front-door drop-offs are also in the works. Ava Estrada, a girl scout from Los Angeles, told a local ABC News affiliate, “I will do it safely by leaving it on their doorstep and then going six feet apart and be ‘Ms. Cookie’ maybe, doing a little singing delivery, maybe.”

The challenge is getting the word out virtually. Nancy Wright, CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, told the Chicago Tribune, “We know the demand is there. It’s just, how do we get them to them?” 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How can Girl Scout cookie selling be reimagined during a pandemic? Does the online emphasis still support the organization’s goal of providing girls with lessons on entrepreneurism and leadership?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"It is about survival and the Girl Scouts are smart to use social media (TikTok, etc.) to help sell their cookies."
"Going online, or perhaps more accurately, multi-channel, help build critical skills for Girl Scout members including agile thinking and thriving in a digital environment."
"Their biggest challenge will be to translate the impulse buying which happened on-site to the online world."

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8 Comments on "Girl Scout cookie selling goes omnichannel"


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Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

“Does the online emphasis still support the organization’s goal of providing girls with lessons on entrepreneurship and leadership?”

Of course it does. Big time!

I recently read a criticism of a Girl Scout for building her own Girl Scout cookie website. My conclusion is that this Girl Scout will someday start a successful company and the writer who criticized her has no clue as to how to build a business, or about entrepreneurship and leadership.

Richard Hernandez
BrainTrust
Richard Hernandez
Director, Main Street Markets
9 months 1 day ago

The last bastion of Americana has gone omnichannel. It is about survival and the Girl Scouts are smart to use social media (TikTok, etc.) to help sell their cookies. I think the lesson here is if you can’t sell one way, don’t give up – there are always other ways.

Gary Sankary
BrainTrust

The young ladies selling these cookies are digital natives. They already expect to shop and buy online. It makes sense that they would want to take a digital approach to cookies sales. Working from home I’ve lost access to the break room where boxes and boxes of these babies were laid out. Ordering online will help me fill that void.

Steve Montgomery
BrainTrust

Seems like a great plan but the impact on sales is unknown. For diehard fans of the cookies this will not impact their purchases. They will seek out the sites to make their purchases. However for those who bought them because a girl in the neighborhood came to the door to sell them it will likely mean they will not be buying them this year.

Shep Hyken
BrainTrust

Everyone else has made changes to the way they have done business during the pandemic, so why not the Girl Scouts? I love that they are showing flexibility to ensure a successful cookie season. When explained properly, the girls will see how important it is to make plans – and then change plans based on new circumstances. This is a wonderful entrepreneurial lesson.

Bindu Gupta
BrainTrust

Like many organizations, Girls Scout is pivoting to stay relevant in a contactless world. Their biggest challenge will be to translate the impulse buying which happened on-site to the online world.

Kim DeCarlis
BrainTrust

The Girl Scouts should be commended for continuing their fundraising mission — and delivering Thin Mints to the masses — while rethinking their approach due to the pandemic. Moving to online models, buy online pickup in store (BOPIS) and delivery with services like Grubhub shows a very forward-thinking attitude and willingness to change — important items for success in any field. Going online, or perhaps more accurately, multi-channel, help build critical skills for Girl Scout members including agile thinking and thriving in a digital environment. These skills will be increasingly important going forward and in fact, today’s Girl Scouts have grown up with smart phones, websites and virtual meetings, so the transformation makes sense, and might be considered overdue. Where I live in Silicon Valley, many Girl Scouts have already been using digital channels to sell, so it’s great to see this energy and thinking be adopted nationwide.

Kenneth Leung
BrainTrust

People buy Girl Scout Cookies to support the cause, support their coworkers, impulse buy from the pop ups or genuinely like the product. During the pandemic, popups are of course affected as traffic decline (I remember seeing them in the middle of SF financial district next to the BART entrances and near the high rises), however, the loyal customers will find them through their coworkers or online. Online is simply an order and delivery channel, and yes, entrepreneurship is definitely online as well as in store, so it is good education whether it is face to face in a pop up or sending emails and doing socially distanced drop offs.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"It is about survival and the Girl Scouts are smart to use social media (TikTok, etc.) to help sell their cookies."
"Going online, or perhaps more accurately, multi-channel, help build critical skills for Girl Scout members including agile thinking and thriving in a digital environment."
"Their biggest challenge will be to translate the impulse buying which happened on-site to the online world."

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