Feb 28, 2013 Dave King
Want to buy Girl Scout cookies? There's not only an app for that, but mobile payment capability for those who want to pay by debit, credit or prepaid ACH cards on their smartphones or tablets.
And that's not all for those who get a craving for chocolate-covered Thin Mints or Caramel deLites. If they can't find a sales table at their local supermarket or obliging scout parents at work who just happen to have order sheets at their desks, the Cookie Finder app begun last year now incorporates GPS for cookie lovers under the heading, "Find cookies now!"
"Along with other functionality, the app extends the geolocation tools present on the site to consumers, wherever they may be," Amanda Hamaker, manager of product sales at Girl Scouts, New York, told Mobile Commerce Daily. "This is important because according to consumer surveys, the number one reason cited for not purchasing Girl Scout cookies is that potential consumers don't encounter a Girl Scout during the local sales period."
Before they locate their nearest sales point, consumers can swipe through the app to see a colorful photo gallery of cookies. The mobile-optimized site shows each variety decorated in the distinctive green Girl Scout sash decorated with community service badges. If customers want to pass the word about what they like best, the scouting organization encourages them to vote for their favorites on Facebook and Twitter or by email.
The organization has been developing a stronger mobile presence in the marketplace in the past year. By allowing busy consumers the ability to process their orders on mobile devices, the Girl Scouts have expanded their e-commerce significantly.
In 2012, Sage Mobile Payments partnered with 30 Girl Scout councils to let customers swipe their sales on mobile devices. The result was that the troops sold four times more cookies compared to the previous year.
"Fundamentally, accepting credit and debit cards generates more spontaneous purchases," Greg Hammermaster, Sage's president, told Mobile Commerce Daily. "By promoting credit cards at the point-of-sale, it increases the spontaneous nature that everyone feels when passing a Girl Scout cookie table."
Some councils went further. The Girl Scouts of Northern California have begun to let people pay for tickets on their mobile devices to speed up event registrations. Hamaker said a pilot program allowing scouts to renew their memberships by mobile devices is also under way.