Why Girl Scout Cookies Need E-Commerce

Girl Scout cookies are the ultimate limited-edition item. You have to know someone connected with the group to buy them, they’re not available online, and they go on sale only once a year (according to girlscouts.org, the time varies by troupe, but is usually between January and April).

Saturday Night Live on Girl Scout Cookies

The non-profit Girl Scouts of America has been selling cookies since 1917, and in the ’80s and ’90s, the organization vastly increased its cookie lineup. As the Wall Street Journal reports, this year the Scouts have decided to slim down their offerings to offer only the six best-sellers — including the beloved Thin Mints and Samoas. They’ll ditch the other, less-popular varieties, like Dulce de Leche and Thank U Berry Munch. The goal of this new “Super Six pilot program” is hardly unique — to grow sales. According to the Journal, cookies bring in about two thirds of the organization’s total budget.

Still, if the Girl Scouts really want to make money, why don’t they start selling the cookies online year-round? The product is supposed to teach young girls about entrepreneurship and how to manage money — but in this day and age, online sales skills are pretty much the name of the entrepreneurial game.

According to their web site, the organization bans online sales “for the safety and security of the girls who are selling cookies.” One might wonder just how much safer it is for young girls to go door-to-door with their wares (particularly when, let’s face it, just about all of these girls already have Facebook profiles and Twitter feeds, both of which present greater privacy questions than any online store). In 2009, Girl Scouts spokesperson Michelle Tompkins told Newsweek, “Girl Scouts of the USA is not shunning the Internet … though we still have to figure out how to do this.” Now is as good a time as any to start!