Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Decoding Digital Cookie: Facts vs. Fiction

As reported far and wide, Digital Cookie is a groundbreaking new addition to the Girl Scout Cookie Program that creates a fun, safe, interactive space for girls to sell cookies. Digital Cookie is the first national digital platform in the history of the iconic Girl Scout Cookie Program.

But many questions remain about Digital Cookie. Check out the below Q&A for answers to some of the most common Digital Cookie questions.

What exactly is Digital Cookie?

Digital Cookie is a digital layer to the traditional Girl Scout Cookie Sale, which puts girls in the driver’s seat of their own digital sales experience. Digital Cookie allows Girl Scouts nationally to sell cookies digitally for the first time in the program’s history, giving girls valuable twenty-first-century entrepreneurial skills.

How does it work—Do I just go online, order cookies and then they arrive?

No. Like the traditional sale, Digital Cookie is a girl-driven and girl-led business, designed with each girl's safety in mind, and therefore she must initiate contact with people she knows to sell cookies.

With Digital Cookie, you will be able to buy Girl Scout Cookies through two separate digital sales platforms, depending on where you live. Some girls will market their own online cookie business by inviting you via email to visit their personalized cookie websites. There, you can order cookies from the comfort of your living room.

Other girls will take in-person orders using a unique mobile app newly enhanced to allow for credit card processing and direct shipping, in addition to directing you to a website where cookies can be purchased.

What’s the point of all this and why should I buy Girl Scout Cookies digitally?

First and foremost, you are supporting girls. You are helping girls learn essential skills that they will utilize for the rest of their lives.

Digital Cookie adds a fun, digital layer that expands and strengthens the ways girls learn the essential 5 Skills of goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics. Digital Cookie will expand girls' knowledge of and hands-on experience with online marketing, app use, website customization, and e-commerce.

Why are you taking away traditional door-to-door sales?

We are not taking away traditional sales. Booth sales and door-to-door sales are here to stay!

Digital Cookie expands and enhances girls' experience by giving them a fun new way to learn 21st century skills while providing another channel through which to sell cookies. So this cookie season, depending on your location, a Girl Scout could approach you through a door-to-door sale or booth sale with a digital device, or send an email invitation to visit her Digital Cookie website or stop by her local cookie booth.

Why is shipping so expensive?!

Shipping rates are optimal for folks who buy the maximum amount of cookies available for a set rate. Ordering one box online is possible, but the best value is to order a minimum of 6.

All shipping costs associated with Digital Cookie are in line with industry standards set by many reputable delivery services. The cost associated is comparable to what a customer would pay when buying Girl Scout Cookies at a booth sale and shipping the cookies themselves.

We don’t make any money from shipping and handling charges through Digital Cookie or booth sales. GSUSA has worked closely with our councils to ensure all cookie revenue—every penny after paying the bakers—stays with the local Girl Scouts and their council, and is reinvested into programming and activities that benefit girls.

In fact, Digital Cookie has been set up so that shipping and handling fees, often absorbed by corporations, do not burden Girl Scouts or their local councils and are paid directly to the vendor.

What are the shipping charges?

Nationally, customers will pay tiered flat-rate shipping and handling costs for orders between 6 and 12 packages. Customers who would prefer to avoid shipping charges and still support local Girl Scouts can always visit www.girlscoutcookies.org and use the council finder to learn more about potential local booth sales.

How safe is Digital Cookie?

Digital Cookie emphasizes the safety of both girls and customers. Girls and their parents/caregivers take an Internet safety pledge before using the web-based platform, and parents/caregivers must approve all updates and changes girls make when customizing their Digital Cookie site. Girls using the mobile platform will adhere to the same safety standards as those participating in traditional Girl Scout Cookie sales.

As a customer, your personal information will not be shared outside of the Girl Scout organization.

Both Digital Cookie systems are fully Payment Card Industry compliant and consumers can feel absolutely confident that their financial information is not stored. Both the online and mobile platforms of Digital Cookie transmit financial data to the respective credit card processors and "scrub" credit card and other identifiable information from the systems.

Digital Cookie is not available where I live. What’s up with that?

The majority of Girl Scout councils nationwide are participating in Digital Cookie during the 2014–2015 cookie season. While it did not make sense for some councils to opt-in this year, many additional councils are expected to be on board by the end of 2015, using an updated "version 2.0."

What’s next for Digital Cookie?

The launch of Digital Cookie represents an initial phase that will progress over time. Future versions of Digital Cookie will see improved user experiences for girls and customers alike and a more robust customer interface.