The Girl Scouts' “Digital Cookie” Program Means We Can Finally Buy Girl Scout Cookies Online!

Listen up, everyone — this might just be the single most important story you will hear all day: In 2015, you’ll finally be able to buy Girl Scout Cookies online. Repeat: In 2015, you’ll finally be able to buy Girl Scout Cookies online. This is not a drill — it’s actually happening. Thin Mint fans and Samoa enthusiasts, rejoice!

OK, so yes, you’ll probably hear other stories that are more important in the grand scheme of things today. But for those of us who end up missing those most hallowed of cookies each year purely because we can’t find a Girl Scout who is a) close enough for us to purchase them from and b) selling at a time we can actually get to them, this is big news.It’s not, however, quite as simple as just logging onto the official Girl Scout Cookies website and ordering them from there. Here’s how the “Digital Cookie” program, as it’s called, will work:

Girl Scouts who wish to sell their cookies online will first have to gain permission from their scout council and guardians. Once they’ve done so, they’ll have two options to choose from (and they have to pick one or the other — they can’t use both): They can either create a website storefront, or use an app. If they choose the website option, the scout will be able to build an online page personalized with her first name and, if she wants, a video both introducing her and explaining what the point of the whole cookie thing is. The personal sites will only be accessible by emailed invite from the scouts themselves; this means that each girl will have to build up a contact list in order to fully harness its selling power. However, it also functions as a pretty solid security measure: According to Bloomberg Business Week, “only people who are preapproved by the child’s parents will be able to buy cookies from her online.”

And for those who might be wondering:

No. No, they are not.

Less is known about how the app option will work, but Consumerist describes it as “a higher-tech version of the more traditional person-to-person sales the scouts have done for decades.” The New York Times reports that it enables credit card purchasing and direct shipping. In both cases, though, the idea is for the online sales to bolster the physical sales, not totally replace them.

Kelly Parisi, chief communications director of Girl Scouts of America, commented on both why the decision was finally made to get online and why it took so long to do so in the first place. Said Parisi to Business Week, “The number one reason people say they don’t buy our cookies is they couldn’t find a Girl Scout. We needed a new way to approach the consumer.” To the Boston Globe, however, she also noted, “A lot of people have asked, ‘What took you so long to get online?’ We spend a lot of time thinking, how do we make this safe, scalable, and smart.” This makes sense; after all, the point is for the scouts to sell the cookies in order to encourage entrepreneurship — not for the organization itself to sell them (indeed, according to the New York Times, the organization “makes policy but does not receive revenue from cookie sales”). Making them available directly from Girl Scouts of America would defeat the purpose. By having the scouts either create their own web-based storefronts or handle sales through an app, however, it sticks with the program’s roots, branches out in new directions, and ensures the safety of everyone involved.

Girl Scout Cookie season won’t ramp up until the beginning of 2015, but no worries; that leaves us plenty of time to prepare. The cookie-selling websites and app will likely be in operation from January through April — and if you’re a traditionalist, you can still buy them the old-fashioned way via the Girl Scout Cookie Finder mobile app. Happy munching!

Images: Amy, Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar/Flickr; Giphy (2)